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Q & A: Conductor Riccardo Frizza On the Transformation of the Donizetti Opera Festival

Opera Wire

In 2019 the Donizetti Opera Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary after winning the prestigious Best Festival at the Oper! Magazine Awards. The festival showcased three works by the famed composer that brought an international audience and a number of rising stars and international singers.

It was also the second year for famed conductor Riccardo Frizza, who took over as the Donizetti Opera Festival’s music director and led the 2019 production of “Lucrezia Borgia,” his second work with the organization…

A teatro Frizza dirige il Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

Corriere della Sera

«Io e Beethoven» Un Grande ritorno

Un Grande ritorno n ritorno a casa che ha il sapore di un ritorno alle origini. Riccardo Frizza, direttore d’orchestra bresciano di fama internazionale, apre la stagione 2020 del Teatro Grande: il 129 gennaio sarà sul podio dell’orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino per un concerto dedicato a Beethoven, nell’anno del 25oesimo anniversario dalla nascita.
E proprio il genio di Bonn segnò l’esordio dell’allora giovanissimo direttore, quando, tra il 1996 e il 1997, alla testa dell’orchestra sinfonica di Brescia diresse oltre 70 concerti eseguendo l’integrale delle sinfonie di Beethoven. Al Grande, il pubblico potrà ascoltare l’ouverture Egmont in fa minore op. 84, la Sinfonia n. 5 in do minore op. 67 e il Concerto in re maggiore per violino e orchestra op. 61, con solista la violinista italo rumena Anna Tifu.
«Mi piace aprire il concerto con l’ouverture Egmont — spiega Frizza — come omaggio ideale alla Fondazione omonima che mi consentì di iniziare la carriera di direttore con l’integrale delle Sinfonie di Beethoven qui a Brescia. Ho poi pensato a un brano conosciuto come la Quinta Sinfonia e a quello che considero uno dei più bei concerti per violino in assoluto, chiamando come solista Anna Tifu, una musicista di grande talento»

C’è un filo conduttore nei brani del programma?
«Egmont e la Quinta Sinfonia hanno diversi caratteri in comune. Per esempio, l’incipit molto teatrale e poi entrambi i brani si aprono con una tonalità corrusca di minore per poi concludersi in maggiore, passando attraverso uno sviluppo che parte in modo drammatico e si evolve verso il positivo».

Che rapporto ha con l’orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino?
«Sono molto felice di portare per la prima volta l’orchestra a Brescia, dove non si è mai esibita, forse perché i concerti del Maggio coincidono con il periodo in cui in città si svolge il Festival Pianistico. Si tratta di una compagine di altissimo livello qualitativo, con la quale ho cominciato a collaborare nel 2005».

Lei è direttore musicale del Festival Donizetti di Bergamo. Il cast dell’opera che lo inaugura, Belisario, sarà interpretato da Placido Domingo, con due cantanti bresciane al fianco, sua moglie Davinia Rodriguez e il mezzosoprano Annalisa Stroppa. Com’è nata questa produzione?
«Dallo stesso Domingo, dopo aver visitato Bergamo ed essersi soffermato sulla tomba di Donizetti. Belisario è un grandissimo ruolo baritonale: quando ho saputo del desiderio di Domingo, con il direttore artistico Francesco Micheli l’abbiamo invitato al Festival. A breve annunceremo i cast degli altri due titoli in programma, La fille du regiment nella nuova edizione critica curata da Claudio Toscani e Marin Faliero».

Prossimi impegni?
«Torno a Budapest per Sonnambula. Poi dirigo un concerto di Pretty Yende a Liegi, quindi sarò a Colonia per il mio debutto nel Viaggio a Reims di Rossini».

