Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Riccardo Muti, Michael Jackson and the Castrati

Everyone has his or her own cultural touchstones, and for Riccardo Muti, the death of Michael Jackson has apparently made him think of the castrati. It's hard to know how scholars and cultural historians could have missed this one, but the conductor, having become aware of Jackson in the 1980s when he was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has made a canny connection.

Riccardo Muti, Michael Jackson and the Castrati

Everyone has his or her own cultural touchstones, and for Riccardo Muti, the death of Michael Jackson has apparently made him think of the castrati. It's hard to know how scholars and cultural historians could have missed this one, but the conductor, having become aware of Jackson in the 1980s when he was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has made a canny connection.

Our pal in Milan, Opera Chic, picked this up reading Corriere della Serra.

Here is Muti on Jackson:

"He is without a doubt one of the most legendary, controversial (and beloved) singers of all time... His controversial story, his weaknesses,  the extreme restlessness and his exhausted last days remind me of the lives of the great castrati like Caffarelli or Farinelli, who became objects of adoration and idolatry. And they often became victims of this adoration".

Okay, enough said.

 

 

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

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