Conductor Lorenzo Viotti
The Barber of Seville Symphony
Andante maestoso-Allegro vivace
Symphony n.9 in E minor “New World Symphony”, op.95
Adagio-allegro molto – Largo – Scherzo: molto vivace – Allegro con fuoco
The instrumental field where the opera composers could be noticed was the symphony before the opera and, in a shorter form, the prelude. Often, they were the last pieces written in a hurry. When Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) had to think about what to put before the Barber of Seville (1816), he borrowed the symphony of Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterra (a re-elaborated version of Aureliano in Palmira). With mutations in the orchestration, he changed the character to the song: from tragic to comic. Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) wrote his Symphonic Prelude (1882) when he was still a student of the famous violinist Antonio Bazzini at the Milan Conservatory. Like Rossini, he reused some thematic ideas of the Prelude in the later dance opera Le Villi and in the first version of the unfortunate opera Edgar. Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904) became so passionate about the idea of using Native American melodies that he decided to write his Ninth Symphony (1893), putting together some ‘Indian’ themes (inspired by the stories told by the poet William H. Longfellow in the Hiawatha poem) with African American one. He also decided, historically a revolutionary fact, that black music was “American”. “The problem is that this music doesn’t sound American at all. It sounds Czech and is also very beautiful,” explained Leonard Bernstein. But it was a decisive step for music in America: we went from kindergarten (the mere imitation of European models) to school, waiting for jazz, a popular musical idiom belonging to all Americans, to make the music of the “New World”.
Lorenzo Viotti (born 15 March 1990) is a Swiss classical conductor, and the chief conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon. He has conducted at major European opera houses, and received international awards. Born in Lausanne as the son of the conductor Marcello Viotti, Viotti studied piano, voice and percussion in Lyon. In Vienna, he attended the conducting class of Georg Mark, and played as a percussionist with several orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic. He continued studies of conducting at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar with Nicolás Pasquet, completing in 2015. He conducted operas, including Offenbach’s La belle Hélène at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio at La Fenice in Venice, Bizet’s Carmen at the Stadttheater Klagenfurt, and Verdi’s Rigoletto at both the Staatsoper Stuttgart and the Semperoper in Dresden. In 2017, he conducted Donizettis Viva la Mamma at the Opéra de Lyon. He has conducted Massenet’s Werther at three opera houses, at the Frankfurt Opera, Stadttheater Klagenfurt, and the Zurich Opera. A reviewer of the Klagenfurt production noted that he inspired the orchestra to a sensitive reading of the delicate lyrical score. A reviewer of the Frankfurt production observed that he silently sang with the singers and filled every moment with its emotion. In 2012, Viotti was recipient of the first prize at the Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition. In 2015, he won the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Awards. He won the conducting competition of the MDR Sinfonieorchester in 2016. He was chosen “Newcomer of the Year” at the International Opera Award 2017.
He is the chief conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon from the 2018/19 season.