Riccardo Frizza: La ‘Lucía de Lammermoor’ que se va a escuchar en Bilbao es muy especial

Toda la Música

Riccardo Frizza (Brescia, Italia,1971) tiene una agenda repleta de compromisos. Además de ser el responsable musical del Festival Donizetti de Bergamo, como experto en el repertorio italiano que es, el maestro nacido en Brescia dirigió la pasada temporada más de cincuenta funciones de títulos operísticos por todo el mundo. En los últimos meses, ha dirigido en Roma, Dallas, Venecia y ha inaugurado la temporada lírica de París con I Puritani de Bellini. El próximo día 19 el director italiano levantará el telón de la nueva temporada de ABAO Bilbao Ópera con Lucia di Lammermoor, de Gaetano Donizetti…

Riccardo Frizza : « J’essaie de sculpter le langage d’un opéra autour des interprètes »

Putsch Media

Il est l’un des chefs d’orchestre les plus importants de sa génération. Il est régulièrement invité dans les plus prestigieux théâtres du monde entier, parmi lesquelles figurent l’Opéra National de Paris ou l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. Entre le 7 septembre et le 5 octobre prochain, Riccardo Frizza dirigera « I Puritani » de Vincenzo Bellini à l’Opéra Bastille (Paris). Putsch a pu le rencontrer quelques minutes avant la dernière répétition générale…

PROPOS RECUEILLIS PAR MATTEO GHISALBERTI

 

Riccardo Frizza, chef d’orchestre : « Il faut aimer les voix »

Olyrix

Le chef d’orchestre italien Riccardo Frizza nous présente Les Puritains qu’il dirige en ce moment à Bastille, avant d’y revenir pour Le Pirate. L’occasion de revenir également sur la situation de l’opéra à Paris et dans le monde, de parler du Donizetti Opera Festival mais aussi Calcio et politique (culturelle):

Riccardo Frizza, vous dirigez Les Puritains de Bellini en ouverture de saison à l’Opéra de Paris. La répétition générale vient de se tenir, avez-vous encore beaucoup de travail et sur quoi allez-vous le concentrer ?
Il y a toujours beaucoup de choses à faire après une générale, mais les vibrations étaient bonnes. Lorsque je prépare et dirige ce répertoire, ma concentration est constamment dépendante des chanteurs. Il est impossible de faire le même travail avec des castings différents. Tout s’appuie tellement sur le chant, sur le bel canto…

In Frizza, Sondra Radvanovsky had a rock-solid bastion of musical support, a true stylistic soulmate and a conductor who secured clean and polished orchestral playing and choral singing. Donizetti’s orchestrations may be rather undifferentiated from one opera to the other, but Frizza did yeoman work at bringing out colors and textures unique to each piece, thus sidestepping possible aural monotony. The various Ryan Center apprentices dispatched their bit parts well, while Michael Black did his usual expert job of preparing his choral forces

Riccardo Frizza: “Verdi es un genio del teatro musical”

El Periódico de Catalunya

El director Riccardo Frizza regresa a Peralada después de su debut con ‘Otello’ en 2015. Una vez acabado su compromiso verdiano no se marchará de Catalunya, ya que le espera un curso en Solsona (Lleida) antes de inaugurar las temporadas líricas de París y Bilbao. Vuelve a l’Empordà después de dirigir en Roma, Dallas y Venecia, y lo hace al mando de una nueva producción de una obra que debutó en 2013, cuando ya tenía en repertorio una docena de títulos verdianos. Explica que se la habían ofrecido mucho, pero que no aceptaba porque, al ser una obra tan representada, se tenía que sentir preparado “para ofrecerla en condiciones óptimas”. El debut fue en el coliseo en el que Verdi la estrenó, La Fenice de Venecia, “donde dimensioné ese contraste entre lo camerístico y lo masivo que esconde la partitura”, una de las claves del aporte que Verdi realiza al género con su ‘Traviata’. “Era un genio absoluto del teatro musical e innova en el lenguaje al optar por situaciones más naturalistas, como cuando Alfredo le confiesa su amor a Violetta: lo hace en un dúo, sin la típica aria y ‘cabaletta’ que habría requerido una estructura más arcaica. Se adelanta décadas a lo que más tarde hará en ‘Aida’”, asegura…

 

Riccardo Frizza: “Amb ‘La traviata’, Verdi va voler fer una òpera moderna”

Ara

Riccardo Frizza és conegut arreu del món pel seu compromís amb l’òpera italiana i concretament amb Verdi. Dilluns estrenarà la nova producció de La traviata amb direcció d’escena de Paco Azorín al Festival Castell de Peralada, amb l’Orquestra del Liceu, la soprano Ekaterina Bakanova, el tenor René Barbera i el baríton Quinn Kelsey.

Què té de nou aquesta Traviata ?

Paco Azorín posa èmfasi en temes molt actuals com el feminicidi, el masclisme, la dona actual… Verdi es va esforçar per portar dalt de l’escenari una dona real. Azorín destaca l’hedonisme de Violeta, la mentida, la violència masclista, encara que sigui en sentit figurat. Una violència que es dona per la seva condició -és prostituta-, i la gran renúncia que fa al final, una gran renúncia per amor…

In the pit Riccardo Frizza conducted his second opera with the Donizetti Opera Festival since taking the position of Music Director. On this evening he showed why he is one of the most sought after Bel Canto conductors. His music making was always about the drama and moving the music forward. Throughout the evening the winds played with rich sound, their melodic lines emphasized the darker qualities of the music. The strings also played with rhythmic precision that gave clarity to the music.

Riccardo Frizza non si limita ad accompagnare, cosa peraltro che sa fare benissimo, com’è ormai eccezione e non regola. Lucrezia Borgia è difficile perché spetta al direttore differenziarne i registri espressivi, far convivere senza urti ma senza appiattirla questa varietà di registri espressivi. Alla testa di un’Orchestra Cherubini di buona tenuta, Frizza ci riesce benissimo, passando con icastico rilievo dal tragico al (quasi) comico, dalle feste all’obitorio, dal grand guignol al «grande agitato». Crede in questo Donizetti, insomma, e fa credergli anche a noi. Sembra facile, ma non lo è: e che dirigere Donzietti sia più difficile che dirigere Strauss non è una battuta.

Lucia di Lammermoor, una ópera que ante todo requiere una orquestación sabiamente escogida para reforzar el cariz trágico de la historia. De dar buena cuenta de esa orquestación se encargó el maestro Riccardo Frizza al mando de la Sinfónica de Euskadi. El director italiano subrayó los momentos líricos, luego, no solo se detuvo en el cromatismo de la partitura, sino que disfrutó del ritmo, de ese tempo pausado, de los silencios en bien de un canto hermoso y efectista.

Riccardo Frizza demostró en el foso su contrastado conocimiento de la obra de Donizetti -no en vano es el actual director del Festival Donizetti de Bergamo-. Atento a las voces en escena, primoroso y detallista en las introducciones orquestales, supo insuflar a la representación la dosis justa de dramatismo, sin desmerecer el lirismo y el predominio de las inspiradas melodías. Frizza logró una solvente y compacta respusta de la Sinfónica de Euskadi.

Enfin, la direction de Riccardo Frizza, très attentive aux chanteurs et au choeur, sait mettre en avant la beauté des phrases du compositeur sicilien avec raffinement

L’asciuttezza di un tale disegno registico trova una singolare corrispondenza nella direzione di Riccardo Frizza, alla guida dell’eccellente orchestra dell’Opéra, con l’ottimo coro istruito da José Luis Basso. Il maestro bresciano ha il merito di valorizzare la scrittura belliniana, servendo anzitutto il canto con grandissima sensibilità, avvolgendo la melodia in un abbraccio orchestrale che sa farsi culla o podio, a seconda del sentimento evocato. L’attenzione allo strumentale è costante, così come il gusto per i colori e per il suono, sempre appropriato, mai eccessivo nei momenti di maggior vigore, preciso ritmicamente e profondamente aderente all’estetica belliniana, in miracoloso equilibrio tra classico e romantico.

