Performance Friday, April 15, 2011 | 8 PM

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
In February 2010, Muti finally debuted at the Met with Verdi’s Attila in a performance The New York Times called a “revelation.” Now he brings Otello in a concert performance to Carnegie Hall with his Chicago Symphony.


  • Aleksandrs Antonenko, Tenor (Otello)
  • Barbara Di Castri, Mezzo-Soprano (Emilia)
  • Carlo Guelfi, Baritone (Iago)
  • Chicago Children's Choir
  • Chicago Symphony Chorus
    Duain Wolfe, Director
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Riccardo Muti, Music Director and Conductor
  • David Govertsen, Bass (Herald)
  • Eric Owens, Bass-Baritone (Lodovico)
  • Juan Francisco Gatell, Tenor (Cassio)
  • Krassimira Stoyanova, Soprano (Desdemona)
  • Michael Spyres, Tenor (Roderigo)
  • Paolo Battaglia, Bass (Montano)


  • VERDI Otello (Concert Performance)


  • Aleksandrs Antonenko

    Aleksandrs Antonenko has rapidly established a remarkable career at the leading opera houses of the world. He first came to public attention in 2002, when he won the Paul Sakss Award. After winning the Grand Music Prize of Latvia in 2004, he began his international career as one of the most outstanding spinto tenors of the younger generation.

    Mr. Antonenko's numerous recent and current engagements include performances as Giuseppe Hagenbach in La Wally; Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm and the Norske Opera in Oslo; and Sergei in Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District at the Latvian National Opera. During the 2006-2007 season, Mr. Antonenko appeared as Don José in Carmen at the Norske Opera; Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Opéra de Monte-Carlo; and Cavaradossi in Tosca at the Baden-Baden Festival, Oper Frankfurt, and Bayerische Staatsoper. He made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2008, singing the title role in Verdi's Otello under Riccardo Muti, and also sang the role at the Rome Opera. In 2009, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Prince in Rusalka. In 2010, he sang in The Queen of Spades and Otello at the Vienna State Opera, as well as Turiddu in Valencia and Dimitri in Boris Godunov for the Metropolitan Opera.

    Additional engagements include Otello at the Opéra de Paris; Luigi in Il tabarro and Cavaradossi at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Des Grieux at Teatro alla Scala; Samson et Dalila at the Grand Théâtre de Genève; Radames in Aida at the Vienna State Opera and at the Zurich Opera House; Manrico in Il trovatore at the Staatsoper Berlin; Simon Boccanegra at the Semperoper Dresden; and Don José and Pollione in Norma at the Metropolitan Opera.
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  • Barbara Di Castri

    Barbara Di Castri's extensive repertoire includes Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, the Baroness de Champigny in Rota's Il cappello di paglia di Firenze (The Florentine Straw Hat), Garcias in Massenet's Don Quichotte, Ericlea in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, Bradamante in Vivaldi's Orlando, Isaura in Tancredi, Arsace in Semiramide, Kaled in Massenet's Le roi de Lahore, the title role in Carmen, Lola in Cavalleria rusticana, and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, among many others.

    After making her debut as Carmen at the Teatro Pergolesi in Jesi in 2007, Ms. Di Castri sang the Third Lady in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Settimane Musicali di Stresa; appeared as soloist in Mozart's Requiem, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda; and sang Bradamante in Orlando at the Edinburgh International Festival at the invitation of Jean-Christophe Spinosi.

    Ms. Di Castri is regularly invited to perform at many international music festivals, including the recently created Lufthansa Festival in London, where she sang Vivaldi's La senna festeggiante under the baton of Ivor Bolton. She has also performed extensively at the Salzburg Festival, appearing as Emilia in Otello conducted by Riccardo Muti in 2008 and as Marie in Rossini's Moïse et Pharaon in 2009, also with Mr. Muti. Last season, she sang Federica in Verdi's Luisa Miller at the Teatro Regio in Turin.

