Riccardo Muti



by Bianca L. Nica
April 14, 2021
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Riccardo Muti’s career started in 1967, when he won the Guido Cantelli Conducting Competition in Milan and, immediately after, in 1968, he became the principal conductor of Maggio Musical Fiorentino, a position he held until 1980.

Certainly, Muti”s career is full of highlights that couldn’t be all not mentioned in a single article and one of the first of these took place in 1971, when the legendary Herbert von Karajan invited him to conduct at the Salzburg Festival, an invitation that led to a forty year collaboration with the Australian festival, celebrated in 2010. From 1972 to 1982, Muti was also the principal conductor of London Philharmonic Orchestra, while from 1980 to 1992, he inherited the position of Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, succeeding Eugene Ormandy.

Riccardo Muti is also known for having had the longest tenure as Teatro alla Scala’s Musical Director in the history is this institution: from 1986 to 2005. During these years, he directed major projects such as the Mozart-Da Ponte Trilogy and Wagner’s Ring Cycle and brought his incredible contribution to Verdi’s repertoire, conducting Ernani, Nabucco, I Vespri Siciliani, La Traviata, Attila, Don Carlos, Falstaff, Rigoletto, Macbeth, La Forza del Destino, Il Trovatore, Otello, Aida, Un ballo in Maschera, I Due Foscari, I Masnadieri. Alongside the classics of the repertoire, he brought many rarely performed and neglected works to light, including pieces from the Neapolitan school of the Eighteenth Century, as well as operas by Gluck, Cherubini, and Spontini. Poulenc’s Les dialogues des Carmélites earned Muti the prestigious Abbiati Prize from the critics. The long period spent as Music Director of Teatro alla Scala culminated on December 7th, 2004, in the triumphant re-opening of the restored opera house with Antonio Salieri’s Europa riconosciuta.

Besides more the 20 honorary degrees from the most important universities of the world, the conductor also was awarded the Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Italian Republic, a recipient of the German Verdienstkreuz, the decoration of Officer of the Legion of Honor from French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a private ceremony held at Élysée Palace, the honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire title received from Queen Elizabeth II in Britain, the Salzburg Mozarteum award for his contribution to Mozart’s music and the membership of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna Hofmusikkapelle and Vienna State Opera. Of course, these are only a few of the innumerable international honors Riccardo Muti has received over the many years of his career. Russian President Putin awarded M° the Order of Friendship, while the State of Israel has honored him with the Wolf Prize for the Arts.

In October 2018, Riccardo Muti received the prestigious Praemium Imperiale for Music of the Japan Arts Association in Tokyo. In 2010, MUTI was named the Musician of the Year by Musical America, while in February 2011 he was awarded two Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance for his live recording of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Choir, Barbara Frittoli (soprano), Olga Borodina (mezzosoprano), Mario Zeffiri (tenor), Ildar Abdrazakov (bass). MUTI’s recording activity is impressive, ranging from symphonic music and opera to contemporary compositions.

His constant collaboration with the Vienna Philharmonic reached 49 years in 2019. After 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2018, in 2021 Riccardo Muti conduced the New Year’s Concert for the sixth time. For the recording of this concert, in August 2018 he was awarded the Double Platinum on the occasion of his concerts with the same orchestra at the Salzburg Festival. He also conducted this orchestra in the opening concert the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth in Salzburg at the Grosses Festspielhaus.

In 2004, Muti founded the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, which is composed by young musicians selected by an international committee formed by more than 600 instrumentalists from all over Italy, and in in 2007, he dedicated himself, alongside with the Cherubini Orchestra, to a five-year project whose aim was the rediscovery and valorization of the operatoria and sacred musical heritage of the Neapolitan Composition School of the 18th century. His Italian Opera Acamdemy for young conductors, répétiteurs and singers was born in July 2015 due to the conductor’s desire to devote even more to the training of young musicians. The first edition of the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy took place at Teatro Alighieri in Ravenna. with the purpose of passing on to young musicians MUTI’s experience and teachings and to make the audience understand in all its complexity the journey that leads to the realization of an opera. While the first Academy focused on Falstaff , in the next years Maestro chose to work on La Traviata (in Ravenna and Seoul, 2016), Aida (2017), Macbeth (2018), Le nozze di Figaro (2019), Rigoletto for the first Italian Opera Academy in Tokyo in March 2019, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci (2020).

Currently, Muti is teaching the second edition of Italian Opera Academy in Tokyo, focused on Verdi’s Macbeth, followed by two performances on April 19th and 21st of the Verdian title, with the Italian singers Anastasia Bartoli (Lady Macbeth), Luca Micheletti (Macbeth – debut) & Riccardo Zanellato (Banco) as the protagonist.


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Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


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