La Scala's Orchestra Begins North American Debut Tour with Riccardo Chailly

Classic Arts News   La Scala's Orchestra Begins North American Debut Tour with Riccardo Chailly
For all of the renown Milan's Teatro alla Scala has attained over the past century or so, not many music fans on this side of the Atlantic know that the opera house's orchestra has a considerable reputation of its own. No less a conductor than Claudio Abbado (then La Scala's music director) established the pit band as a concert ensemble, the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, in 1982.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Filarmonica is making its debut tour of North America this month, beginning today with a concert in metro Detroit, followed by performances in Chicago, Urbana (Illinois), Toronto, metro Washington, Philadelphia and New York City.

Riccardo Chailly will conduct the orchestra in repertoire from the opera house, concert stage and even silver screen: Rossini's William Tell Overture, Respighi's Pines of Rome and Fountains of Rome and a suite from Nino Rota's score to the Fellini film La Strada. For five of the eight concerts, tenor Ben Heppner will be on hand to sing Wagner's Wesendonk-Lieder and "Siegmund heiss ich" from Die Walk‹re.

The Filarmonica's gala concert at Carnegie Hall on October 13 will be a benefit, hosted by fashion legend Giorgio Armani, to benefit Friends of FAI, an American foundation which provides resources for the Fondo per l'Ambiente, a privately-run not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the preservation and restoration of some of Italy's most cherished works of art and architecture.

The tour's final concert, a program of orchestral excerpts from classic operas and Respighi's Pines, will be in the Winter Garden at New York's World Financial Center, very near Ground Zero. Milan mayor Letizia Moratti proposed the event as a way to show solidarity with the people of New York. The performance begins at 12 noon on Sunday, October 14; admission is free and open to the public.

The schedule for the Filarmonica della Scala's North American tour is below (with the concerts featuring Heppner marked with an H).

  • October 6 - Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI (H)
  • October 7 - Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL
  • October 8 - Krannert Center, Urbana, IL (H)
  • October 9 - Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, ON (H)
  • October 10 - Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD
  • October 12 - Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA (H)
  • October 13 - Carnegie Hall, New York, NY (H)
  • October 14 - Winter Garden, World Financial Center, New York, NY
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