Muti returns to Vienna Opera after 12 year absence

Muti returns to Vienna Opera after 12 year absence


norman lebrecht

November 04, 2017

Riccardo Muti has set up a co-production between Naples and Vienna to enable him to return to the Staatsoper with a Mozart opera directed by his daughter, Chiara.

Press release:

During a press conference today (4th November 2017) at the historic Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Director of the Vienna State Opera, Dominique Meyer, along with the General Director and the Artistic Director of the Teatro San Carlo Rosanna Purchia and Paolo Pinamonti announced a joint project between both houses.

The coproduction of Mozart’s Così fan tutte under the musical direction of Riccardo Muti and staged by his daughter Chiara Muti will premiere in Naples in November 2018 – the Vienna premiere will take place in May 2020. The set is designed by Leila Fteita and the costumes by Alessandro Lai – the Viennese cast will be announced in early 2019
at the season’s preview press conference.

For the premiere of Così fan tutte Riccardo Muti will return to the conductor’s stand of the Vienna State Opera after 12 years, secured by Dominique Meyer during a guest performance in Japan last year. “It was wonderful for me to see how much Riccardo Muti enjoyed working with our orchestra at the guest performances in Japan last
autumn. And we are all thrilled that on this occasion we were able to arrange his return to the Wiener Staatsoper with a joint new production of ‘Così fan tutte’” – Dominique Meyer.


  • Olassus says:

    Odd that his return to Vienna’s Staatsoper is in the same opera as he last led there.

    Perhaps it is because he wanted to do Così in Naples, where it is set, Naples being his place of birth if not his home town, and the tie with Vienna will help fund everything at the required high level.

    Good that Dominique Meyer “secured” him.

    If Nikolaus Bachler, at Munich’s equally rich Staatsoper, cared about who succeeds Kirill Petrenko after 2020 (which he probably does not because he himself is leaving at the same time) or if he worried much about Italian opera (which he apparently does not because he constantly hires hacks to conduct Italian music), he would imitate Meyer’s empirical recruiting and “secure” Riccardo Muti for the job.

    Muti is lionized in Munich, as the two separately televised Verdi Requiems last week demonstrated. And Muti needs $2 million a year to replace his Chicago salary.

    • Simone says:

      I’d say Muti doesn’t need money. At this point in his life and career he can do whatever he wants without caring about revenues.

    • Ungeheuer says:

      More details, please, about these V Requiems.

      • Olassus says:

        Monster, I have provided a link to the relevant BR Klassik page, but NL must approve it first. (Wiki and other recognized links go up immediately.) Therefore go to that site and dig around if you can’t wait. You can play/see either of the two performances. My only quibble is with the tenor’s sound. Otherwise excellent. Maestro looked pained. I think he is starting to hate conducting. Would rather chat, prepare, lecture, joke, research, study, pontificate.

        • Ungeheuer says:

          Awesome. Will poke around BR Klassik for it. Thank you.

        • Ungeheuer says:

          Yep, Maestro didn’t smile once. But that’s Muti. Orchestra’s playing beautiful as was his direction as was the chorus. But I like something more heaven storming in the V Requiem. The principal singers were meh.

          • herrera says:

            He looked absolutely jet lagged!

            This is his, what, 9000th Requiem? did he really have to do another one?

            I don’t think he got any rest from touring with Chicago on the west coast and flying to Europe on the god awful 9 hour time difference.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Are you going too far with your speculation? Muti will be 79 in 2020. I believe his main connection with Munich is not so much with the Bavarian State Opera. It is with the wonderful BRSO – they have even made some nice recordings together.

      • Olassus says:

        Muti was “never” going to take another music directorship (for whatever reason) when Deborah Rutter followed and snared him for Chicago, an orchestra he had not conducted for decades, with flattery, big money, and an 8- or 10-week work requirement, lower than normal for the U.S.

        If Munich’s opera company, which has the same qualities, budget and prestige as Vienna’s, and is a short ride from Italy, made the right offer, funded and approved by the same Kultusministerium as that for BR, it could secure Muti’s services.

        He is an opera man, essentially, and he needs an opera company, one without the instability he encountered in Rome. Munich is weak in Italian music, the biggest chunk of the repertory, and has been for decades. It needs to fix this in order to compete with Vienna. Muti’s appointment would solve the problem overnight.

        Of course, the “right offer” would need to be scaled and tailored to suit the circumstances, and would require imagination, flexibility and effort. Maybe not “GMD” as title.

        • Steve says:

          When Maestro Muti was asked about the vacant music director position at the Vienna State Opera in 2014 (during the CSO’s Fall European tour), after Welser-Most’s departure, he quickly denounced the idea, responding as follows:

          “To take another position as music director of an opera house means that your life is finished. You have to deal with problems with singers, the chorus, the theater in another part of the world.” (“Chicago on the Aisle” Interview)

          So, I would consider your speculation to be pretty far off. He is at a good place right now in his career with directorships in Chicago and with the Cherubini orchestra and isn’t looking for an opera house directorship. Plus, it’s not like he is without opera if he doesn’t have an opera house directorship – he still conducts opera around the world, whether in Chicago, Ravenna, Tokyo, Florence, etc..

          And better yet, he now spends a lot of time teaching opera to students from all over the world at his Opera Academy, which is much more than what a lot of conductors of his stature do.

          • Olassus says:

            Orchestra Cherubini and the Italian Opera Academy don’t pay the bills. Quite the opposite: it is possible Muti at times subsidizes them. Chicago is ending in 2020. Tokyo is occasional only. I don’t agree that he is “at a good place right now.” He is effectively in transition from high-income stability to something else. The questions are: what?; and how will it impact the family? Some part-time but titled role at either of the two big Staatsopers would be the best fit.

      • herrera says:

        agree that you cannot head an opera house at 79, not seriously or meaningfully, rehearsals are gruelling even for someone at 50, if you really want to realize your vision of an opera

    • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

      Guest conducting SOdBR once per year? Yes, please.
      Generalmusikdirektor of Staatsoper? Nein, danke.

  • Sue says:

    Goodie; just what we need; another Mozart opera.

  • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

    Does David Fray also get a role in this production?

  • Mario says:

    Are there any other cases of conductors promoting their daughters as opera stage directors?

    • RW2013 says:

      Not quite, but there’s Peter Brook and his daughter Irina (hideous L’elisir in Berlin).

    • Olassus says:

      Frankly, Mario, there are so many perverted shallow costly ugly dumb tiresome repetitive self-promoting brand-name directors these days, a new, calm face is welcome from time to time, and it should be noted that Chiara’s mom is a stage director and she herself an actor.