Claudio Abbado: ‘In Italy, they know opera by instinct…’

In the first of our late-summer series of interviews from Bruce Duffie’s bottomless archive, here’s the late Italian conductor reflecting on the differences between audiences:

In Italy, for instance, they know opera by instinctnot because they’re well prepared and not because of the education.  Education is very low.  There’s not a good education in Italy, but they know opera by instinct.  They are so musical, and they know by the operatic form by tradition, so they follow very well.  For education in England, they are fantastic because they are very well educated musically.  Here in this country (the USA) there’s some good educationstudying educationbut they don’t provide the audience that goes to the performance with the little conference or pre-audition.

Read the full interview here.

 

AbbaMemor-DCH_0

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  • love it…

    “BD: What’s the role of the critic?

    CA: They’re all crazy! I don’t read too many critics, but the ideal is to find the intelligent critic, not one who writes just good things or bad things. It could be a bad review, but if he is intelligent I can learn something. But most of the critics really don’t understand anything about music. There are only a few who really know something, but most other musicians they didn’t get the chance to be a composer or a singer. We did something funny many years ago in Milan. They published the music of all the critics — the music they composed when they were young — and then we performed it in one concert with reviews the next day! It was just awful! [Both laugh]
    …”

  • Oh, you mean Berlioz & Schumann? Virgil Thomson & Arthur Berger? et. al. What’s so “amusing” about high competence? I don’t think there’s an easy reversal here.

    • I was replying to a comment that seems suddenly to have been removed. Would thus appreciate your removing mine as well or else restoring the one to which I replied. Thank you.

  • ==Oh, you mean Berlioz & Schumann? Virgil Thomson & Arthur Berger?

    Elliott Carter was a wonderful reviewer in his younger days.

  • “For education in England, they are fantastic because they are very well educated musically.”

    Is this really the case?

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