Ricardo Muti and the #19 jersey

I have to confess: I am an Internet wanderer. Even the worst one: within Wikipedia.

I should do a few series of posts on this theme, only chaining all the links passed through in one single day (that should be a performance rate) could give a glimpse on the amount of information and diversity covered by.

During one of these wanders I land on the YouTube for some elevated musical background and I saw the name of Riccardo Muti as director of the concert that I  had just chosen. I didn’t recognize his name (shame on me!) but the name Muti told me something (the Italian actress Ornella Muti).

Eventually I learned about his art, carrier and life: from a couple of unusual of his actions. I really think that “unusual” is not the best word. There is the normality expressed  in a different way.

The first of these acts was, as described by Wikipedia’s page about him:

On the night of 12 March 2011, Rome‘s Teatro dell’Opera staged the first in a series of scheduled performances of Verdi‘s opera Nabucco, conducted by Muti. After the end of the chorus “Va, pensiero“, which contains the lyrics “Oh mia patria, sì bella e perduta” (“Oh my country, so beautiful and so lost”), the audience applauded “heartily”. Conductor Muti, breaking with opera protocol and the strict conventions of composer Verdi[…] himself, turned to the audience and delivered a small speech, referring to the severe budget cuts announced by the Berlusconi government[…] which would particularly affect the funding of the arts. Muti spoke of the need to keep culture alive in Italy, prompted, as he later stated, by the belief that “killing culture in a country like Italy is a crime against society. Culture is the spiritual glue that holds a people together.”[…] Muti then invited the audience to participate in an encore of the “Va, pensiero” chorus – the invitation and the encore also a break from tradition for an opera performance[…] The opera audience stood up and sang along with the on-stage chorus.[…] Muti recalls that “80 percent of the audience knew the lyrics” and sang along, while “some members of the chorus were in tears”[…]

On 18 March, the performance of Nabucco was repeated in front of Italian president Giorgio Napolitano and prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Muti, who had stated that it had been the first time in his life that he conducted chorus and audience together and also the last,[…] on that occasion conducted the Verdi opera in the “orthodox” manner.[…]

Now I would make a short digression.

Since a while I live in North America and, among the many things that give the color and landscape of day by day living, is the game of hokey (you know that amazing and fierce fight on ice, with the sole attribute of the skill a weird stick). After a few Stanley Cup Plays-off you may catch the virus, or, at least, began to understand the syndrome.  That is about the culture of belonging, about the community, ultimately about the clan.

Those who live in the light and shadow of sport(s) – doesn’t matter the specific – know what this means.

End of the digression.

Maestro Riccardo Muti was named conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2010.

The local team in NHL is the famed Chicago Blackhawks and that was running in plays-off (for Lord Stanley Cup) season of 2013. To show the support for the team’s fight “Muti created an orchestral version of the Blackhawks’ goal song, Chelsea Dagger. In a YouTube video posted on the CSO’s official channel, Muti led the CSO while wearing a customized #19 Blackhawks sweater—a tribute to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who wears #19 [from wikipedia]“.

Eventually the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.


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