Riccardo Muti begins his fourth season as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) with a four-week residency, from September 19 to October 12, which features a celebration of Giuseppe Verdi's bicentennial.
"...he [Verdi] gave a voice to all our hopes and sorrows, he wept and loved for all of us."
- Italian poet Gabriele d'Annunzio
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) is perhaps the best-known and most distinctive operatic composer in history. A master of dramatic expression, an expert at portraying passionate characters and adept at creating dramatic scenes, Verdi composed music from the heart that speaks straight to the heart, mirroring a range of human emotion in his work.
Maestro Muti believes that "Verdi's music is able to express the deepest and most complex situations in just a single phrase or sometimes even with just two notes. To be so simple and so deep at the same time is very difficult. He expresses feelings that the entire world can understand."
The 2013/14 season begins with a free community concert on Wednesday, September 18 at 7 p.m. This year, Muti and the CSO perform at Morton East High School in Cicero, in its historic landmark Chodl Auditorium. This performance features Brahms' Symphony No. 2, as well as other works by Verdi-including "Va, Pensiero" fromNabucco-performed by members of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and a community chorus comprising singers from Morton East and area schools. Soprano Barbara Frittoli and bass-baritone Luca Dall'Amico are the soloists. The concert is the first time the CSO has performed in Cicero.
Subscription concerts with Maestro Muti begin on Thursday, September 19, with a one-night-only concert featuring the first CSO performance of Johann Strauss, Jr.'s Overture to Indigo and the Forty Thieves, Verdi's Ballet Music from Macbeth, and Overture to La forza del destino and Brahms' Symphony No. 2.
Symphony Ball, the CSO's annual gala fundraising event, takes place on Saturday, September 21, with an all-Verdi program, with Maestro Muti leading overtures, arias and incidental music from some of Verdi's most beloved operas. Soprano Barbara Frittoli and bass-baritone Luca Dall'Amico are again the soloists with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, prepared by Chorus Director Duain Wolfe.
At the centerpiece of the Verdi celebration are four concert performances of Verdi's complete Macbeth onSeptember 28, and October 1, 4, and 6. Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and a cast of vocal soloists: baritone Luca Salsi sings the role of Macbeth in place of Dario Solari, who has been forced to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts; soprano Tatiana Serjan is Lady Macbeth; bass Dmitry Belosselskiy is Banco; tenor Francesco Meli is Macduff; tenor Antonello Ceron is Malcolm; soprano Simge Büyükedes is the Lady-in-Waiting, replacing previously-announced Anna Malavasi; and bass Gianluca Buratto is the Doctor.
To conclude the Verdi bicentennial celebration, Muti, the CSO, and the Chicago Symphony Chorus will give a one-night-only performance of Verdi's Requiem Mass on Thursday, October 10-200 years to the day of Verdi's birth. Though the concert at Symphony Center is sold out, it will be viewed by people around the world. In a first-of-its-kind event for the CSO, the Orchestra and Chorus will offer a free live video webcast of the Requiem on Thursday, October 10, beginning at 7:30 p.m. CDT (-5 GMT). Online, the Requiem performance can be viewed live and on demand afterwards at:
Also at 7:30 p.m. on October 10, the performance will be simulcast on the new state-of-the-art LED screen at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. The CSO's Verdi bicentennial performances are part of the Year of Italian Culture celebrations.
Another week of subscription concerts led by Muti features CSO Concertmaster Robert Chen as soloist in Hindemith's Violin Concerto, on October 3, 5, 8 and 11 at Symphony Center, as well as on October 12 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This program also includes Mozart's Divertimento in D Major, K. 136 and Prokofiev's Suite from Romeo and Juliet.
Following the Friday, October 11 CSO matinee, Maestro Muti will sign copies of his two books-on Verdi and his autobiography-and his newest CD release with the CSO and Chorus, Verdi's Otello, which was recorded live in Chicago in 2011, and will be released digitally on September 3 and in retail outlets on September 24.
Maestro Muti will also lead an open rehearsal of Liszt's Les Preludes on October 2 with the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, which was founded, and is regularly led, by CSO Principal Trombone Jay Friedman. This rehearsal is free and open to the public from 7:30-10 p.m. at Dominican University Performing Arts Center in River Forest.
