When did you start playing an instrument?
I was 6 years old, and I started to study cello.
Why did you start playing?
My father is a cellist and my mother loves music, so that is why I started to study cello so young.
Which musicians inspired you most when you were young?
Stravinsky, Kleiber, Bernstein, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Otis Redding.
Which musicians (instrumentalists or singers) do you most admire?
I admire all the musicians who have courage and want to find the truth in the music. All the musicians who want to do something new, who want to discover new scores, new music, new composers and not only play or conduct what they just know.
What’s your favourite piece to conduct?
Le sacre du printemps.
What piece have you never conducted but would like to?
Leonard Bernstein’s Mass. Oh my god! I love that composition!
What’s your favourite piece to listen to?
It’s hard to say. I choose one for each kind of music I love to listen to: Tanz Suite by Bartók, Fool’s Overture by Supertramp, the Köln concert by Keith Jarrett. And I love my compositions as well 😊
Who is your favourite composer?
Who is your favourite writer?
Gabriel García Márquez.
Who is your favourite theatre or film director?
Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Who is your favourite actor?
Who is your favourite dancer?
What is your favourite book?
Cien años de soledad.
What is your favourite film?
Which is your favourite city?
What do you like most about yourself?
What do you dislike about yourself?
My distraction. Every day I lose something. Every morning when I try to go out of my home, I need to come back not less than three times because I forgot keys, wallet, sunglasses. Sometimes my wife waits for me behind the door because she knows that I’ll be back in a few seconds.
What was your proudest moment?
When the Staatskappelle of Dresden told me that they would like me for the new production of their opening season.
When and where were you happiest?
In Rome when I became a father for the first time.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My wife and my daughters.
What is your greatest fear?
To get on the podium with the wrong score. Actually, once I started the first orchestral rehearsal by saying, “Let’s start with Beethoven’s fourth symphony,” and the first violin told me, “Maestro we have to play Beethoven’s eighth symphony.” I had studied the wrong symphony! That was so funny!
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
To have succeeded in turning my only life into my dream.
What is your most treasured possession?
My love for nature and the respect I have for our world.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Sometimes after my classical concerts or opera performances, I go to some pubs to play Rhythm and Blues.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Rationality. Sometimes we lose a lot in our life when we think too much instead of following our heart.
On what occasion do you lie?
When my football team (AS Roma) loses and someone, for instance during a production, asks me, “Are you sad?” and I have to answer, “No, not at all…”. The truth is that I would like to break the door of the rehearsal room.
If you hadn’t been a conductor what would you have liked to be?
A farm owner or a doctor.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What quality do you most value in a friend?
The capacity to not judge but to advise.
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Culture and simplicity.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Leonardo Da Vinci.
Which living person do you most admire?
What do you most dislike?
What talent would you most like to have?
To speak one hundred languages.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
To have my family happy.
How would you like to die?
I don’t mind how, but I would like to live enough to see my daughters as adults.
What is your motto?
Tutto passa. (Everything passes.)
Francesco Lanzillotta is considered one of his generation’s most interesting conductors and in recent years has regularly performed in some of the most prestigious Italian opera houses.
He has also collaborated regularly with important orchestral institutions such as Orchestra Nazionale della RAI di Torino, Swiss Italian Orchestra, Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali in Milano, Orchestra Haydn in Bolzano, Filarmonica Toscanini in Parma, Orchestra Regionale Toscana in Florence. He was music director of the Orchestra Filarmonica Toscanini for 4 years where he continues a regular partnership for many projects.
He is also strongly committed to twentieth-century music and contemporary music and opera. He conducted Il medico dei pazzi by Battistelli at Opéra de Nancy and at La Fenice di Venezia, where he also conducted La voix humaine and Janàček Zápisník zmizelého.
He inaugurated the Macerata Opera Festival 2015 conducting Rigoletto and in 2017 he was appointed Music Director of the Festival.
During the 2016-17 season he made his debuts with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, National Opera Theatre of Montpellier, Essen Opera Theatre and at the Rossini Opera Festival of Pesaro with Torvaldo e Dorliska, where he was unanimously acclaimed by the critics.
Among recent engagements: Nabucco at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, La Bohème at La Fenice of Venice, Lucia di Lammermoor at the Opéra de Toulon, Rigoletto at the Dresden Semperoper, L’elisir d’amore at the Macerata Opera Festival, Macbeth at the Zurich Opernhaus, Il Corsaro at the Oper Frankfurt, Carmina Burana in St. Petersburg with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, West Side Story and Risurrezione at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, La Favorite at the Teatro Massimo of Palermo, 7 minuti (new Battistelli’s opera) at Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy, La Traviata at La Fenice of Venice, Le nozze di Figaro at the Bolshoi in Moscow and a new productions of Carmen at the Sferisterio Opera Festival in Mancerata and of Il viaggio a Reims at the Semperoper Dresden. Among future engagements: Pechino Le nozze di Figaro in Beijing, Risurrezione in Florence, Il viaggio a Reims in Valencia, Un ballo in maschera in Budapest, Rigoletto in Hamburg, Tosca in Macerata, Aida in Brisbane.
He is also regularly invited by Tokyo Philharmonic, RAI Orchestra of Turin, and the Czech Philharmonic.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.