Fabio Luisi: Why I am quitting Florence

Fabio Luisi: Why I am quitting Florence


norman lebrecht

July 19, 2019

The music director resigned this week at the Maggio Musicale, following the general director’s withdrawal over political changes in the makeup of the governing board.

Here is what Fabio wrote to the Mayor of the city:

Dear Mayor, dear Superintendent,

it is with a feeling of extreme unease and great personal regret that I submit to you my resignation as Music Director of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

I reached this final decision despite the intense, fruitful work with the theater and all the collaborators – above all with my fellow orchestra professors and choir artists – with whom we had to face the effort to start a coherent artistic revival whose full results could have been appreciated only over time, despite the affection shown to me by the audience on various occasions and despite the undeniable artistic successes achieved by my own, by our team within the Maggio. For this reason I thank all the organization of the Maggio, first of all Orchestra and Chorus, the closest to me on the way to return to the apexes of the European musical proposal.

A musician, as an artist, has the task of measuring himself against reality in a dialectical and therefore critical confrontation, avoiding elitist attitudes, which is why I allow myself to formulate some considerations.

The incomprehensible strategic choices of the last few days have convinced me that in Firenze the desire to continue the program started and shared since the beginning with the superintendent Cristiano Chiarot, the artistic coordinator Conte and with my collaborators and colleagues of the Maggio Fiorentino, is missing. There is, on the other hand, the desire to give a turning point of a political nature to the management of the Maggio, a turning point that will necessarily be reflected (and whose early signs I have noticed for some time) on artistic programming.

Unfortunately for me, therefore, it is no longer possible to continue in this direction, a direction that was mine and of Chiarot, which I would like to publicly thank for his humanity and the competence demonstrated in these years of common work.

What happened in these last days cannot be declassified into ordinary administration, so after a careful thought of a few days, necessary to avoid emotional responses, I came to the decision to resign, decision taken considering the advantage of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Foundation as primary interest .

Precisely in this perspective, I do not feel able to cancel the Florentine commitments of next September both in Firenze and for the tour in Bucharest at the Enescu Festival, an event of such an international importance that if it were cancelled would damage the prestige and the international reputation of the Foundation itself.

I thank you dear Dario, and with you I would like to thank the whole city for the affection you all gave me. I wish Florence – I am more than certain indeed – can always count on a Teatro del Maggio Musicale worthy of its history.



  • aNOn says:

    Can someone provide some background to what he’s talking about?

    The letter is really opaque, including the effective date of his resignation, is it immediately or after September, after Firenze and Bucharest?

    • Nik says:

      Yes, I was thinking the same thing. Unless you have inside knowledge of the situation it really gives no clues at all as to what’s gone wrong.

  • Bill Gross says:

    It reads like a poor translation from another language, I guess Italian.

  • Torino, Rome, and now Florence have all had high level disputes and departures in the last few years, which might not be so unusual. Would it be fair to say it’s sort of the way things are done in Italian opera houses? My thoughts return to Fellini’s “Prova d’orchestra.” I have to admit I sort of admire the Italian sense of controlled chaos. Sempre un casino, as they say. Whatever, I hope all turns out well.

  • John Rook says:

    If anyone can work out why Fabio Luisi is leaving Florence, your name will be entered for a £1,000,000 draw.

  • Douglas says:

    Sad to hear this news as we are heading to Firenze in April/May 2020 and we were looking forward to Maestro Luisi’s performances. Operbase doesn’t show replacements yet for Otello and Cosi. Sad.