Fabio Luisi Heads Back to U.S. for Concerts with Cleveland Orchestra (March 12–14) Before Returning to Metropolitan Opera in April

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Fabio Luisi Heads Back to U.S. for Concerts with Cleveland Orchestra (March 12–14) Before Returning to Metropolitan Opera in April


Following two winter productions at the Zurich Opera, where he is currently serving in his third season as General Music Director, Grammy Award-winner Fabio Luisi returns to the U.S. for appearances in both the concert hall and the opera house this spring. Back at the Cleveland Orchestra for the second consecutive season, the distinguished Italian conductor leads performances of Cobalt, Scarlet: Two Colors of Dawn by his compatriot Luca Francesconi alongside works by Liszt and Beethoven (March 12–14). These concerts preface Luisi’s return to New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where – now in his fourth season as Principal Conductor – he resumes the podium for two new productions. The first is the premiere of David McVicar’s treatment of a popular double bill, Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (April 14–May 8), which will be shown “Live in HD” on April 25. Next follows an original staging of Lehár’s operetta The Merry Widow from Broadway sensation Susan Stroman; after its fall debut, the production returns with Susan Graham in the title role (April 24–May 7). While in New York, Luisi also conducts the Grand Finals concert of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (March 22), which has been dubbed “the most visible competition in America” (New York Times).


To continue his celebrated partnership with the Cleveland Orchestra, Luisi leads Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, dubbed “the apotheosis of the dance” by no less a figure than Richard Wagner; Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto, with captivating French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist; and a work by contemporary Italian composer Luca Francesconi (b.1956). Luisi explains how and why he came to select Cobalt, Scarlet: Two Colors of Dawn:


“I asked the orchestra if I could program a work by a contemporary Italian composer, and, happily, they agreed. After doing some research, and reviewing several scores, I chose this work by Luca Francesconi. This composer, a student of Berio and Stockhausen, writes orchestral music that is rich in fantasy. With its tension, color and energy, his music is immediately appealing to audiences. This will be the first time that I conduct Cobalt, Scarlet: Two Colors of Dawn, and it is the first time that the orchestra will be playing this composer’s music.”


It was in November 2011 that Luisi made his auspicious debut with the Cleveland Orchestra, in a program of Richard Strauss tone poems and a Mozart piano concerto. Cleveland’s Plain Dealer described the immediate chemistry that developed between conductor and orchestra:


“Why certain conductors rise to the top and others don’t isn’t always clear. In the case of Fabio Luisi, however, the hype appears to be justified. … Here was an artist of true distinction, an interpreter in possession of a bold, unique and clearly discernible voice. … How Luisi and the Cleveland Orchestra would sound in other areas of the repertoire is tantalizing to imagine.”


Their partnership continued last fall, when Luisi launched the orchestra’s new season with a program pairing Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with Mahler’s Fourth Symphony.


Earlier this season in New York

Luisi’s most recent appearances at the Metropolitan Opera took place in the fall, when he led the company’s hit revival of Adrian Noble’s Macbeth – the vehicle for Anna Netrebko’s spectacular American role debut as Verdi’s notorious anti-heroine. The New York Times pronounced Luisi’s conducting “distinguished and authoritative,” the New Yorker deemed it “incisive,” and the Wall Street Journal observed: “Luisi, a consummate interpreter of Verdi, led a crisp, rhythmic performance.” The New York Classical Review marveled: “Luisi led a thrilling performance from the pit, weaving spooky atmospheres and wringing every drop of drama from the score.” All told, as Bloomberg concluded, the conductor’s contribution to the production “couldn’t have been better.”


While in New York, Luisi also crossed the plaza at Lincoln Center for his first performances with the Juilliard Orchestra, a jubilant collaboration that left one New York Times critic “with a grin that lingered”; as the review continued, “Led by the conductor Fabio Luisi, the young players of the Juilliard Orchestra infused Wagner, Mozart and Schumann with zealous excitement, physical enthusiasm and, most important, smiles.” As for the concert’s closer, the Times critic reported,


“Schumann still suffers a reputation for stodgy orchestration, and I expected Mr. Luisi’s talent for clarity to help in the First Symphony (the ‘Spring’). It did, but the orchestra also delivered blistering immediacy of response, alive with attack and full of tension in the first movement, spontaneously rustic in the scherzo.”




Fabio Luisi: upcoming engagements


March 12 & 14

Cleveland Orchestra

Luca Francesconi: Cobalt, Scarlet: Two Colors of Dawn

Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano)

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7


March 13

Cleveland Orchestra

Luca Francesconi: Cobalt, Scarlet: Two Colors of Dawn

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7


March 22

Metropolitan Opera

National Council Auditions Grand Finals concert


April 14, 18, 21, 25, 29; May 2, 5 & 8

Metropolitan Opera

Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana / Leoncavallo: Pagliacci


April 24, 27, 30 & May 7

Metropolitan Opera

Lehár: The Merry Widow


June 1, 6, 8, 14, 20, 23, 25 & 28

Dutch National Opera

Berg: Lulu


June 21, 24, 27, 30; July 5, 7, 9 & 12

Zurich Opera

Bellini: I Capuleti e i Montecchi


July 12

Philharmonia Zurich

Berg: Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 4 (with Lise de la Salle, piano)

Schoenberg: Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5









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© 21C Media Group, February 2015


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