Ten years after stepping down as music director of the Bavarian State Opera, a “grand Zubin Mehta“ (Bayerischer Rundfunk) returned to Munich in March 2016 to celebrate his 80th birthday conducting Verdi’s masterpiece for the first time in a staged production. His cast features some of today’s finest Verdi singers: soprano Anja Harteros, singing Amelia for the first time and “filling every note with Verdian intensity”, tenor Piotr Beczala as a “visually and vocally dashing Riccardo” and George Petean as an “exemplary” Renato (Neue Musikzeitung). In director Johannes Erath’s musically super-sensitive new production, this historically-based tale of illicit love, conspiracy and betrayal unfolds in a surrealistic, shadowy setting transformed by lighting and projections. Special praise was showered by the enthusiastic critics on Maestro Mehta, who “creates concentrated musical connections, miraculously guiding his orchestra and unsurpassable voices the way a thermal lifts a paraglider ... Musically the performance was a dream” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). “A total triumph” (La Razón). “This production shows what a utopia opera can be” (Abendzeitung).
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