Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, receives another honor this week: He’s the subject of a commemorative stamp issued by the Japanese postal service to mark the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Italian diplomatic relations.
Coincidently, Muti will be in Japan to conduct his Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra for two performances March 16-17 as part of the Tokyo Spring Festival. The new stamp, which depicts Muti at the podium and will be issued beginning March 16, commemorates the joint signing of a treaty in 1866. “It is my honor to celebrate this anniversary by opening the Tokyo Spring Festival with concerts by an orchestra and chorus of young Japanese and young Italian musicians,” Muti said.
In another coincidence, Muti will observe his 150th performance in Japan during the Spring Festival. His engagement comes just weeks after the CSO’s Asian Tour 2016, which included two sold-out concerts at Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan in January.
The Muti stamp is part of a sheet that also features stamps honoring Italian composers Giuseppe Verdi and Arrigo Boito. The commemorative stamps will be available only at the Spring Festival.
The Japanese stamps mark the second postal-themed honor for Muti. In 2004, Austrian officials issued a stamp celebrating Muti’s artistic legacy, including his many guest performances with the Vienna Philharmonic and at the annual Salzburg Festival.
At the Spring Festival, Muti and his Cherubini orchestra will be joined by the Tokyo Harusai Festival Orchestra, the Tokyo Opera Singers, the Little Singers of Tokyo and acclaimed bass Ildar Abdrazakov. They will perform selections from Verdi’s Nabucco, Attila, Macbeth, La forza del destino and I Lombardi, along with the prologue from Boito’s Mefistofele.
For more information on Riccardo Muti and the CSO’s 125th anniversary season, click here.