Conductor Riccardo Frizza gave a correct reading and was helpful to the singers. He offered the complete score of the opera and drew a fine performance from the Liceu orchestra.

Riccardo Frizza dirige l’orchestre du Liceo de Barcelone en grande forme dans une exécution quasi complète de la partition (ce qui n’est pas souvent le cas aujourd’hui !), respectant la structure dramatique de la partition, ses émotions et son orchestration magistrale.

En el foso las cosas funcionan muy bien, gracias a la experta dirección del italiano Riccardo Frizza, atento al estilo verdiano, sensible en el acompañamiento vocal y con un pulso dramático que hace justicia a la partitura sin caprichos ni extravagancias.

Funzionano assai bene le cose anche per quanto attiene all’esecuzione musicale, a partire dalla buca. Riccardo Frizza concerta e tiene il palco alla perfezione ma non si limita a questo. Dà tensione alla narrazione, soppesa tempi e dinamiche, è vario ma non calligrafico. Una Aida bella polposa la sua, che centra quell’equilibrio tra il trionfalismo dei passaggi più arrembanti – se c’è da suonare forte Frizza non si tira indietro, e fa bene – e i chiaroscuri più introspettivi dei drammi privati.

Il versante musicale di questa Aida fenicea è nell’insieme convincente. A partire dalla conduzione di Riccardo Frizza, che garantisce una cornice orchestrale ben sintonizzata con le atmosfere della messinscena. Più che l’impianto grandoperistico, il direttore privilegia una lettura interessata a esaltare con asciutta incisività la dimensione cerimoniale e soprattutto la componente drammatico politica. Dirige con energia, vigore e tempi tendenzialmente spediti, assicurando un passo teatrale serrato. Va anche detto che Frizza non penalizza il lirismo di alcune pagine, né la varietà delle atmosfere, restituendo a dovere quelle esotiche e misteriose. Lo fa però senza estenuazioni o allentamenti di tensione, mantenendo sempre l’impronta unitaria e la continuità narrativa. I cantanti, inoltre, sono
sostenuti a dovere.

Anche la bacchetta di Riccardo Frizza contribuisce, in modo determinante, alla riuscita di questa produzione fenicea. Il maestro bresciano, in particolare, dà il giusto rilievo alle scene di massa e ai ruoli “politici”, la cui scrittura vocale, spesso basata su un innovativo declamato drammatico, gravita su un’unica nota, mentre è l’orchestra ad avere la parte più strutturata. Nello stesso tempo, riesce ad esprimere, senza abbandonarsi ad estenuazioni, che comprometterebbero la tensione drammatica – diffusamente assicurata da un gesto direttoriale energico e spedito –, il lirismo delle grandi melodie che, con il sostegno di raffinati interventi orchestrali di fondamentale pregnanza, caratterizzano il triangolo sentimentale Amneris-Aida-Radamès

Italian maestro Riccardo Frizza, who has recently assumed a leadership post with the newly established Donizetti Festival in Bergamo, Italy, is internationally recognized for his expertise in the early 19th century bel canto operas, which include masterpieces of Italian operatic comedy by Donizetti and Rossini. His leadership of The Dallas Opera Orchestra was sprightly and the several fast-paced ensembles – at times involving all ten cast members – were, under his direction, executed flawlessly.

Riccardo Frizza handled this super-energetic and constantly shifting score deftly, with close attention to the endless array of orchestral effects with which Verdi enlivened this score.

The star of the show is conductor Riccardo Frizza. With controlled but precise movements, he perfectly shapes the opera’s sometimes very fast tempi, while still letting the lyric sections soar. This is difficult writing for every performer; Falstaff is definitely an ensemble piece in which all of the parts of Verdi’s musical puzzle have to fit perfectly together. Frizza accomplishes this task without breaking a sweat.

