Author: Francesco Meli

IL TROVATORE IN MILAN

Whenever I sing Verdi I’m happy and even more so when it comes to performing as Manrico! From February 6th to 29th I’ll be singing in the wonderful production of Il Trovatore which director Alvis Hermanis has set in a picture gallery. It’s a co-production by Teatro alla Scala and Salzburger Festspiele and I’ve already had the honour of singing as Manrico in the 2014 staging in Salzburg.

Then as now, I think this is a truly unique production and I feel honoured to take part in it alongside excellent colleagues and under conductor Maestro Luisotti.

I’m also grateful to La Scala for the opportunity to sing there again this season, just one month after its inauguration with Tosca and in one of my signature roles.

Ph. Marco Brescia & Rudy Amisano

VERDI REQUIEM

“Ingemisco tamquam reus,

Culpa rubet vultus meus,

Supplicanti, supplicanti parce, deus.”

I cannot think of a more intense prayer or more pervasive music than this composed by Verdi: Ingemisco, from the Requiem which I sang on January 13th at the Musikverein in Vienna with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Wiener Singverein conducted by Maestro Riccardo Muti. With me were other wonderful colleagues, Krassimira Stoyanova, Daniela Barcellona and Riccardo Zanellato.

 

CAVARADOSSI AT LA SCALA

This has been an exciting Tosca and on January 8th I said goodbye to my character Cavaradossi after two months in his company. We rehearsed, studied and performed in a fantastic atmosphere, immersed in Davide Livermore’s staging and fully aware of how exceptional this production was. It was an honour to open the 2019/2020 season at La Scala, to be conducted by M° Riccardo Chailly and to sing with colleagues like Anna Netrebko, Saioa Hernandez and Luca Salsi. Bravo to the Orchestra and to the Chorus prepared by chorus master Bruno Casoni!

I won’t have to wait long before having the pleasure of singing here again: I’m Manrico in Il Trovatore, on stage at La Scala from February 6th to March 6th.

Ernani in France

Ernani has been an important opera in my career and my character embodies all the features of the belcanto tenor and the romantic hero, yet with all the force of Verdi’s composition. I am captivated by the beauty of this music and the immense power of its melodies. A world of amorous passion, alive with action and the feelings of iron determination seen in the fatal oath which brings death, conspiracy, pride and dignity, all revolve around the third act chorus, Si ridesti il Leon di Castiglia. It is a challenge that I am always happy to take up.

I have brought Ernani to the stage several times since 2013, starting with the unforgettable debut at the Rome Opera conducted by Riccardo Muti, with Tatiana Serjan, Luca Salsi and Ildar Abdrazakov in full creative flow. The most recent performance was last year at La Scala conducted by Ádám Fischer, again with Ildar and Luca and with Aylin Pérez as Elvira. In between, I have fond memories of other productions, at the Met with Placido Domingo and Angela Meade conducted by James Levine, in Marseilles with Ludovic Tézier and at a Salzburg Festival in a concert performance, again conducted by Muti.

It is a pleasure to be back in this role, once again as a concert performance, which in this more than other operas helps bring to the fore the music itself, almost freeing it from the acting which can be extremely intricate and weighty. We will have a young Italian conductor, Daniele Rustioni, whom I hold in great esteem. I will be singing alongside Carmen Giannattasio, Amartuvshin Enkhbat and Roberto Tagliavini.

Being Ernani in France, in Lyon, Paris and Vichy, will be a tribute to the vivid imagination of another of the great Romantics, Victor Hugo. It was from his Hernani that Francesco Maria Piave drew inspiration for the libretto which captivated Verdi.

VERDI OPERA GALA!

It is with great joy that I’m back in Piacenza after the success of Gioconda in 2018. A Verdi Gala like this one, on stage at the Teatro Municipale on October 25th and 27th, is uncommon in Italian theatres and, to my mind, very intriguing, offering three acts from three different operas, complete with scenery and costumes. What a thrill! What a challenge, too, musically and emotionally, all on the same evening to be Gabriele Adorno, Radamès and Otello, my first time in this last role. It will be a personal journey deep inside Verdi’s composition, the dramaturgical power of his operas and the poignant beauty of his vocality in this Piacenza theatre which is so dear to me and a place of friendship more than of work.

CAVARADOSSI AT LA SCALA!

At last I can announce that I’m going to be Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca which will inaugurate the 2019/2020 season at La Scala in Milan. My amazing colleagues, Anna Netrebko as Tosca and Luca Salsi as Scarpia, and I will be conducted by Maestro Riccardo Chailly in a new production by Davide Livermore, with stage sets by Giò Forma and costumes by Gianluca Falaschi.

That makes four operas which I’ll be singing in at La Scala this season (Tosca, Il Trovatore, La Gioconda and La Traviata). It’s a unique honour which fills me with pride.

We’ll be on stage from December 7th 2019 to January 8th 2020, with a live tv broadcast on Rai 1 for the opening night on the day of Patron Saint, St. Ambrose.

 

(Photo by Marcello Orselli: my first Cavaradossi at the Carlo Felice in Genoa, 2016)

 

Verdi Requiem at the Salzburg Festival: proud to take part in this magnificent production

My magnificent year with the Verdi Requiem conducted by Maestro Riccardo Muti will culminate with the three concerts to be held at the Salzburg Festival on August 13th, 15th and 17th. With the Wiener Philharmoniker and my amazing colleagues Anita Rachvelishvili, Krassimira Stoyanova e Ildar Abdrazakov, alongside the Vienna State Opera Chorus we will be performing to commemorate Herbert von Karajan who died on July 16th 1989.

It is an immense honour for me to be singing again in Salzburg on such a prestigious occasion and to be performing Verdi under the baton of Riccardo Muti.

Tickets are all sold out!

My summer masterclass

The young opera singers who attended the masterclass which I held at Palazzo Pesce at Mola di Bari have performed in a concert which was appreciated by a large audience. Working with them has been an intense, revitalizing experience: I wish them the best of luck for their professional and artistic goals.

 

Trovatore in Madrid

Dearest friends,

I’m just back from Madrid where I sang as Manrico in a new production of the opera Il Trovatore by Francisco Negrín. With Maestro Maurizio Benini conducting the wonderful orchestra and chorus of the Teatro Real, I shared the stage with other outstanding colleagues, Ludovic Tézier as Conte di Luna, Maria Agresta in the role of Eleonora and Ekaterina Semenchuk as Azucena. It was all so intense, on stage and backstage, and I would like to thank everyone for this!

(I admit that I love summer productions when schools close and my children Giovanni and Leonardo can join me at the theatre, as they did this time, staying with me in Madrid until the end.)

The triumphant Aida…

“For more than 40 years, Riccardo Muti has been the king of Verdi conductors, the one who most makes you feel you are hearing the composer’s operas for the very first time” (The New York Times). Through his tenure as music director, Muti has conducted highly acclaimed CSO performances of Verdi operas, including a landmark presentation of Falstaff in 2016. The maestro now leads a concert performance of Verdi’s grandest opera, the triumphant Aida, featuring a spectacular cast of international singers and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.”

My friends, there’s nothing to add to this introduction of our “Aida event” by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra itself! I’m full of pride and ready to perform my Radamès in such regal surroundings. In Chicago on June 21st, 23rd and 25th.

 

(The photo by Monika Ritterhaus was taken during the curtain call after Aida at the 2017 Salzburg Festival)