Muti will conduct at La Scala

The frost has thawed.

Twelve years after he stormed out of La Scala, Riccardo Muti will give two concerts there in January with the touring Chicago Symphony Orchestra, it was announced last night.

One barrier, however, remains.

After the musicians side with his enemies in a vote of no-confidence in March 2005, Muti said he would not conduct the La Scala orchestra again. When he does, peace can truly be declared.

riccardo muti solemn

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  • Let’s put things in perspective: Muti left La Scala (2005) about as long as Barenboim left Chicago (2006), each for his own reasons of course, and neither has returned to conduct his old ensemble (and in a twist of fate, each took over the other’s ensemble).

    And here’s the divergence: the thaw seems to be quicker for the (Mediterranean) Italians than for the (freezing) Chicagoans, because la Scala this year mounted a retrospective exhibition for Muti’s tenure and next year, he will conduct at his old house. None of this has happened to Barenboim yet in Chicago.

    Muti and La Scala will kiss and make up soon enough. At least sooner than Barenboim and Chicago.

    • I’ve never quite understood the deal with Barenboim and Chicago. He was there 15 years – a very decent period – and announced decently in advance that he was stepping down; he didn’t quit suddenly like Muti or Dutoit. Presumably some in the orchestra loved him, others hated him, true in almost any orchestra. So I don’t know if there is any particular animosity there, or maybe both sides just got tired of each other. And Barenboim since then hasn’t conducted any US orchestra, to my knowledge; he has just come on tour (including to Chicago) with one of his orchestras.

  • Barenboim badly overplayed his had asking for ‘conductor For Life’ status. He then petulantly left. It was that simple. The musicians simply were not prepared to make such a commitment.

    • Interesting and rather immoderate, considering the musicians of the Staatskapelle Berlin had voted him “Conductor for Life” in the Fall of 2000 (amidst some criticism that he didn’t sufficiently raise the profile of the Staatskapelle Berlin and tended to the orchestra in too casual a manner), six years before he left the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

      • Not really, considering he strays from his “wife”-for-life, the Staatskapelle Berlin, frequently.

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