[podcast] Riccardo Frizza: La mia ‘Aida’

Venice Classic Radio

Il direttore d’orchestra Riccardo Frizza è impegnato al Teatro La Fenice nella rappresentazione di Aida, uno dei capolavori di Giuseppe Verdi. L’opera torna nel grande teatro veneziano riproponendo l’allestimento del cineasta e regista teatrale Mauro Bolognini – sostituito in questa occasione da Bepi Morassi – preparato nel 1978, quando sul podio era stato chiamato Giuseppe Sinopoli. Riccardo Frizza raccoglie così un testimone importante, adottando un’impostazione fedele alla partitura per ridonare all’Aida il suo aspetto originario. Come si è accostato ai personaggi dell’opera? E quali sono le sue chiavi di lettura? Scopritelo nell’intervista a Riccardo Frizza!

Q & A: Riccardo Frizza On ‘Falstaff’ & The Donizetti Opera Festival

Opera Wire

Riccardo Frizza is one of today’s foremost Italian conductors specializing in the Italian repertoire. He has appeared at all the great opera houses in the world and has interpreted many of the great works by Verdi, Donizetti, Rossini, and Bellini. Recently, he was appointed the music director of the Donizetti Opera Festival and for his first assignment, he took on “Il Castello di Kenilworth.” Frizza has stated that his goal is to place a greater emphasis on many of Donizetti’s rare operas, many of which he believes to be as important as many of his more renowned works.
Currently Frizza is conducting Verdi’s “Falstaff” at the Dallas Opera and that will be followed by “La Traviata” and “Aida” this summer. In a recent interview with OperaWire Frizza spoke about conducting Verdi’s “Falstaff” for the third time in his career and the challenges of the work. He also spoke about the Donizetti Opera Festival and what his hopes for the upcoming festival this fall.

Riccardo Frizza led the San Francisco Opera Orchestra with a light touch. There were shakes and crashes where the score called for them, but the overall impression was of stately dignity. Donizetti’s score often lets the singers drive the musical drama, and Frizza followed their lead.

Frizza conducted an ideally paced performance, driving the action and illuminating the shifting allegiances, emotions, and sheer brilliance of Donizetti’s score in each new episode.

The conductor is Italian Maestro Riccardo Frizza, whose interest and expertise in Donizetti’s operas has led to his appointment as the first director of a new annual international Donizetti Festival. That festival, which begins this coming Fall, is to be based in the composer’s home town of Bergamo, Italy. Maestro Frizza’s rapport with the artists and with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra was obvious, and resulted in a truly satisfying musical performance.

Riccardo Frizza, conducting, delivered a wonderful reading of the score. He generated a beautiful sound from the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, producing colorful shadings and controlled dynamic variations that brought out the dramatic contrasts and highlighted the salient points in the onstage action….Although Frizza achieved a well-balanced sound from the orchestra and the singers, he took the decision to focus on the individual instrumental sections and their dialogue with the singers, which proved to be an interesting and successful choice as it highlighted a subtlety in Donizetti’s score that can so easily be lost. A special mention must also be given to Nabila Chajai, the harpist, who in the Act 1 harp obbligato, produced a sound of exquisite beauty and clarity, a truly rare pleasure in itself!

Il maestro Riccardo Frizza nominato direttore musicale del Donizetti Opera Festival

Bergamo News

Riccardo Frizza è il nuovo direttore musicale del Donizetti Opera Festival. Bresciano, 46 anni, è uno dei migliori direttori della sua generazioni, ha diretto al teatro Alla Scala di Milano, alla Fenice di Venezia e al Metropolitan di New York. Frizza è stato presentato alla stampa nella mattina di mercoledì 28 settembre a Palazzo Frizzoni dall’Assessore alla Cultura del Comune di Bergamo, Nadia Ghisalberti, Francesco Micheli, Direttore artistico della Fondazione Donizetti; Paolo Fabbri, Direttore scientifico della Fondazione Donizetti e Massimo Boffelli, Direttore generale della Fondazione Teatro Donizetti.

