Riccardo Muti: Things to do before I die

Riccardo Muti: Things to do before I die


norman lebrecht

January 07, 2020

From an interview today with Die Welt:

I think the time has come to reflect on my roots. I always wanted to return to Ithaca, like Odysseus. Even if my Penelope Christina was mostly with me. Now is the time to think about me. I bought some land below Castel del Monte, the famous castle of Frederick II, nothing special, rather poor, with olive trees and a few trulli that I had restored. And now I finally want to experience the harvest there. These are my dreams before I go into the dark. I hope I get purgatory, nothing in the ice …

Riccardo Muti will turn 80 next year.



  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    He looks in perfect health & may still be conducting into his nineties like Herbert Blomstedt ( who I believe is scheduled to conduct the next annual Viennese Ball).

  • Olassus says:

    Sempre il comico.

  • It will be interesent to hear Muti about the two other italians giants Abbado and Chailly who were directors like him of La Scala. There was a kind of rivalry in the 80’s between Muti and Abbado, like Fellini and Visconti in the cinema of the 60’s. Muti arrived at the direction of La Scala after Abbado and the two men worked at the same time in two orchestras in London in the 80’s.

    • Rgiarola says:

      You should read his book called: “prima la musica poi le parole” (First the music, then the words). He explain it, but don’t expect too much controversy. According to him, the world is plenty of row for guys like him and Abbado.

      • Very intersiting. Concerning Chailly I know that everytime he gives itw about his journey people ask him questions about Abbado, when he was his assistant at la Scala, he answers but don’t talk like if Abbado teach him everything. He talk more about what he learnt at Siena and about the fact he went in Berlin early in the 80’s and about Karajan. But it’s true that Abbado helped him in the 70’s to do his first concerts at la Scala. And I never heard the two Riccardos talking about themself… Anyway the three guys are the sons of Toscani in a certain way.

  • Gustavo says:

    1. Dye my hair.
    2. Conduct at Bayreuth.
    3. Prepare for Neujahrskonzerte 2021, 2024, 2027.

  • Mock Mahler says:

    Keep in mind that when Odysseus returned to Ithaca, his dog died, then he had to kill about a hundred people before he could get moved in.

    • fflambeau says:

      Plus, he was killed by his son (Telegonus) in a fight over sheep.

      Moral of the story: you can never go back even if you are a famous conductor.

  • Anson says:

    “nothing in the ice…”

    Uh oh, he must be planning to leave Chicago!

    • Dennis says:

      “I hope I get purgatory, nothing in the ice …”

      In the context following the Purgatory comment, I assumed he meant by “ice” the icy lowest level of Dante’s Hell…but perhaps it could be Chicago as well!

    • sam says:

      You know of course the famous student motto for the University of Chicago: “Hell Does Freeze Over”

  • Rob says:

    Let’s hope he makes a recording of In The South as good as he performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra on this radio broadcast in 1986.

    Note, portamento in the strings near the opening:


  • Rgiarola says:

    Now things turned around! prima la parole poi le musica. Lololol.
    He should tell people he is a good cooker too.

  • Edgar Self says:

    cAnd the dog was the only reature to recognise Odysseus on his return home, Mock Mahler. There’s a lesson here somewhere …

  • fflambeau says:

    Some very materialistic needs: he seems to have learned little from life.

    I find his wish list disappointing.

    • Rgiarola says:

      It’s seems you prefer Peter Maag wishlist. Ok.
      Let me remind that he gave up conducting too soon, unfortunately. More or less according to him, it is a profession for materialistic and egomaniac people

  • Esther Cavett says:

    I see that Muti’s Lebrecht Inertview is available on BBC (at least within UK) :


  • Amos says:

    For what he did in Philadelphia alone he should be granted at least 3 wishes. The orchestra was in a bad way at the end of the Ormandy era and RM revitalized it. It’s unfortunate that the Main Line establishment wouldn’t listen to him about the need to move on from the Academy of Music. The recording venues he was forced to endure prevented the city from enjoying his work for as long as possible.