La Cieca hears whispers from rehearsals of the Met’s eagerly-awaited new production of Attila that maestro Riccardo Muti is somewhat more, shall we say, engaged in the process than your average stick-waver.
(Not that there’s anything wrong with the baton-related portion of the job: the orchestra is reportedly in awe both of his musicality and his “personable and friendly in the extreme” presence.)
But we were speaking of activities that, at the Met at least, tend to fall outside the conductor’s job description. La Cieca has heard reports that Muti has demanded changes in Pierre Audi‘s staging in order to assure a clear line of sight between maestro and chorus, the movement of at least one principal artist from a tall platform to a lower stage level in order to achieve optimal sound balance, and (most recently) the redesign of a wig for Ramón Vargas. (It was not made clear in the gossip passed along to La Cieca whether the perruque in question was interfering with the tenor’s hearing or was just plain fugly, but either way, bravo maestro!)
Apparently the greatest thrill of shock and horror electrified the company when Muti “broke the fourth wall,” or, in less allusive terms, he dared to set foot on stage during a rehearsal, something that apparently Is Simply Not Done.
But Riccardo Muti, he cares not for your puny mortal “rules.”