Riccardo Frizza regresa a París con Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Toda la Música

El director italiano Riccardo Frizza, uno de los más destacados especialistas en el repertorio operístico italiano de la actualidad, regresará al podio de la Opéra National de París (ONP) en enero para dirigir nueve funciones de la obra maestra de Gioachino Rossini, Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Después de haber dirigido en la Opéra La Cenerentola, Il Bar-biere y L’Italiana in Algeri –la trilogía bufa de Rossi-ni al completo–, además de Lucia di Lammermoor de Donizetti el curso pasado, estoy muy satisfecho de regresar a este emblemático teatro con esta obra deliciosa. Barbiere está considerada –y con razón– la cumbre de la ópera cómica rossiniana y de todo el género bufo décadas antes del nacimiento del Falstaff verdiano”, afirma Frizza quien se pondrá al mando de una producción que firma el regista Damiano Michieletto contando con un reparto de jóvenes estrellas de la lírica internacional que encabezan la mezzo Olga Kulchynska, los barítonos Massimo Cavalletti y Florian Sempey, y los tenores René Barbera y Levy Sekgapane, todos de consolidada carrera o recientes triunfadores de los más destacados concursos internacionales.

Riccardo Frizza torna a Parigi con “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”

MusicaProgetto

Il maestro italiano dirigerà a gennaio nove recite dell’opera di Rossini nella leggendaria Opéra de Paris.

Il direttore italiano Riccardo Frizza, uno dei più rinomati specialisti del repertorio operistico italiano dell’attualità, tornerà sul podio della Opéra National de Paris (ONP) nel mese di gennaio per dirigere nove recite del capolavoro di Gioachino Rossini, Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Riccardo Frizza, nuevo y primer director musical del Donizetti Opera Festival de Bérgamo

Platea Magazine

El Festival Donizetti de Bérgamo (Italia), referencia internacional en la interpretación donizettiana, enriquece su estructura con una nueva figura: el director de orquesta de fama internacional Riccardo Frizza. El maestro italiano asume como responsable musical de un certamen único en el mundo dedicado a la investigación y divulgación de la amplia obra del compositor bergamasco, piedra angular del estilo belcantista romántico. El fichaje lo ha anunciado la Concejala de Cultura del Ayuntamiento de Bérgamo, Nadia Ghisalberti, conjuntamente con el director de la Fondazione Teatro Donizetti, Massimo Boffelli, al director artístico de la Fondazione Donizetti, Francesco Micheli, y al director de investigación, Paolo Fabbri. La labor del nuevo director musical se concretizará cuando se presente la programación de la edición 2018 del Festival, en la que también subirá al podio.

A Chat With Italian Conductor Riccardo Frizza

Maria Nockin, Opera Today

Riccardo Frizza is a young Italian conductor whose performances in Europe and the United States are getting rave reviews. He tells us of his love for the operas of Verdi, Bellini, and particularly Donizetti.

Q: Are there any artists or musicians from the past whose work has significantly influenced you?

RF: When I discovered the orchestra as an instrument, I was totally mesmerized and in love with Leonard Bernstein. Several masters of the Italian school, including Claudio Abbado and Riccardo Muti, subsequently influenced me. My most significant teachers were: composer Elisabetta Brusa, who taught me to be able to understand music, and conductor Gilberto Serembe, who taught me the basics and the necessities of conducting technique…Read more here.

Riccardo Frizza Gets Major Position At Donizetti Opera Festival

Opera Wire

Conductor Riccardo Frizza has been named the first and new music director of the Donizetti Opera Festival in Bergamo.

The festival is the only one dedicated to the research and dissemination of the Bergamo born composer´s wide repertoire, a cornerstone of the Romantic bel-canto style.

The new appointment was announced by Bergamo´s councillor for culture, Nadia Ghisalberti, and by the director of the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti, Massimo Boffelli, the artistic director of the Fondazione Donizetti, Francesco Micheli, and the research director, Paolo Fabbri.

