Riccardo Muti: art and culture can help heal a world devastated by the pandemic

Riccardo Muti: art and culture can help heal a world devastated by the pandemic

There is joy in Riccardo Muti’s voice.

The maestro, music director and conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 2010, is most delighted to be back again in the city, he suggests, returning to reside music performances at Orchestra Corridor for the initially time since February 2020.

The return began two weeks ago with Muti and the CSO kicking off the orchestra’s 2021 tumble residency, which ends this weekend with three performances starting Thursday night time.

“The simple fact that the orchestra right here is reunited immediately after 19 months is one thing of relevance not only to the orchestra by itself and the musicians who have when all over again located their musical spouse and children, but for the general public as nicely, who can come [once again to the concerts],” Muti claims all through a current chat. “Many periods governments shut theaters as well early and also simply.”

Muti is referring to the pandemic shutdown of all theaters and cultural sights starting in March 2020 that devastated the leisure market. It is not a thing he endured evenly, but Muti was vocal even back then about the want to return to stay general performance in some potential. And he did just that, executing in his adopted hometown of Ravenna, Italy, and later in Vienna, Austria, on New Year’s Eve.

A rebel shift? Maybe, but Muti claims it was one thing the world required during the darkest days of the pandemic, which is still taking the life of persons across the globe.

“This fact that, in virtually the entire earth, theaters have remained vacant, orchestras have been minimized to silence, is one thing that has by no means been witnessed prior to,” he explained to the Associated Push in May possibly.

For his European live shows, Muti and the several orchestras and choruses had been examined daily and social distancing on phase was adhered to. He claims there ended up no described cases of COVID as a final result from any of the performances, the the greater part of which ended up open up-air. (The New Year’s Eve live performance was presented devoid of an viewers, and the orchestra was masked for the overall effectiveness per COVID protocols in location at the time in Vienna.)

“During the pandemic, physicians recover the physique, which was and is the most vital point,” Muti explains. “To preserve as several lives as feasible is the most important point. But the virus killed the financial state, far too, all-around the globe. That’s no cause it ought to destroy the culture. … There have been quite a few conversations about the possibility to however have live shows, to have theater, for the duration of the pandemic mainly because that’s the medicine for your brain, for your soul, for your coronary heart.

The Sept. 12 concert featured Riccardo Muti conducting the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Choir in a program of music inspired by Dante’s “The Divine Comedy.” | © Silvia Lelli

Riccardo Muti conducts the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Choir in a application of music impressed by Dante’s “The Divine Comedy” in September in Ravenna, Italy.
© Silvia Lelli

“… That was the motive I reported we have to do new music, but not in a superficial way,” he continues, “but with regard for the procedures and regulations.”

Even though he and the CSO were separated by an ocean and a pandemic for about a calendar year, Muti suggests they remained in call at all occasions, occasionally by way of digital music performances.

“I stayed in make contact with with the musicians, in some cases with movie, occasionally we talked on the cellphone. A lot of situations the musicians despatched musical homages. So I was never ever divided from my orchestra. We by no means truly lost contact. By the time [I returned], in concept I experienced been here all the time,” he says with a chuckle. “If as a new music director you have a amazing connection with your musicians, you are like a father to them. I can be like a grandfather, contemplating my age. [Laughs]. It was a festive environment and it was obvious the musicians had been eager to perform alongside one another at the time once again.”

Riccardo Muti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic, the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Choir, Rosa Feola (soprano), Alisa Kolosova (contralto), Dmitry Korchak (tenor) and Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis at the the August 2021 Salzburg Festival. © SF / Marco Borrelli

Riccardo Muti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic, the Concert Affiliation of the Vienna Point out Opera Choir, Rosa Feola (soprano), Alisa Kolosova (contralto), Dmitry Korchak (tenor) and Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis at the the August 2021 Salzburg Pageant.
© SF / Marco Borrelli

Muti’s selection for the season’s opening program: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55, “Eroica (Heroic).”

“It was my option because of the title — an homage to the all the musicians, to the public who had lost the possibility to hear a excellent orchestra, and to all the persons who dropped their life during this pandemic.

“Now we need to return to normality. Piano, piano (bit by bit, little by little) we are likely back to normality, to the elegance of tunes, artwork and tradition.”