From Development server
28 January 2016

Fabio Luisi Named as Music Director Designate of Florence's Opera di Firenze and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

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GENOA-BORN CONDUCTOR FABIO LUISI has been named as the new music director designate of Florence’s Opera di Firenze and its annual spring festival, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in what appears to be something of a shakeup at the Tuscan company.  

The position of music director is a new one within Opera di Firenze, and an office that was reportedly created especially for Luisi in an effort to reflect the significant role that he will play in the company's future. Luisi’s appointment was overseen by Florence’s mayor, Dario Nardella, who also serves as the chairman of the Fondazione Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Zubin Mehta, who has served as the company’s principal conductor for the past three decades, will now assume the title of principal conductor emeritus.

Per the terms of his appointment, Luisi—who holds the position of principal conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and is also general music director at Zurich Opera—will lead at least three full operatic productions and numerous symphonic concerts in Florence each season. Luisi will officially assume the position of music director in April 2018, and his contract initially specifies a term of five years. As part of his new responsibilities, Luisi will also collaborate with Opera di Firenze intendant Francesco Bianchi in efforts to raise the company’s global profile with a new touring initiative. In 2011 the company inaugurated a modern, new home, designed by Paolo Desideri, and three years later Bianchi was appointed as the theater’s intendant.

“Florence has the potential as a city to became a major center for classical music, opera productions, symphonic productions, and this potential has increased exponentially with the creation of the new theater a couple of years ago,” Luisi said in a statement issued today. “With the building of this astonishing complex—a big opera house and a perfectly sized concert hall—this is a very important stage in this development. We all know that Italian musical institutions are in a kind of crisis, but I think this is exactly the moment we should show—especially me as an Italian conductor—a commitment to develop these activities and help these institutions come out of this crisis and show new opportunities and perspectives. This is why I have accepted the offer of Mayor Dario Nardella and Intendant Francesco Bianchi to become the new Music Director of Opera di Firenze and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Additionally, Maggio Musicale has a very important history. It was one of the most important festivals in Europe, with connections to all the major artists.  We now have to deepen and strengthen its connections with the major artists of our time—conductors, soloists, singers—and I will work with the artistic administration of this institution to make Opera Firenze and Maggio Musicale become again what they were in the past: one of the most important musical institutions in Europe and in the world.”

Luisi is currently in New York leading Metropolitan Opera performances of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, while also preparing to conduct the Met’s new production of Manon Lescaut, as well as a revival of Le Nozze di Figaro. Currently in his fourth season as general music director of Zurich Opera, Luisi will lead June and July performances of a new production of I Puritani at that house; this season he has already conducted the company’s new production of Wozzeck, and well as revivals of Falstaff, Die Zauberflöte and Tosca. During the current season, Luisi will also tour with the Accademia Teatro alla Scala Orchestra before making return visits to La Scala, Opéra National de Paris, the Filarmonica della Scala, Malaysian Philharmonic, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Teatro Regio di Torino and the Juilliard and Philadelphia Orchestras. 

Luisi was also recently named as the new principal conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra; he will assume the role beginning with the 2017-18 season. spacer 

More information can be found at Opera di Firenze and the Opera News Archives.

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Photo by Barbara Luisi 



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