Read more here. 

With Lyric newcomer Frizza at the helm, no musical gesture was perfunctory, no interpretive decision ill-chosen. The Italian conductor’s marshaling of musical details as they related to dramatic expression — the color and duration of orchestral chording, for instance — was typical of his thorough understanding of Bellini’s score. His seamless pacing and rhythmic exactitude went far toward countering static moments in the staging.

Such was the quality of the orchestra’s responses to Frizza that Bellini’s often-criticized orchestration didn’t feel insipid at all. Director Michael Black’s chorus pitched in with conspicuous enthusiasm.

From Hate to Undying Love – Riccardo Frizza’s Ever-Growing Passion For ‘Norma’ & Italian Opera

David Salazar, Opera Wire

Being a conductor of opera is no easy endeavor. Conductors are generally taking on multiple operas a year, both new and old ones. They have to learn to work with a wide range of different personalities in ever-changing environments, many over which he has no control.

This places greater emphasis on Frizza to be in top form at all times, especially when taking on new operas or revisiting such major staples as Norma.

Frizza has a background in composition and while music is essential for him, his approach to learning or revisiting ones never starts with the notes on the page.

 

…the Lyric orchestra, impeccably conducted by Riccardo Frizza, which makes its own beautiful sound, with Bellini’s overture, alone, suggesting the composer’s ability to slip seamlessly from the most delicate, lyrical, “singing” motifs to passages of great fury.

In Conversation with Riccardo Frizza: The ABCs of a Bel Canto Opera

MJ Chen, Chicago Maroon

“When you do a Romantic Italian opera—like a Bellini or a Verdi—you need to tell a story. Drama for me is primary. And you have to be able to keep the tension in the story without dropping it. This is up to us—the conductor and the interpreters on stage—to be able to keep the tension even when some pages are not so well done. We can be very reverent to the composer and not cut them, but we also have to be honest. We have miraculous pages, and we also have just good pages. It depends on the interpreter making these pages interesting. It’s a matter of the conductor, the interpreters on stage, and the director as well.”

Arts in Action: Maestro del bel canto — Italian conductor Riccardo Frizza to lead Bellini’s Norma for Lyric Opera of Chicago début

Joseph Newsome, Voix des Arts

Rather than grabbing at greatness by attempting to reconfigure masterpieces of Italian opera to conform with today’s tastes, this son of Brescia earns greatness by reminding audiences of composers’ tastes. In a field too often mired in egotism and elitism, Riccardo Frizza is a Rooseveltian conductor who walks softly but wields a baton with big impact.

The Real Deal – Riccardo Frizza

Lisa Houston, Classical Singer

“That is the instrument I want to play!”

That was the thought that came to young Riccardo Frizza listening to the orchestra on a family visit to Vienna. The man on the podium was Herbert von Karajan. Already a devoted student of piano, Frizza soon took up his orchestral studies seriously, buying and studying scores and eventually progressing with the help of renowned teachers in Milan, Pescara, and Siena.

An important figure in his hometown of Brescia, Italy, Maestro Frizza began his career serving as music director of the symphony orchestra there from 1994 to 2000. During this time he became a popular guest artist at festivals and major Italian opera houses, and from there it did not take long for his career to become international…

Riccardo Frizza worked so thoroughly with [the Orchestra Regionale delle Marche] that he succeeded in involving them in their playing, in ways they must never have experienced before. His strings had bite as well as bark and that is an extraordinary accomplishment for even the finest strings, in the open air. When players are giving more than they thought they could, there may be some blemishes in solo passages (there were!) but these matter little in the all-over musicality. For these reasons alone, the Sferisterio management should sign Frizza up as their chief conductor. The orchestra would thank them.

Frizza is also a considerate conductor with his singers. He understands their problems. And does Verdi ever hand some almost insuperable problems to the lead singers of Otello.