During this season-opening residency, Maestro Muti also makes a return visit to the Illinois Youth Center in Warrenville.
Bank of America is the Global Sponsor of the CSO. Sponsorship of the Music Director and related programs onSeptember 19 and 28 and October 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11 is provided in part by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation. The CSO thanks Kay Bucksbaum for underwriting the live stream of the Requiem; Dan Fischel and Sylvia Neil for their sponsorship of the Requiem; and Jim and Kay Mabie for support of the appearance of the CSO Chorus. Additional funding for the Verdi celebration is provided by the Gilchrist Foundation, Julie and Roger Baskes, Dr. and Mrs. Whitney Addington, Bruce and Martha Clinton for The Clinton Family Fund, and the NIB Foundation.
TICKETS for all 2013/14 Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Center Presents and Civic Orchestra of Chicago concerts can be purchased by calling CSO ticketing services at 312-294?3000 or 800?223?7114, online at cso.org, or by visiting the Symphony Center box office at 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604. Discounted student tickets for select concerts can be purchased, subject to availability, online in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert. For group rates, please call 312-294-3040. Artists, programs and prices are subject to change.
About Riccardo Muti (www.RiccardoMutiMusic.com)
Riccardo Muti, born in Naples, Italy, is one of the preeminent conductors of our day. In 2010, when he became the tenth music director of the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), he had more than forty years of experience at the helm of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence (1968-80); the Philharmonia Orchestra in London (1972-82); the Philadelphia Orchestra (1980-1992); and Teatro alla Scala in Milan (1986-2005). He continues to be in demand as a guest conductor for other great orchestras and opera houses: the Berlin Philharmonic; the Vienna Philharmonic; the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; the Vienna State Opera; the Royal Opera House in London; the Metropolitan Opera in New York City; and many others. He is an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic, which gave him its Golden Ring as a special sign of esteem and affection. He also is honorary director for life of the Rome Opera.
Muti has received innumerable honors from Italy, the United States, France, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Israel, Spain, Russia, Sweden, and the Vatican as well as more than 20 honorary degrees from universities around the world. Passionate about teaching young musicians, Muti founded the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra in 2004. Through Le vie dell'Amicizia (The Paths of Friendship), a project of the Ravenna Festival in Italy, he has conducted in many of the world's most troubled areas in order to bring attention to and advocate for civic and social issues. In Chicago and around the globe, Muti demonstrates his strong commitment to sharing classical music broadly by regularly offering free concerts and rehearsals to the public and by performing in schools, prisons, and other community venues.
Riccardo Muti's vast catalog of recordings, numbering in the hundreds, ranges from the traditional symphonic and operatic repertoires to contemporary works. He also has written two books, Verdi, l'italiano (published in Italian and German) and Riccardo Muti: An Autobiography: First the Music, Then the Words, which has been published in several languages.
About the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (cso.org)
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Its music director since 2010 is Riccardo Muti, one of the preeminent conductors of our day. The venerable Pierre Boulez is the CSO's Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus. The renowned musicians of the CSO annually perform more than 150 concerts, most at Symphony Center in downtown Chicago and, in the summer, at the suburban Ravinia Festival. The CSO also appears in other U.S. cities, and each year tours internationally. Since its founding in 1891, the Orchestra has made 56 international tours, visiting 28 countries on five continents. At home and on tour, tickets are always in high demand and frequently sold out; occasional performances and rehearsals are free.
The CSO is part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), which also includes the acclaimed Chicago Symphony Chorus; the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a unique training orchestra; CSO Radio broadcasts and webcasts worldwide; and CSO Resound, a best-selling record label. Recordings by the CSO have won 62 Grammys, more than any other artist or ensemble. Through its Symphony Center Presents series, the CSOA offers dozens of performances each year by famous guest artists of jazz, contemporary, world, and classical music. Through its Institute for Learning, Access, and Training, the CSOA offers a variety of youth, community and education programs, all of which are based on the concept of Citizen Musicianship, using and promoting the power of music to contribute to our culture, our communities, and the lives of others. Celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma is the CSOA's Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant; Deborah F. Rutter, a highly regarded arts executive, is the CSOA's president.
Complete program information follows: