mercoledì 24 settembre 2014

Rome opera house in disarray after Muti quits

Iconic director cites labour strife, underfunding, mismanagement

(ANSA) - Rome, September 22 - Rome opera house was in disarray Monday after iconic conductor Riccaro Muti abruptly quit at the weekend citing labour strife, mismanagement and cash problems which he said deprived him of the necessary "serenity" to work.

Labour unions echoed Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino and Opera General Manager Carlo Fuortes in hoping the flamboyant Naples-born conductor, 73, would change his mind. A representative of Italy's biggest union, CGIL, said it "very much hopes" Muti will reconsider his decision. Entertainment workers' union Fistel Cisl also said it was "really hopeful" Muti will rethink. Muti withdrew as the primary conductor of the Rome Opera after six years, citing ongoing funding, management and labour strife at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, at which he holds the title honorary director for life.

In a letter to the director of the fractious opera house, Muti withdrew from planned productions of Verdi's Aida opening in November and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, for spring 2015. "There are no conditions (there) to ensure the serenity necessary to my leading successful productions," Muti wrote to Fuentes. "Unfortunately, despite all my efforts to contribute to your cause," Muti wrote, problems of state and city funding, management authority and labour peace "have emerged (again) in just the last few days." Muti said that he would dedicate his time in Italy instead to the Luigi Cherubini Orchestra that he founded for young professional musicians.

The world-famous conductor, who will now have more time to devote to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), said he decided to quit the Rome Opera "with the greatest regret, after long and troubled reflection." Fuortes joined Marino in expressing the hope that Muti would return "once we can overcome the problems that still plague us, and the music system in Italy more generally." Earlier this year Muti extended his tenure as music director of the CSO for five years, through 2020. "In 2020 I won't be 80 yet," Muti said at Monday's announcement, quipping that his family was known for youthful vitality continuing into old age. "My great-grandfather remarried at 76," said the great conductor, who was music director of La Scala in Milan for 19 years.

Muti's quitting Rome is the second recent departure of an Italian conductor from a major Italian opera company. Several months ago Gianandrea Noseda withdrew as music director of the Turin Opera because of artistic differences with that company's general manager. Noseda is still scheduled to lead the company's winter North American tour of Rossini's William Tell, which is scheduled to begin December 3 at Chicago's Harris Theater. 

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