    Ms. Di Castri studied singing at the Conservatorio di Firenze, graduating in 1996. After attending master classes led by Herbert Handt at the Accademia Italiana di Canto e Musica, she continued her studies with Leone Magiera at the St. Cecilia Music School in Portogruaro and with Alberto Zedda at the Rossini Academy in Pesaro.
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  • Carlo Guelfi

    One of Italy's leading Verdi baritones, Carlo Guelfi has appeared with the world's major opera houses, including Teatro alla Scala, Arena di Verona, and Rome's Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Opera di Roma; in Florence, Bologna, Genoa, Venice, Vienna, Zurich, Munich, and Madrid; and at the Salzburg Festival. Mr. Guelfi made his US debut in 1995 in Verdi's I puritani with the Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall, and he returned to the Hall for Giovanna d'Arco in 1996. In 2000, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Rigoletto at the Met in the Parks series, and he made his house debut in Tosca and Rigoletto the following year.

    Other career highlights include Simon Boccanegra in Venice, his debut in Genoa in Andrea Chénier, Il trovatore in Tokyo, Aida in Bologna, Ezio in Verdi's Attila with the Paris Opera and in Florence, La battaglia di Legnano with the Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall, Falstaff in Lisbon, and Simon Boccanegra under Claudio Abbado at Florence's May Festival. Engagements in recent seasons include Macbeth in Florence; Aida in Chicago, Florence, Rome, and at La Scala; Un ballo in maschera in Houston, Bologna, Zurich, and Vienna; Luisa Miller at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Otello at the Met and in Naples and Florence; Simon Boccanegra at the Verbier Festival; La Gioconda in Verona and Barcelona; Tosca at La Scala; Andrea Chénier in Bologna and Tokyo; and Rigoletto at the Met.

    In 2008-2009, Mr. Guelfi returned to La Scala as Scarpia, to the Met as Iago, and to the Arena di Verona as Amonasro in Aida. Last season's appearances included Rodrigo in Florence, Amonasro at the Met, and Iago with Cincinnati Opera. His current engagements include Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci in Zurich, and La Gioconda in Palermo.

    Mr. Guelfi's recordings include Il tabarro, Tosca, Il trovatore, Otello, and Ernani. A recital of Italian arias is scheduled for release later this year. On DVD, he appears in Pagliacci, Simon Boccanegra, Andrea Chénier, and La Gioconda.
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  • Chicago Children's Choir

    Founded in 1956 during the Civil Rights Movement, the Chicago Children's Choir is a multiracial, multicultural, choral music education organization that shapes the future by making a difference in the lives of children and youth through musical excellence. The choir currently serves 2,700 children, ages eight to 18, through choirs in 40 schools, after-school programs in eight Chicago neighborhoods, and the internationally acclaimed Concert Choir. Under President and Artistic Director Josephine Lee, the choir has performed many successful national and international tours, received a Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award, and has been featured in nationally broadcast television and radio performances. As a nonprofit organization, the choir raises close to $1.5 million each year to keep programs affordable to all Chicago families regardless of their financial situation. As a national and international touring ensemble, the choir has performed throughout the US, Canada, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Korea, Japan, and Europe, as well as for numerous dignitaries and celebrities. The choir has four studio recordings available from, iTunes, and

    Josephine Lee has served as Artistic Director of the Chicago Children's Choir since 1999, and was appointed President in 2010. Through her vision and leadership, the choir has become a civic treasure and cultural icon. In addition to regular local performances and appearances on national radio and television broadcasts, Ms. Lee and the choir perform for dignitaries and audiences around the world. As an orchestral conductor, Ms. Lee has appeared with the Chicago, Lyric Opera, Grant Park, and Oregon symphonies. She received a bachelor's degree in piano performance from DePaul University under Dmitry Paperno, and a master's degree in conducting from Northwestern University. In 2002, Chorus America named Ms. Lee the first Robert Shaw Conducting Fellow and, in 2006, the Chicago Tribune named her a Chicagoan of the Year in the Arts.
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  • Chicago Symphony Chorus

    Now in its 53rd season, the critically acclaimed Chicago Symphony Chorus has been led by Conductor and Chorus Director Duain Wolfe since 1994. Following successful collaborations with Riccardo Muti in recent seasons, the chorus has played a key role in Mr. Muti's inaugural season as Music Director. This season, the chorus has performed Berlioz's Lélio, Janáček's Glagolitic Mass, and Mendelssohn's Elijah, as well as the holiday Welcome Yule! concerts. Additional recent highlights include Bach's St. John Passion with Bernard Labadie, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in celebration of Bernard Haitink's four-year tenure as Principal Conductor. In 2007-2008, the chorus celebrated its 50th-anniversary season.

