Showcase January-February 2015 - page 47

Roberto Abbado
, conductor
Roberto Abbado is well known to
Twin Cities audiences for his many
appearances with the Minnesota
Orchestra dating to Sommerfest 1995,
when he conducted Verdi’s
La Traviata
and as an artistic partner of the Saint
Paul Chamber Orchestra, a post he has
held since 2005.
Abbado, an esteemed opera
conductor, led productions of Rossini’s
Maometto II
at Teatro dell’Opera in Rome
and Wagner’s
at Teatro Comunale
in Bologna, as well as a concert version
of Donizetti’s
La favorite
at the Salzburg
Festival. Among the orchestras he
has recently led are Italy’s Orchestra
Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai, Maggio
Musicale Fiorentino, San Francisco
Symphony, New World Symphony and
Atlanta Symphony.
New music, honors:
Abbado has led
many modern works, including the world
premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s opera
at the Teatro alla Scala. He was honored
in both 2009 and 2012 with the Franco
Abbiati Prize of the National Association
of Italian Music Critics.
Of interest:
He is part of a musical
dynasty that includes the famed
conductor Claudio Abbado, his uncle.
Julianna Di Giacomo
, soprano
American soprano Julianna Di Giacomo,
now welcomed for her Minnesota
Orchestra debut, has earned a reputation
as one of today’s most exciting young
lyrica-spinto sopranos.
Her additional notable debuts
this season are at the San Francisco Opera,
where she sings Amelia in Verdi’s
Un Ballo
in Maschera
, and the Teatro di San Carlo
in Naples, singing the title role in
, also by Verdi. She also pays return
visits to Italy’s Petruzzelli e Teatri di Bari
as Madame Lidoine in Poulenc’s
des Carmelites
, the Israel Philharmonic for
Un Ballo in Maschera
and the University
Musical Society in Ann Arbor for
She has performed with
the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles
Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic
and Los Angeles Opera, and at the
Caramoor International Music Festival.
In Europe she has appeared with the
Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin’s
German Symphony Orchestra, and at
such venerable opera houses as La Scala
in Milan, Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera and
Madrid’s Teatro Real.
one-minute note
Verdi: Requiem
Verdi was primarily a composer of operas, and his theatrical bent is very present in this unusual Requiem mass.
In place of quiet reverence, in place of grief expressed through ceremonial chants, this Requiem offers heart-
rending drama that would be at home on the operatic stage.
These qualities were intentional. Verdi wrote his Requiem in honor of a man he considered “one of the glories of
Italy”—the poet, novelist and patriot Alessandro Manzoni, who died in 1873. To salute this beloved national hero,
Verdi created a concert piece for the masses, with music that embraces the Latin mass for the dead not as ritual,
but as poetry.
Anke Vondung
, mezzo
German mezzo Anke Vondung has a
distinguished performing career on the
great opera stages of Europe and the
Americas. In addition, she has appeared
with many major orchestras, including
the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She
debuted with this Orchestra in 2003, as a
soloist in Mendelssohn’s
Her engagements have included
appearances at the Staatsoper Dresden
and Opera House Palermo, as well as
concerts in Lisbon, Porto, Berlin and at
the Herrenchiemsee Festival. Last season
she sang the lead rule of Dulcinea in San
Diego Opera’s production of Massenet’s
alongside bass Ferruccio Furlanetto.
Vondung has performed in many
of the world’s major opera houses and
festivals, including the Metropolitan
Opera in New York, Théâtre du Châtelet
in Paris, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin,
Staatsoper Dresden, Salzburg Festival,
Glyndebourne Opera Festival and Munich
Opera Festival. For three years she was
a member of the Semperoper Dresden,
where she is now a guest artist.
Among her awards is first
prize in the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
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