Fall Classic & Opera Program Notes in Florence

Orchestra della Toscana

The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino had its beginning in 1928 as the Orchestra Stabile Fiorentino under the guidance of conductor Vittorio Gui at the Teatro Comunale. This fall sees the celebration of the 90th anniversary of this historical organization. The festivities begin on October 4 at the Teatro del MMF with the Symphony n.2, ‘Resurrection’ by Gustav Mahler. The composition of this symphony took many years, and finally had its premiere in 1895 in Berlin, conducted by Mahler himself. Fabio Luisi will lead the orchestra and chorus of the Maggio Musicale with Valentina Farcas and Veronica Simeoni as the vocal soloists.

The 2018-19 opera season will begin on October 16 (repeat performances on Oct. 20, 25 and 28) with a double bill of Le Villi by Giacomo Puccini and Ehi Giò by Vittorio Montalti (opera dedicated to Rossini in a world premier), conducted by Marco Angius with staging by Francesco Saponaro and choreography by the Compagnia Nuovo BallettO di ToscanA.

Le Villi was Puccini’s first opera and was premiered in Milan in 1884 when the composer was 26 years old. The libretto by Ferdinando Fontana was inspired by the ancient Slavic legend of the Willis, fantastical creatures representing the souls of young women who were the victims of love.

Young Italian composer Vittorio Montalti (b. 1984) composed his opera Ehi Gio’ – Vivere e sentire del grande Rossini in 2016. The work, composed for one actor, one narrator, three vocalists, ensemble and electronics, depicts Rossini as an old man forced to relive a number of episodes from his legendary life.

The Maggio’s 2018-19 symphonic season will include the symphonies of Schubert and Mahler. Franz Schubert lived only until he was 29 (d. 1828) but left a vast number of works, including seven complete symphonies. On October 19, the cycle continues with Schubert’s Symphony n. 4 in c minor, D. 417 and Mahler’s Symphony n. 6 in D major, both of which bear the title, ‘Tragic.

Mahler’s Symphony n. 9 premiered in Vienna in 1912 and was his final completed symphony. This monumental composition will be performed on October 24.

The next appointment is on October 27 with the ‘Unfinished’ Symphony n.8 in B minor by Schubert. He completed the two existing movements of the work in 1822 but lived for another six years. There has been much speculation as to why he never finished it, but the reason remains a mystery. The second half of the program offers the Symphony n.1 by Mahler, known as the ‘Titan.’ All of these concerts will be conducted by Fabio Luisi. The Mahler and Schubert cycles will continue in 2019.

For more info and tickets, see the Maggio Fiorentino web site.


The Regional Orchestra of Tuscany, known as the ORT, inaugurates its fall season on October 26 at Florence’s Teatro Verdi with the Stabat Mater, for soloists, chorus and orchestra by Gioacchino Rossini. At the age of 37, Rossini decided to retire from his career as an opera composer, having already completed over 30 operas. He, however, did not stop composing and his later works are filled with theatrical drama.

Rossini completed the Stabat Mater in 1841 based on the 13th century Latin hymn attributed to Jacopone da Todi, concerning the Virgin Mary watching Jesus die on the cross. Gianluigi Gelmetti will conduct with singers Angela Nisi, soprano, Raffaella Lupinacci, mezzosoprano, Celso Albelo, tenor and George Andguladze, bass. The ORT will be joined on this occasion by the Maggio Musicale Chorus.

More info about the event can be found on the ORT web site.


Florence’s foremost chamber music series since 1920, the Amici della Musica, offers once again a rich program of over 70 concerts by the finest international and Italian musicians. The program is organized in a series of cycles — Pianists, Bach Odyssey, The World of the String Quartet, Ensembles, The Art of Singing, Debuts, String Virtuosi and Percussionists — designed to appeal to a vast audience.

 The season begins on Oct. 27 with a recital by Rudolf Buchbinder, one of today’s preeminent pianists, having a career that has spanned half a century. The Austrian virtuoso offers an all-Beethoven program including the Sonata n. 57 “Appassionata,” one of his greatest and most technically challenging piano sonatas.

Daniil Trifonov (b.1991) performs on November 2 at the Teatro del Maggio a recital of Beethoven, Schumann and Prokofiev. Winner of multiple prizes, including a Grammy and first prize at both the Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky competitions, this impressive young artist is also a prolific composer.

The complete schedule of the Amici della Musica can be viewed on their website.  (anne lokken)