    The chorus's discography includes many hallmarks of the choral repertoire, including Beethoven's Missa solemnis, Bach's B-Minor Mass, Brahms's German Requiem, and Orff's Carmina burana. The chorus is featured on several recordings on the CSO Resound label; the recent recording of Verdi's Requiem under Riccardo Muti received a Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, the chorus's 10th win in that category.

    The history of the Chicago Symphony Chorus goes back to 1957, when music director Fritz Reiner invited Margaret Hillis to establish a chorus on a par with the quality of the orchestra. The new ensemble soon achieved an international reputation, with concerts in Chicago and tours in the United States and abroad.

    Appointed director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus in 1994, Duain Wolfe succeeded Margaret Hillis in leading America's premier professional symphonic chorus. He has prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus for over 100 programs in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival, as well as for 11 commercially recorded works. Mr. Wolfe also directs choral and orchestral works at the Aspen Music Festival and the Berkshire Choral Festival. He is Director of the Colorado Symphony Chorus (which he founded in 1984) and guest director of choruses for the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Canada; in addition, he serves as both creative director and conductor of the CSO's popular Welcome Yule! holiday concerts, and has conducted numerous CSO education concerts.

    In 1974, Mr. Wolfe founded the Colorado Children's Chorale, a nationally recognized children's chorus that he directed and conducted for 25 years, and served as conductor of the Central City Opera Festival for 30 years, where he also created and directed the young artists program and opera-in-schools program. His numerous awards include an honorary doctorate and Chicago a cappella's Tribute Award in 2008. He is past chairman of the board of Chorus America.
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  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra

    A musical force in Chicago and around the world, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been consistently hailed as one of the finest international orchestras since it was founded in 1891. In September 2010, renowned Italian conductor Riccardo Muti became the CSO's 10th Music Director. His vision for the orchestra-to deepen its engagement with the Chicago community, to nurture its legacy while supporting a new generation of musicians, and to collaborate with visionary artists-signals a new era for the institution. French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, whose longstanding relationship with the CSO led to his appointment as principal guest conductor in 1995, was named Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus in 2006.

    In collaboration with renowned conductors and guest artists on the international music scene, the CSO performs well over 150 concerts each year at its home, Symphony Center, and in summer residency at the Ravinia Festival. With the launch of The Institute for Learning, Access and Training, the CSO engages more than 200,000 Chicago-area residents annually. Music lovers outside Chicago enjoy the sounds of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra not only through its Chicago Symphony Orchestra Radio Broadcast Series and best-selling recordings on its acclaimed in-house record label CSO Resound, but also through sold-out tour performances in the United States and around the globe. Since 1971, the CSO has undertaken 36 overseas tours, including 27 to Europe, six to the Far East, and one each to Russia, Australia, and South America. Bank of America is the global sponsor of the CSO. Visit for more information.

    Riccardo Muti

    Born in Naples, world-renowned conductor Riccardo Muti first came to the attention of critics and the public in 1967, when he won the Guido Cantelli Competition for conductors in Milan. In 1971, he was invited by Herbert von Karajan to conduct at the Salzburg Festival; his association with both the festival and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra continues today. Mr. Muti has served as principal conductor of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, chief conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Teatro alla Scala. In 2006, he was appointed Artistic Director of Salzburg's Pentecost Festival, and he currently serves as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a post he assumed in September 2010. Mr. Muti was awarded his first two Grammy Awards for his debut recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Verdi's Requiem, released on the CSO Resound label in September 2010.

