Concerts at the new Philharmonie de Paris, Vienna’s Musikverein and Milan’s Teatro alla Scala are on the itinerary for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s sixth European tour under Riccardo Muti, announced May 11. The tour, which consists of 11 concerts Jan. 13-27 in seven cities, marks the CSO’s 33rd trip to Europe and the 60th international excursion in its history.
The tour also will serve as a homecoming for Muti, who was music director of La Scala from 1986 to 2005. Ahead of the CSO’s concerts in January, the Museo Teatrale alla Scala will celebrate Muti’s 75th birthday with a special exhibit honoring his achievements at the theater.
The Philharmonie de Paris, which opened in January 2015, will be the first stop on the CSO’s tour, with a one-night-only concert Jan. 13. The CSO then travels to Hamburg, Germany, for two concerts Jan. 14-15 at the state-of-the-art Elbphilharmonie, as part of the hall’s grand opening-week programming. Next, the CSO will make its debut at the Musikkens Hus in Aalborg, Denmark, with two concerts Jan. 16-17. From Denmark, the CSO heads to La Scala for two performances Jan. 20-21, in the orchestra’s first appearances there since 1981.
On tour, Muti and the CSO will perform Hindemith’s Concert Music for String Orchestra and Brass, Elgar’s In the South (Alassio), Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain, Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition, Richard Strauss’ Don Juan, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Dvořák’s Husitská Overture (a work performed on the CSO’s first concerts in October 1891). Along with ticketed performances, CSO musicians will lead master classes for music students and give community chamber concerts while on tour.
In announcing the CSO-Muti concerts, La Scala intendant Alexander Pereira said, “Ever since my first press conference [here], I have underlined the necessity of inviting the world’s most important conductors, especially those who made an extraordinary contribution to the history of [La Scala].” With these two concerts featuring Muti and the CSO, “[it’s] a moment the city and all music lovers have been waiting for,” he said.
Before the opening of his tribute exhibit, Muti will attend a preview June 5 at La Scala. The exhibit, curated by music scholar Lorenzo Arruga, opens June 6 at the theater’s museum.
Since beginning his tenure as CSO music director in 2010, Muti has embraced the orchestra’s rich legacy of international touring. During these years, he led the CSO on European tours in 2011, 2012 and 2014. The CSO’s European Tour 2014 featured debuts in Geneva and Warsaw, along with a week of sold-out concerts at the Musikverein.
TOP: Riccardo Muti and the CSO acknowledge the audience during a 2014 concert at the Musikverein in Vienna. | Todd Rosenberg Photography