Riccardo Muti brings his Opera Academy to the Fondazione Prada

The most famous Italian conductor will work on Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’ in close communication with the young talented musicians, he has personally selected.

A moment during the rehearsal of Nabucco with the students selected by maestro Riccardo Muti for the seventh edition of his Opera Academy, which this year is hosted by the Fondazione Prada in Milan. Niccolò Quaresima

There is an oral tradition in classical music that can be passed only by frontal lessons, by direct confrontation with professionals who have had a lengthy career and therefore have immense experience. In this case, the teacher is Maestro Riccardo Muti, the most famous conductor in Italy and one of the leading figures in classical music both nationally and internationally.

“Conducting cannot be taught. Do you think Toscanini studied with books?” said Mr. Muti during the press conference of the event. For this reason, he chose to bring the seventh edition of the ‘Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy’ to Milan’s Fondazione Prada.

Riccardo Muti’s focus on the musical education of the younger generation has always been central to his artistic activity. With the Italian Opera Academy, founded in 2015, he aims to pass on to young musicians what he has learned from his great masters, along an ideal line that connects him to Giuseppe Verdi through Arturo Toscanini and his teacher Antonino Votto.

Mr. Muti will work on the opera ‘Nabucco’ at the piano, on the podium, and in the orchestra, in close communication with the young talented musicians, he has personally selected. The secrets of musical construction will pass from the Maestro to the students in a natural symbiosis to arrive together at the final stage of interpretation. Some of the participants in the previous six editions of the Academy have conducted the Orchestra Luigi Cherubini and are currently working with some of the world’s greatest orchestras.

Mr. Muti with Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, the founders of Fondazione Prada, during the press conference of the event. Photo by Patrick Toomey Neri.

Selected by an examining committee chaired by the Maestro from among hundreds of applications received through an international call, the participants, aged between 18 and 35, have a diploma in conducting or piano in Italy or abroad.

The project includes rehearsals, readings, and ensemble rehearsals, and it will culminate in a concert performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera. The public will be allowed to participate in the entire rehearsal process focusing on the famous Italian opera and the final concert conducted by Riccardo Muti himself.

“A drop in the ocean cannot change the world, but a drop is still a drop,” said Mr. Muti. “I have decided to make everything I have learned available to young people. From my teachers and from the great singers, the great pianists, the great violinists, and the great composers I have met and worked with.”

This initiative represents yet another step on the road to broadening Fondazione Prada’s view of contemporary creativity. The Milanese foundation’s field of action is already broadening, including projects on electronic music, neuroscience, cinema, big data and technology, and now education.

A vision of art and culture based on sharing and exchange. “What is culture after all?” continued Mr. Muti. “The sense of beauty, of harmony, of a symphony. Symphony, essentially, means to play together.”

Gianmaria Biancuzzi is Executive Editor of Milano Art Guide. He writes a column on photography for Exibart and previously he reported for Zero.eu from 2016 to 2020. He is the creator and co-curator of the best-selling “The Colouring Book” published by 24OreCultura in 2020.