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