Muti joins the Pharoahs

Muti joins the Pharoahs


norman lebrecht

November 21, 2021

Al-Ahram reports:

Renowned Italian conductor Riccardo Muti visited the Giza Pyramids and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization on Friday ahead of his concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic …

During his visit to Cairo’s archaeological sites, Muti expressed his happiness to stand in front of the Giza Pyramids and Sphinx.

It’s the orchestra’s first visit to Egypt in almost 7o years. The last was with Wilhelm Furtwängler.




  • Chicagorat says:

    The Mummy finds himself exactly in the right spot.

    The Wiener grapevines report that he is worshiping Osiris post concerts with exotic rituals, desperately longing and trying to recover that certain “power” that he has forever lost.

    • Lothario Hunter says:

      Well well, ruefully speaking, and for folks who know their Egyptian deities, he’s not tapping into the wrong god now is he. But alas, his special problem is beyond even Osiris’ thaumaturgical potency.

  • CSOA Insider says:

    Chicago is the place where Muti is Pharaoh, and where he is permitted (by Alexander) to do things that only Pharaohs could be licensed to do.

    Until the day corporate sponsors find out.

  • Midwestern Violin says:

    Nothing is more pathetic than an old ugly looking man trying too hard to pose and look like Rock Hudson.

    We are so tired of him.

    • Alma Regina says:

      I’m neither a great fan of Muti nor of the attitude of the “golden-agers club”; forever clinging to the stage instead of enjoying their well deserved retirement and hand over to younger artists! But why do you have to express your opinion with such hard and humiliating words? Aging is an unavoidable part of life!

    • Save the MET says:

      Unlike Nézet-Séguin who got a vanity article in today’s “New York Times” branding him a hero when he spent nearly 2 years a covid coward not supporting the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Muti stands up for his orchestras. Just ask the Chicago Symphony Orchestra where he stood on the picket line with the musicians. Muti right now is the Dean of conductors in the world today, a fine musician at the sunset of his career. Your comment is tripe and opinion. I for one am not tired of him as he is still one of the finest on the podium today.

      • Bigfoot says:

        Muti right now is the Dean of conductors in the world today…

        Check out a guy named Herbert Blomstedt. He has numerous pandemic era performances on YouTube which astonish with the level of vitality. And by all accounts he’s just a really nice person.

      • MB says:

        Oh yeah? He did not stand up for LaScala and Opera di Roma when they were on strike.

        He stood up with the CSO musicians because he wanted to get the support of the 2,3 orchestra little bosses and get his contract renewed.

        How much in royalties does his family business give to the Cherubini musicians?

        Muti stands up for himself, and himself only.

    • David Mathews says:

      You will be old one day and you won’t be
      So unkind to a fine
      Man who has given
      Much joy to others
      Though music
      You are a sad person

  • Mystic Chord says:

    A real shame that the Vienna Phil have chosen to pay their respects to the Egyptian autocrats in this way.

  • Bet says:

    Hard to imagine that Egypt is less infected than Austria. But true.

    It’s either the climate or the genes, why Africa(ns) is/are doing better than Europe(ans) when it comes to Covid.

    Nature doesn’t give a damn about technological or cultural advance.

    • John Borstlap says:

      It’s the poverty. Virus transmission happens through the air, via aerosols. In hot climates with so many people living in dwellings where the wind has free play, it is much more difficult to catch corona. It’s the upper classes huddling together in their airco appartments in highrise buildings who get infected.

      • Gustavo says:

        Yes, Africa will soon reach herd immunity because they generally have higher mortality rates and have learnt to live with that, while we northern temperate, concert-going, champagne-sipping, smart-phone-smearing societies are playing Darwinian lottery.

  • drummerman says:

    Nice to see the pyramids…my ancestors helped build them!

  • Gustavo says:

    Riccardo Mummy

  • S says:

    Amor mio fulgente! Sol tre soli!

  • Lorenzo says:

    The Maestro Riccardo Muti, who always has his pompous arrogant mouth full of the word “Italy, Italy, Italy” for money goes to Cairo to inaugurate the new Music Hall of the Arts city with the Vienna Philharmonic.

    He suddenly forgets that Egyptian authorities have covered up the kidnap, torture and murder of the Italian student Giulio Regeni and dropped all charges against his killers!

    What a disgusting hypocrite you are Maestro Muti! Vergogna, shame on you Maestro! You are a disgrace!

