Muti on mission to honor Verdi’s original intent

Feb 20, 2018 653

Riccardo Muti thinks about how an afterlife meeting with Giuseppe Verdi would go after spending decades fighting to perform the works of Italy’s greatest composer exactly as written. “My questions to Verdi would be if I did right,” the 76-year-old conductor said. “And if he says that I was wrong, then I will die for a second time.”

During a career that included music director tenures with the Philadelphia Orchestra (1980-92), Milan’s Teatro alla Scala (1986-2005) and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (since 2010), and principal conductor posts with Italy’s Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (1968-80) and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra (1972-82), Muti established himself as a perfectionist and purist. He insists on “come scritto,” that compositions be performed “as written” without interpolated high notes intended to thrill audiences.

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