For the penultimate stop on the Europe Tour 2020, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti returned to the Teatro alla Scala, where they last performed in 2017.

That visit marked a homecoming for Maestro Muti, who was music director of La Scala, the world’s most famous opera house, from 1986 to 2005, with the second-longest tenure in the theater’s history. In his remarks to the press and later to audiences, he commented on how special it was to be back in his artistic home of two decades. “When I first conducted in this house of Verdi, I conducted Nabucco,” he said after one CSO concert in reference to the composer’s earliest success, which had its debut in 1842 at La Scala. “So now …” and then he turned around to lead the CSO in an encore of the opera’s popular overture, which references the chorus “Va, pensiero,” Verdi’s beloved anthem.

During the latest CSO concert Jan. 22, Muti and his orchestra shared another musical message from the heart, an encore of the intermezzo from Giordano’s opera Fedora. Written in 1898, Fedora enjoyed an era of popularity, then disappeared from the repertoire, until Antonino Votto and others helped to reintroduce the work. Votto, of course, was one of Muti’s teachers, and thus, the CSO’s encore also was a tip of the hat to one of Muti’s most important mentors.

From Milan, the CSO and Maestro Muti travel to Lugano, Switzerland, for the final tour concert Jan. 23 of the Europe Tour 2020.

For more coverage, go to the tour page on cso.org, Sounds and Stories’ CSO on Tour category, the CSO’s Facebook page and other social media outlets, including Twitter and Instagram.

TOP: Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at La Scala in Milan. | ©Todd Rosenberg Photography 2020

Concert in Milan

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Maestro Muti conducts the second movement of the Prokofiev.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
Principal Tuba Gene Pokorny checks his email before the CSO leaves Florence.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
Luggage in hand, violin Melanie Kupchynsky waits for the track to be called for the trip to Milan.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
CSO cello Karen Basrak beams as the orchestra arrives in Milan.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
Assistant Concertmaster Yuan-Qing Yu and Assistant Principal Bassoon Bill Buchman head for the bus for the ride to the hotel.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
Even though her room’s not ready, Assistant Principal Second Violin Sylvia Kim Kilcullen is overjoyed to be in Milan.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
Cello Loren Brown and Assistant Principal Clarinet John Bruce Yeh visit with former
Chicagoan Jody Livo.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
A poster promoting Riccardo Muti and the CSO greets patrons as they enter the hall.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
During the load-in at La Scala, stage technician Blair Carlson wheels a violin case into the theater.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
Working ahead, Concertmaster Robert Chen, Principal Clarinet Stephen Williamson and Principal Cello John Sharp prepare for an upcoming concert back at Symphony Center.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
La Scala’s Royal Box is where the most exalted dignitaries usually sit.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
With two more concerts to go, the CSO stage crew stops for a second to pose for a photo.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg.
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