photos: from L to R: Domingo as Otello, Ricardo Muti. and at the Metropolitan Opera NYC.
From Chicago to New York: Riccardo Muti to Lead Verdi’s Otello 
Friday, April 1st, 2011

Riccardo Muti returns to Chicago April 7, 9, and 12, to lead Verdi’s penultimate operatic masterpiece Otello, in a concert version with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Joining Muti and the CSO are the Chicago Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Duain Wolfe, and the Chicago Children’s Choir, under the direction of Josephine Lee.

Making their CSO debuts in the roles of Otello, Desdemona, Iago, and Emilia, are tenor Aleksandrs Antonenkosoprano Krassimira Stoyanovabaritone Nicola Alaimo, and mezzo-soprano Barbara Di Castri. Also making CSO debuts are tenorJuan Francisco Gatell as Cassio, tenor Michael Spyres as Roderigo, and bass Paolo Battaglia as Montano. Bass Eric Owens sings the role of Lodovico.

Based on Shakespeare’s tragic play, Othello, this opera is one of Verdi’s last and was nearly never written, since the composer had gone into retirement following the success of Aida. But librettist Arrigo Boito and Verdi’s publisher convinced the composer to write the opera, and Otello received its premiere at La Scala in Milan in 1887. Riccardo Muti is widely known as one of today’s foremost interpreters of Verdi’s work, and has led numerous performances from the great composer’s catalogue in some of the world’s most important venues, including La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Festival, and others.

Following the performances at Symphony Center, the CSO travels to New York’s famed Carnegie Hall for three performances with Maestro Muti—the Orchestra’s first concerts outside of Chicago with him since becoming music director. Both the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Chicago Children’s Choir join Muti and the CSO onFridayApril 15 at 8 p.m. for its only New York performance of Otello.

In addition to Otello, Muti also leads an additional program on FridayApril 8, at 1:30 p.m., of Cherubini’s Overture in G Major, a work by another of Maestro Muti’s favorite Italian composers. Liszt’s Les préludes follows, and the program concludes with Shostakovich’s mighty Fifth Symphony.

On SaturdayApril 16 at 7:30 p.m., Muti and the Orchestra perform the all-Berlioz program that opened the 2010/11 season in Chicago: Symphonie fantastique and its lesser-known sequel, Lélio, with Gérard Depardieu as narrator. The final Carnegie Hall date—Sunday, April 17 at 3 p.m.—repeats the program of Cherubini’s Overture in G Major, Liszt’s Les préludes, and Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.

Over the course of his extraordinary career, Riccardo Muti has conducted the most prominent orchestras in the world, from the Berlin Philharmonic to the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic to the Orchestre National de France. Maestro Muti made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival in July 1973. His appointment as the CSO’s tenth music director was announced in May 2008, and in September 2010, he assumed the post for a five-year contract. Maestro Muti and the CSO’s first recording together—Verdi’s Messa da Requiem—on the CSO Resound label was awarded two Grammy awards, marking Muti’s first such honor. In March 2011, Riccardo Muti was selected as the second-ever winner of the Birgit Nilsson Prize, awarded by the Birgit Nilsson Foundation every two or three years to a singer or conductor who has had a significant impact in the classical field.

For more information  and to purchase tickets visit

Source: press release by CSO.



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