Thursday, January 28, 2010


Will the CSO, after fifty-plus years as a Wagner orchestra, switch their allegiance? One of the four programs announced by the orchestra for next season is a concert version of Verdi's Otello, conducted by Muti. The CSO has played barely any Wagner since Barenboim left, with just the odd overture or prelude, and no actual opera excerpts. Muti is not particularly known for conducting Wagner, and I doubt we will see any concert performances of Die Walküre in his tenure (though there's usually one Wagner opera per year across town at Lyric--Lohengrin next season). I'm not sure if Verdi will satisfy the CSO low brass players' needs, although they manage to figure out how to play loudly for pretty much any composer. Wagner and deep dish pizza kind of go together in my head when I think of Chicago, but we've actually had a lot more performances of Shostakovich and Stravinsky in the past few years. I suppose I can get my Götterdämmerung somewhere else; Giordano's, though, is another story.

According to ArkivMusik, Otello is the only full Verdi opera the CSO has recorded, in 1991 with Solti. Twenty years later, will CSO Resound decide it's time for another go?

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