    Mr. Muti has demonstrated social and civic conscience as an artist through concerts in numerous locations symbolizing the world's troubled past and contemporary history, which he has conducted as part of the Ravenna Festival's Le vie dell'Amicizia (The Paths of Friendship) project. These have included performances in L'Aquila, Sarajevo, Beirut, Jerusalem, Moscow, Yerevan, Istanbul, New York, Cairo, Damascus, and El Djem. In July 2010 in Trieste, Italy, he organized an orchestra of more than 650 young musicians from Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia for a Concert for Friendship before a crowd numbering more than 10,000, including the presidents of those three countries in acknowledgement of their commitment to building a future of cooperation.

    In 2004, Mr. Muti founded the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, which consists of young musicians selected by an international committee from some 600 Italian instrumentalists. In May 2007, he began a five-year project dedicated to the Neapolitan School of the 18th Century with the Cherubini Orchestra as part of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

    Innumerable honors have been bestowed on Riccardo Muti over the course of his career. He has been made a Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Italian Republic and has received the Verdienstkreuz from Germany; recently, he received the decoration of Officer of the Legion of Honor from French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a private ceremony held at Élysée Palace. He also was made an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. The Salzburg Mozarteum awarded him its silver medal for his contribution to Mozart's music, and in Vienna he has been elected an honorary member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle, and the Wiener Staatsoper. President Vladimir Putin of Russia awarded him the Order of Friendship, and the State of Israel has honored him with the Wolf Prize for the arts. In March 2011, he was selected as the second-ever winner of the Birgit Nilsson Prize. Visit for more information.
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  • David Govertsen

    Chicago native David Govertsen recently completed his second summer as an apprentice at Santa Fe Opera, and returns to Northwestern University to finish a master's degree. At Santa Fe, he covered Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, sang King Basilio in the workshop premiere of Lewis Spratlan's Life is a Dream, performed as soloist in Mozart's Requiem with the Santa Fe Symphony, and joined the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival for a concert of Bach arias and duets.

    At Northwestern, he has performed Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Sarastro, Beaumarchais in The Ghosts of Versailles, and Frank Maurrant in Street Scene. This season, he sings Handel's Messiah with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra and Simone in Gianni Schicchi for DuPage Opera Theatre. Next season, Mr. Govertsen joins the Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago.
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  • Eric Owens

    American bass-baritone Eric Owens holds a unique place in the contemporary opera world as both an esteemed interpreter of classic works and as a champion of new music. Mr. Owens opened the Metropolitan Opera's 2010-2011 season as Alberich in Das Rheingold in a new production by Robert Lepage and conducted by James Levine. He sings the title role in Peter Sellars's new production of Handel's Hercules, conducted by Harry Bicket at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and returns to San Francisco Opera as Ramfis in Aida. His concert calendar includes Beethoven's Missa solemnis with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Mozart's Requiem with the Handel and Haydn Society under Harry Christophers, and Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem at Carnegie Hall with the Collegiate Chorale.

    Mr. Owens has created a niche for himself in contemporary opera through his determined tackling of new and challenging roles. He was critically acclaimed in the title role for the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal's Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera, and again at the Lincoln Center Festival, in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Mr. Owens also enjoys a close association with John Adams, for whom he created the role of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera, and of the Storyteller in the world premiere of A Flowering Tree at Peter Sellars's New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. Mr. Owens made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of David Robertson in Adams's Nativity oratorio El Niño.

    Mr. Owens has been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2003 Marian Anderson Award, a 1999 ARIA Award, and first prizes in the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Owens studied voice at Temple University and the Curtis Institute of Music. He currently studies with Armen Boyajian. He serves on the board of trustees of both the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Astral Artistic Services. Visit for more information.
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  • Juan Francisco Gatell

    A native of La Plata, Argentina, Juan Francisco Gatell began his musical studies at the age of nine at his hometown conservatory. After winning the Caruso Award in 2004, he made his debut as Idamante in Mozart's Idomeneo at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, followed by Don Luigino in Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims. In 2005, he sang the Holy Fool in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Rome Opera, and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice.

    In 2006, Mr. Gatell was soloist at both the Festival del Maggio Musicale and the Ravenna Festival in Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore under Riccardo Muti. As winner of the vocal competition organized by the Associazione Lirica Concertistica Italiana in 2006, Mr. Gatell sang Don Ottavio at the Teatro Sociale di Como and later at the Teatro Seguro. In December of that year, he appeared as Ernesto in Donizetti's Don Pasquale under Mr. Muti in Ravenna.

    In 2007, Mr. Gatell sang Don Ottavio in Trieste and made his debut as Calandrino in Cimarosa's Il ritorno di Don Calandrino at the Salzburg Easter Festival under Mr. Muti; in addition, he appeared as Ernesto at the Vienna Musikverein with Mr. Muti and as Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Festival Mozart in La Coruña. At the 2008 Salzburg Festival, Mr. Gatell made his debut as Tybalt in Massenet's Roméo et Juliette. He was soloist in Paisiello's Requiem at the Ravenna Festival and appeared at the 2009 Salzburg Festival as Eliéser in Moïse et Pharaon under Mr. Muti-a role that he repeated at the Rome Opera in 2010. Last year, he performed Don Ottavio at the Teatro alla Scala, Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore in Bologna, Polidoro in Pergolesi's Flaminio at the Festival Pergolesi Spontini, and the Count in Il barbiere di Siviglia in Geneva and at the Vienna State Opera.
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  • Krassimira Stoyanova

    A leading artist of the Vienna State Opera, where she has been given the title of Kammersängerin, Krassimira Stoyanova made her debut there in 1998, appearing first as Micaëla in Carmen and subsequently performing Liù in Turandot, Violetta in La traviata, Nedda in Pagliacci, Desdemona in Otello, Mimì in La bohème, Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito, Cecilia in Gomes's Il Guarany, and Rachel in Halévy's La Juive. She has continued her relationship with the company in such roles as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Amelia in Simon Boccanegra, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, and Antonia in Les contes d'Hoffmann.

    Ms. Stoyanova has appeared as soloist with opera companies and orchestras throughout Europe and in South America. She made her New York debut in 2001 as Valentine in Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots with the Opera Orchestra of New York. She sang Lida in Verdi's La battaglia di Legnano at Carnegie Hall with the Opera Orchestra, followed by her Metropolitan Opera debut as Violetta. In 2002, she made her debuts as Violetta in Hamburg, at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Elettra in Idomeneo, and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Mimì. Recent engagements include Mimì at the Metropolitan Opera in 2010, and the title role in Luisa Miller at the Opéra de Paris in 2011.

    Upcoming engagements include Anna Bolena at the Vienna State Opera in 2012, her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Amelia in 2013, Luisa Miller at the Opéra de Paris, and Desdemona at the Met. In 2014, she makes her role debut as Amelia in Un ballo in maschera at San Diego Opera and her San Francisco Opera debut, as well as singing Elisabeth de Valois in Verdi's Don Carlos at the Vienna State Opera.

    A native of Bulgaria, Ms. Stoyanova earned a diploma in violin and voice at the Academy of Music, Dance, and Visual Arts in Plovdiv. She began her career as a violinist with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra and then with the New Symphony Orchestra in Sofia. In 1995, she began her vocal career as a soloist with the Sofia National Opera, where she sang numerous leading roles.
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  • Michael Spyres

    A native of Mansfield, Missouri, Michael Spyres began his studies in the US and continued at the Vienna Conservatory in Austria. After making his debut at Teatro di San Carlo in Naples in 2006 as Jaquino in Fidelio, Mr. Spyres sang Alberto in Rossini's La gazzetta at the Wildbad Rossini Festival and toured Japan as Alfredo in La traviata. He returned to Bad Wildbad in July 2008 for his role debut as Rossini's Otello.

    Engagements in recent seasons include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and the Steersman in Der fliegende Holländer at Deutsche Oper Berlin, his London debut as Fernand in a concert performance of Donizetti's La favorite, his Teatro alla Scala debut as Belfiore in Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims, and Raoul in Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots for the SummerScape Festival in New York. Other performances include the title role in Bernstein's Candide for his debut with the Vlaamse Opera, his debut with Opera Ireland as Romeo in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Néoclès in Rossini's Le siège de Corinthe at the Wildbad Rossini Festival, and Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette at the 2010 Salzburg Festival. In 2010, Mr. Spyres performed Ozias in Mozart's Betulia liberata with Riccardo Muti at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival and subsequently at the Ravenna Festival.

