An 'optimistic' Verona Arena announces summer opera lineup
FILE - In this June 21, 2002 file photo, a huge pyramid dominates the stage of the opening performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida in the Verona Arena, northern Italy. (AP Photo/Claudio Martinelli)MILAN – Riccardo Muti and Plácido Domingo will headline the 2021 Verona Arena Opera Festival, essentially last year's season revived as a sign of “great optimism and utmost seriousness," the festival's general director said Thursday. After an abbreviated 2020 season of concerts due to the pandemic, operas will be fully staged with a complete cast and chorus. “We have more experience, and we know better our enemy," general director Cecilia Gasdia told a news conference. 9, an opera gala featuring German tenor Jonas Kaufmann and a ballet gala starring Roberto Bolle.
Beppe Modenese, creator of Milan fashion system, dies at 90
MILAN – Beppe Modenese, the force behind the coalescence of Italian ready-to-wear fashion in the northern city of Milan, has died. Modenese died Saturday in the fashion capital. Dubbed “Italy’s Prime Minister of Fashion” in 1983 by Women’s Wear Daily, Modenese remained a front-row mainstay into recent seasons, maintaining the official title of honorary president of the Italian fashion council, the Italian National Fashion Chamber. “Beppe Modenese contributed like no one else to the birth of the Italian fashion system,’’ fashion council president Carlo Capasa said in a statement. As the head of the fashion council, Modenese discovered many talents, notably Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who made their Milan runway debut in 1985.
Virus cases spike at Milan's La Scala, Naples' San Carlo
MILAN – The number of performers at Milan’s famed La Scala opera house who have tested positive for the coronavirus has risen to 21, even as the theater was forced to close due to new government restrictions aimed at curbing the virus’ resurgence. La Scala spokesman Paolo Besana confirmed Tuesday that 18 members of the world-class chorus and three woodwind players in the orchestra have the virus. The new peak in virus cases in Italy has been centered in Milan, Lombardy's capital, throwing into doubt La Scala’s celebrated Dec. 7 gala season opener. La Scala had launched a limited series of concerts and ballets in September with just 700 audience members instead of the usual 2,000, with operatic concerts and ballet galas instead of fully staged performances. Italy, the birthplace of opera, resumed classical music performances this summer after a severe 10-week lockdown, with strict distancing rules between orchestra members and limiting the number of singers on stage.
Muti conducts Syria musicians in memorial concert amid ruins
These concerts give to Ravenna the possibility to be an important ambassador of peace and brotherhood from Italy, Muti told The Associated Press earlier this month in Ravenna. Her brother, Missak Baghboudarian, conducts the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra and had hoped to travel to Italy to conduct a concert in Ravenna and attend the Paestum concert of Beethovens Symphony No. 3, known as the Heroic, but was unable to travel because of travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus. Instead, the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra streamed Beethovens Heroic from Damascus on July 2. Karoun Baghboudarian said she hoped the concert would renew attention on Syrians suffering.
From Italy, Muti looks to reopen US classical music scene
Italian Maestro Riccardo Muti, top center, prepares to direct a concert at the Ravenna Festival, in Ravenna, Northern Italy, Sunday, June 21, 2020. Riccardo Muti has sent a resounding message that live classical music has returned the Italian stage after the coronavirus lockdown with a full summer festival program in his adopted Ravenna. Even during two world wars, Muti noted, theaters stayed open to provide cultural relief except during the worst of the bombings. In the United States, he won accolades leading the Philadelphia Orchestra in the 1980s and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 2010. The Ravenna Festival program, which runs through July, is another signal of the gradual reawakening of European classical music after strict closures to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Vienna Philharmonic purrs back to life after pandemic pause
The Vienna Philharmonic returned home, and its famous strings purred for the first time since March 10. Michael Bladerer, a contrabass, recalled talking with Daniel Froschauer, a first violinist. Long criticized for its refusal to admit women, the Vienna Philharmonic ended its ban in 1997 and has 18 women among its 145 current members. While many if not most U.S. orchestra members were furloughed by administrators desperate to trim payroll during the coronavirus crisis, the Vienna Philharmonic is a self-governing collective. Its members hold dual roles, selected from the pit orchestra of the Vienna State Opera -- where they are collecting 80% of their salaries under government programs.
Muti to conduct classical music's return to Italian stage
SOAVE Riccardo Muti will conduct a youth orchestra in an open-air concert launching the annual Ravenna Festival next month in what organizers billed Friday as Italys first live classical music performance since its strict lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus. Inspired by Italian industry, the Ravenna Festival prepared its own protocols during the lockdown, which were approved by the Italian government, allowing the quick start, said festival general manager Antonio de Rosa. The festival will open June 21 with Ravenna native Muti conducting the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, featuring musicians under age 30, inside the 15th-Century Rocca Brancaleone fortress. The festival, founded 30 years ago by Muti's wife, Cristina Mazzavillani Muti, will present 40 performances, with the full program to be announced shortly. We listened to music, we read books and we watched many musical performances on television, de Rosa told the AP.