Opera Tickets Italy

    Strauss / Puccini, Donato Renzetti

    Strauss / Puccini, Donato Renzetti

    Donato Renzetti is one of the biggest contemporary conductors Italy has to offer, with numerous engagements around the globe. Among his stellar career stations at home, he counts Milan’s Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala and Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia. In England, he has conducted the London Philharmonic and the English Chamber Orchestra. Berlin’s RIAS and the Hungarian State Orchestra are also among his European homes. Furthermore, Renzetti has worked with the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Philharmonic of Buenos Aires, the Dallas Symphony, and many others worldwide. The famous conductor leads the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice through two lesser-known gems of classical music: the instrumental Aus Italien, Op 16 by Richard Strauss and Giacomo Puccini’s Messa di Gloria. For the latter, the chorus of La Fenice joins the orchestra, along with the soloists Giorgio Berrugi (tenor) and Simone Del Savio (baritone).

    The evening begins with the strange and beautiful concoction that is Aus Italien, an orchestral work alternately described as a tonal poem or a program symphony. Throughout its four movements, Richard Strauss builds a ‘symphonic fantasy’ around what he considered vivid images of Italian life and culture: I. On the Roman Campagna; II. In the Ruins of Rome; III. On the Beach of Sorrento; and IV. Neapolitan Folk Life. The piece premiered on 2 March 1887 in performance by the Court Orchestra in Munich, under the baton of Richard Strauss himself. The first three movements garnered heartfelt ovation and praise, but the audience turned against the performance in the fourth movement. Perhaps Strauss borrowing the melody of Luigi Denza’s ‘Funiculì Funiculà’ was a step too far for the audience that night. Despite the small controversy, Aus Italien remains a special work in the composer’s catalogue.

    To hear Puccini’s Messa di Gloria is a relatively rare and special treat, made all the more exciting by the masterful direction of Donato Renzetti and the orchestra, choir, and soloists of La Fenice. The composer wrote this full Catholic mass as a graduation project at the Institute Musicale Pacini. The debut performance took place in Lucca on 12 July 1880. Puccini’s connoisseurs will surely recognise some of the themes in the mass that appeared in later operas, such as ‘Agnus Dei’ as part of Manon Lescaut or ‘Kyrie’ as later heard in Edgar. Donato Renzetti’s steady hand helps guide the musicians but also the audience through two hidden gems at Gran Teatro La Fenice.

    image Gran Teatro La Fenice / Fondazione Teatro La Fenice, Michele Crosera