Chicago Symphony’s Muti brings Mozart to juvenile prison

Posted on: September 29, 2010

In Tuesday’s (9/28) Chicago Sun-Times, Stefano Esposito writes, “One girl rocked back and forth slowly in her chair with her thumb in her mouth. Another pulled her T-shirt over her face to stifle a giggle. But most of the 50 or so girls and young women sat transfixed as Riccardo Muti, the new Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director, brought Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and other musical greats to the cinder block dreariness of Warrenville’s all-girl juvenile prison Monday. … Perhaps the girls didn’t quite understand when Muti, seated behind a grand piano, spoke of the ‘tonality’ or the ‘colors’ of the music, but they laughed when he talked about his childhood and having to practice the violin while the other kids played soccer. The girls giggled again when he talked about a love-sick opera character afflicted with ‘Love with a capital “L”—not the cheap kind.’ … Muti was accompanied by two members of the CSO’s chorus, soprano Elizabeth Gray and mezzo-soprano Sarah Ponder. French film star Gerard Depardieu—working with the CSO to narrate Berlioz’s ‘Lelio’—unexpectedly tagged along, scrawling ‘Love, Gerard Depardieu’ on notepads for girls who may or may not have known who he was.”

Posted September 29, 2010