  • Frank Flambeau says:

    Actually, he went to be embalmed in the most traditional way. But the embalmers could not find a heart.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    So much vitriol in these comments, so much hatred for the man. If VPO decided to visit Egypt and invited Maestro to conduct them, it is the organization’s decision. I regret to tell you, but Maestro Muti’s place in the Pantheon as one of the great conductors of the twentieth century is secured. As for you, haters, you may continue choking on your venom…anonymously.
    By the way, he looks great for his age.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      I have no horse in this race regarding Muti. But I believe that after Muti passes away, he will be largely forgotten as a conductor. He has made a minimal mark in terms of legacy recordings, nor bringing anything special to the work he’s done.

      If one thinks of the great conductors of the last 100 years, the names (in no particular order) Karajan, Furtwangler, Klemperer, Mravinsky, Knappertsbusch, Krauss, Bernstein, Erich Kleiber, Carlos Kleiber, Giulini, Toscanini, etc. come to mind.

      And then in a tier below them, names like Haitink, Jochum, Blomstedt, Kempe, Cantelli, Munch, Konwitschny, Golovanov, Colin Davis, etc. come to mind.

      You’d have to go at least 2 layers below them before I think anyone would consider Muti. Nothing personal, but I can’t think of anything he’s recorded that belongs in the “all-time great” category. And that includes his supposedly revelatory Scriabin recordings, which are blown out of the water by Golovanov’s performances of the same works.

      That said, I’ve heard one extremely memorable Muti concert, a live performance of Bruckner’s 7th we caught while visiting Munich when the VPO was there on tour. And I lived in Philadelphia at the start of his tenure there and so I heard plenty of Muti concerts in the 1980s. None of which stayed with me.

      But overall, I think very few if any objective observers would think of Muti as one of the great conductors of the last 50-100 years.

      • Gustavo says:

        Your list of conductors reads like the index of moth-eaten Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and Philips catalogues.

        That said, you forgot Solti, Levine, Sinopoli, etc., etc.

        Muti is a living legend, so make the most of him and don’t be so ungrateful.

        • Paracelsus says:

          A legend in his own mind. And you in yours, apparently, but that’s pretty much it.

          Have you heard the Beethoven in this box? It’s horrible. I mean horrible, and I don’t say this lightly.

          Listen to his Beethoven 9 with Chicago on YouTube. Atrocious.

          • Novagerio says:

            Paracelsus: What exactly is so atrocious about Muti’s Beethoven? Please, do tell in a convincing way. Is it because you want your Beethoven without vibrato and at double speed?

        • Herr Doktor says:

          That list was not intended to be exhaustive, but I would agree that Solti would definitely make the 2nd tier. Levine would not be included at all. In my experience, Levine was a terrible conductor of the symphonic repertoire that I heard him perform live in Boston during his tenure with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Sinopoli is a mixed bag but I greatly admire some of his recordings.

      • henry williams says:

        what about Abbado.

      • Novagerio says:

        Herr Doktor: Apparently you have not heard his operatic recordings. He certainly is one of the finest Mozart and Verdi conductors of the last 50 years.

    • Charles says:


      please tell me what you are smoking and where you get it, I want the same stuff

  • Sinbad says:

    Would be more impressed if he dined on pigeon pie.

  • Patrick Vienna says:

    He is trying hard to look like Karajan but he needs his hairdresser phone number!

    • Midwestern Violin says:

      Notice the shirt always rigorously unbuttoned, in any climate. He really believes himself to be a very sexy item. What a ridiculous man.

  • Gustavo says:

    @RMMusic: I do hope we get the full recording of this year’s Aida performance from Verona conducted by Maestro Muti to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the opera’s premier, which took place in Cairo on Christmas Eve, 1871!

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    A real tragedy.

    It would appear that the Maestro did not find any water around to slick back his hair before having the picture taken.

  • sonicsinfonia says:

    Bad timing – he just missed Charles and Camilla, his UK royal equivalents.

  • Jackson says:

    When I see people ganging up on an individual like this without rational reason I am reminded of a certain number of tragic happenings of the past century such as WW2.

    • MB says:

      Plenty of rational reasons. Plenty.

      I’d leave WW2 aside and worry about Muti’s statements about Asian musicians instead.

  • Well, given that the weather in Vienna is currently even worse than here in dear old Blighty, I think he’s well ahead of the game 🙂

  • Aurelia Thompson says:

    Nice to see Muti looking well. He looked pretty good the last time I saw him which was the CSO concert at La Scala in January 2020, just before COVID. Assuming we won’t be back in lockdown I hope to see him in 2022, in either Italy or Chicago.

  • Lalala says: