Roberto Abbado: When you are building a cast, you are building a team.

Roberto Abbado, awarded the prestigious “Premio Abbiati” by the Italian Music Critics Association, is Musical Director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia and, from 2018, of Parma’s Festival Verdi. He studied orchestra conducting under Franco Ferrara at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Musical Director of the Münchner Rundfunkorchester from 1991 to 1998, he has worked with many ensembles and conducted numerous world premieres and new opera productions.

First of all, I would like to express once again my gratitude for your positive answer to my invitation! It’s truly an honour. Are you looking forward to arriving in Parma or you have already arrived here? It is a pleasure, thank you ! No, ’m not yet in Parma, but I am definitely looking forward to starting the rehearsals for the 20th edition of Festival Verdi.

If you were to mention the first things that come through your mind when you think about Parma, besides Festival Verdi, what would those be? Well, let’s say that Parma has always been one of the capitals of music in Italy. My first piano teacher was born and raised in Parma, just as my first harmony teacher. In the 19th century, Parma had a lot to do with Duchess of Parma, Maria Luigia, who was born in Vienna and a member of the royal family. Later, she became Napoleon’s wife, Empress of France, but then, they divorced and she came to Parma and built the city as we see it today. She was also a musician. Actually, she had a huge passion for music and arts in general, mostly for architecture. Most of the city of Parma that we have today represents the consequence of this great passion of hers. In other words, she built Parma and also developed it from the point of view of a musical tradition, which made this city become a capital of music in Italy. I would say that the Festival Verdi is just the logical consequence of what she started to do in Parma 200 years ago.

Read the entire interview here, in the 5th issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.


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