Muti’s rehearsal promises an intense “Otello”

Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 6:57 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

In his first Chicago podium appearance since last September, Riccardo Muti looked fit and energized leading a CSO rehearsal of Verdi’s “Otello” Tuesday afternoon.

If Tuesday afternoon’s dress rehearsal of Otello is any indication of what to expect at Thursday’s night’s performance, audiences should buckle up for an electrifying night.

In his first Chicago public podium appearance since last September, Riccardo Muti looked lean, fit, and  very energized as he led soloists, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and CSO Chorus in Verdi’s searing operatic drama.

With the hall packed in an open rehearsal for CSO patrons, Muti strode out, casually waved to the audience, turned to face the orchestra, gave a quick downbeat and a massive sonic blast of the opening chord of Verdi’s penultimate opera rocked the house.

Muti didn’t stop the orchestra at all through the first act, leading a strong propulsive reading with characteristic command and easy authority. All of the soloists sounded superb with none of the singers marking.

Riccardo Muti leads soloists and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a concert version of Verdi’s Otello 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday at Orchestra Hall.; 312-294-3000.

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