Muti conducted arias from Verdi's La forza del destino and Don Carlo, as well as the Stabat Mater and Te Deum from Verdi's Quattro pezzi sacri with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; soloists included soprano Barbara Frittoli, mezzo Sonia Ganassi and bass Ferruccio Furlanetto.
According to Madrid's La Raz‹n, the new venue, about 41 km northwest of the capital, took five years to build and cost approximately €65 million. Designed by Jos_ Luis Tamayo, the building is constructed with granite and has a 1,200-seat main hall and a 300-seat chamber music hall.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial is famous for its Royal Monastery and Palace, which were built between 1563 and 1584 at the command of King Philip II. The complex, a major tourist draw which attracts many day-trippers from Madrid, houses a museum containing masterworks by Titian, Tintoretto, El Greco and Velšzquez, among others.
The inaugural Festival de San Lorenzo de El Escorial runs until August 1 and includes opera, ballet and zarzuela. The lineup includes, among others, the English Baroque Soloists, the Monteverdi Choir and John Eliot Gardiner performing Mozart's Requiem; Mozart's Magic Flute directed by Daniele Abbado with Colin Davis leading the London Symphony Orchestra; Christoph Eschenbach leading the Orchestre de Paris in Wagner's Siegfried, and the Royal Ballet (Covent Garden) performing Romeo and Juliet.
During the concert a minute of silence was observed in honor of the victims of the July 3 train derailment in Valencia. Post-concert celebrations were also suspended, according to La Raz‹n.