Veni, Vidi, Verdi: Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti Celebrate the Composer's Bicentennial

By Louise Burton on Sep 16, 2013 11:06 PM EDT

This season of notable composer anniversaries continues with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's tribute to Verdi's 200th anniversary over the next four weeks, starting with their season-opening concert at Symphony Center on Thursday.

Music Director Riccardo Muti, considered to be the greatest living interpreter of Verdi's music, will lead the CSO in ballet music from Verdi's opera Macbeth and the overture to La Forza del Destino, as well as Brahms' Symphony No. 2 and a Johann Strauss overture.

Symphony Ball, the CSO's annual gala on September 21, will feature an all-Verdi program of overtures, arias and incidental music from Verdi operas.

The orchestra will present the full version of Verdi's Macbeth in a concert staging on September 28 and October 1, 4 and 6, with the CSO Chorus and a cast of vocal soloists including baritone Luca Salsi as Macbeth, soprano Tatiana Serjan as Lady Macbeth and tenor Francesco Meli as Macduff.

The culmination of the CSO's bicentennial tribute will occur on October 10, Verdi's 200th birthday, with a performance of the composer's Requiem Mass at Symphony Center. The concert is sold out, but a free webcast of the concert will be shown on the main screen of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. The video will also be streamed live at and on the CSO's Facebook page. This event marks the CSO's first venture into live webcasting.

More information about Verdi 200 events is available HERE.

Having composed more than two dozen operas, Verdi, himself, is considered to be a master of expression--an expert at portraying passionate characters, adept at creating dramatic scenes.

Muti recently addressed the perception among some listeners that Verdi's music is simple: "Mahler was a great admirer of Verdi. He considered the scores of Verdi, even the early scores, to be perfectly written. Verdi is a very, very difficult composer. The fact that his melodies are so simple, sometimes, does not mean that they are easy."

Muti also said, "Verdi's music is able to express the deepest and most complex situations in just a single phrase or sometimes even with just two notes. To be so simple and so deep at the same time is very difficult. He expresses feelings that the entire world can understand."

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TagsChicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, Giuseppe Verdi, Symphony Center, Macbeth, Requiem, Millennium Park, La Forza del Destino, Brahms, Strauss

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