    This season, Mr. Spyres sings Tamino in Die Zauberflöte in Liège, Giannetto in La gazza ladra in Dresden, Ramiro in Rossini's La Cenerentola in Bologna, and Arnold in Rossini's Guillaume Tell at the Caramoor Festival. On the concert platform, his performances include Schumann's Scenes from Goethe's Faust with the American Symphony Orchestra and an aria concert at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Upcoming engagements include his return to La Scala as Rodrigo in Rossini's La donna del lago, a role he repeats for his debut at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden in 2013. Mr. Spyres has recorded Rossini's La gazzetta, Otello (also on DVD), and Le siège de Corinthe. His first recital CD will be released in 2011.
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  • Paolo Battaglia

    A native of Brescia, Italy, Paolo Battaglia began his musical education studying clarinet and saxophone. After switching to voice, he graduated with honors from his hometown conservatory, and then studied in Milan under the guidance of tenor Franco Corelli and director Eugenio Fogliati. After winning several Italian song competitions, Mr. Battaglia made his professional debut in 1997. His excellent technique, musicality, and acting quickly earned him a number of major roles. His repertoire includes Raimondo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; numerous Verdi roles, including Silva in Ernani, Zaccaria in Nabucco, the King in Aida, Padre Guardiano in La forza del destino, Ferrando in Il trovatore, Banquo in Macbeth, and Sparafucile in Rigoletto; Capellio in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, and works by Puccini and Mozart. Recent engagements include performances as Brander in La damnation de Faust at the Teatro Regio in Parma, Friar Lawrence in Roméo et Juliette in Dublin, and Des Grieux in Manon for the Rome Opera; in addition, Mr. Battaglia has appeared at the Verona Arena, Teatro alla Scala, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Staatsoper Berlin, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Teatro Regio in Parma, Teatro Regio in Torino, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels.

    Mr. Battaglia's versatility in song interpretation has led to important roles in the Baroque repertoire, including Charon in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and Seneca in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and at Royal Albert Hall in London for the BBC. Also active in concerts, Mr. Battaglia has sung Mozart's Requiem, Rossini's Petite messe solennelle and Stabat Mater, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. His discography includes Anne Boleyn, La forza del destino, La clemenza di Tito, and La Gioconda, as well as DVDs of La forza del destino, Falstaff, and L'incoronazione di Poppea.
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Verdi Otello, Act II (“Credo in un Dio crudel”)
Renato Bruson / Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus and Orchestra / Riccardo Muti, Conductor
Living Stage

At a Glance

We don’t know when Giuseppe Verdi came to value Shakespeare, but in 1865, when the revision of his opera Macbeth was criticized, Verdi lashed out at the suggestion he did not know his Shakespeare: “I have had him in my hands from my earliest youth, and I read and reread him continually.”

Publisher Giulio Ricordi first mentioned Othello as a possible subject for an opera when he and his wife were dining with Verdi and his wife Giuseppina. “Quite by chance,” Ricordi recalled, “I steered the conversation on to Shakespeare and Boito. At the mention of Othello, I saw Verdi look at me with suspicion, but with interest. He had certainly understood and had certainly reacted. I believe the time was ripe.”

It was to be more than four years before Verdi began to write the music for Otello, but it was never far from his mind. At first, Ricordi played go-between, intercepting messages and forwarding suggestions as Boito refined the text. Soon, Boito and Verdi began to exchange letters directly.

On October 5, 1885, Verdi wrote: “I finished the fourth act and I breathe again.” There were still further adjustments to text and music. Verdi began to orchestrate, which would take the bulk of another year. Only in January 1886 was the title Otello chosen. The following November, Verdi finished the scoring and the work was sent off to the printer. On December 21, 1886, Boito wrote: “The dream has become a reality.”

Program Notes
The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Fried in support of the 2010-2011 season.
This performance is part of Great American Orchestras II.