On the same day that La Scala opened its doors for a preview performance of the new production of Macbeth that will open its season on 7 December, the Prada Foundation in Milan welcomed Riccardo Muti and his Italian Opera Academy for a series of masterclasses on Nabucco which runs until 15 December.
While the timing is probably coincidental, the fact that La Scala's opening would overlap with the masterclasses will have been known as it is always held on 7 December, the day Milan celebrates its patron saint, St Ambrose, and Muti has conducted that star-studded event many times. Riccardo Chailly is conducting Macbeth and the two conductors had a well-publicized altercation backstage at La Scala last May. Some have even conjectured that as Armani has recently become an important patron of La Scala, agreeing to give the theatre €600,000 a year for two years, that Prada wished to create its own classical pedigree after championing electronic music and other genres in the past.
Whatever, this is the seventh edition of Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy, organised for the first time in collaboration with Fondazione Prada. The public can participate during the whole rehearsal process and concerts that are focused on Nabucco.
Fondazione Prada's Deposito has large, adaptable spaces, suitable for Muti and the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini. The training project is addressed to young conductors and répétiteurs from all over the world. Among hundreds of applications, participants are selected by an examining board chaired by the Maestro. Candidates must be between 18 and 35 years old and have graduated in conducting or piano, in Italy or abroad.
The selected young conductors are: Giuseppe Famularo (Italy), Henry Kennedy (UK), Elinor Rufeizen (Israel), Cristian Spătaru (Romania) and Sījié Wu (Taiwan).
The selected young répétiteurs are: Raffaella Angelastri, Giacomo Anglani, Filippo Bittasi, Linda Piana and Cecilia Pronzato.
The project consists of rehearsals with singers, orchestra rehearsals and the final performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco in concert form. The public can attend the rehearsals that take place from 5 to 11 December and the final concerts on 14 and 15 December 2021.
Riccardo Muti will conduct the first concert and will present the second one with the young conductors.
Through the Italian Opera Academy, established in 2015, Muti wishes to pass on to young musicians what he learned from great masters, along a line that connects him to Giuseppe Verdi through Arturo Toscanini and his teacher Antonino Votto – passing the baton.
Tickets are available on Fondazione Prada website.
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.