Il maestro Riccardo Frizza: da Donizetti a Freddie Mercury, ma con Verdi sempre nel cuore

Nonostante la giovane età Frizza è considerato uno dei più apprezzati interpreti del melodramma italiano a livello internazionale.

Riccardo Frizza led a beautiful, empathetic, sensitive reading of the work, perfectly at one with his wonderful cast. It is easy for this score to fall into bathos bathed in schmaltz; Frizza and his singers humanized every aspect, from the high jinks of the first act through the ultimate sadness. Using, but not relying on rubato and portamento, with no exaggeration, the story came across simply and poignantly, and the Met Orchestra gave it the attention it gives to Shostakovich and Wagner.

Riccardo Frizza’s conducting is admirably precise, keeping a nice flow with quick tempi that never undermine the singers’ ability to fit the notes in.

It was left to conductor Riccardo Frizza to elicit the beauties of the score, and he did so at every turn, drawing luxuriant playing from San Francisco’s responsive orchestra and lending sensitive support to DiDonato and Cabell. The singing was the thing in this Capuleti, and Frizza guided his protagonists with consummate flair.

Interview with Riccardo Frizza

The great expert on Verdi

Riccardo Frizza, a real expert on the Italian lyric repertoire and particularly on Verdi’s output, possesses the qualities of the greatest conducting masters: impeccable gesture, an analytical vision that guarantees total fidelity to the original text, and a moving expression that floods all his performances with an overwhelming intensity.

A native of Brescia, a city marked by its industrial background, he inherited from his origins both rigour and precision, qualities which produce an explosive combination when mixed with his Italian soul.

Riccardo Frizza led a beautiful, empathetic, sensitive reading of the work, perfectly at one with his wonderful cast. It is easy for this score to fall into bathos bathed in schmaltz; Frizza and his singers humanized every aspect, from the high jinks of the first act through the ultimate sadness. Using, but not relying on rubato and portamento, with no exaggeration, the story came across simply and poignantly, and the Met Orchestra gave it the attention it gives to Shostakovich and Wagner.

Riccardo Frizza: Master conductor

…This was a production that depended on a solid account of the music. Conductor Riccardo Frizza, whose previous visit to the War Memorial Opera House was for Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, made it clear from the opening measures that he was just the maestro to provide such an account…

If Bellini’s score is far from the most compelling, Frizza summoned up a performance that highlighted the virtues while letting the weaknesses just run their course. Most importantly, he showed considerable sensitivity to Bellini’s inventive approaches to instrumentation, always finding the right balance points, not only among the orchestra instruments but also when adding the vocalists to the mix.

Riccardo Frizza’s Seventh Appearance at the Met: The Italian Opera Specialist Becomes a Regular

Frizza (1971) is at the forefront of the latest generation of Italian conductors, following in the footsteps of a tradition that includes Arturo Toscanini and contemporary legends as Carlo Maria Giulini and Riccardo Muti. He was raised in the land of opera…

Many conductors try their hand at bel canto, but few deliver the extremely pliable tempos, understanding of nuance, and way with light and shade that Riccardo Frizza brought to the score. Showing supreme respect for his artists, Frizza molded Bellini’s vocal line to the extent his singers allowed, lingering over notes and phrases without once becoming mannered. The man clearly loves bel canto writing, and understands its ultimate potential. Bravo!

Riccardo Frizza’s conducting exactly matches Cabell and DiDonato’s marvelous singing. He phrases exquisitely, never distorting or distending the line, but able to stretch it in a most expressive and dramatic fashion.

The musical direction of Riccardo Frizza was one of the most pleasant surprises of the evening. […] He was totally convincing, conducting his forces with both strength and gentleness, always supporting the singers and getting a fine results from his orchestra

Conductor Riccardo Frizza led with precision and energy and a refreshing straightforwardness—none of the self-consciously droopy tempos many other maestros favor in works of this period. Indeed, he and Michele Mariotti…are about the best in the world at this repertoire. The Met is lucky to have both on its roster.

Talking with Conductors: Riccardo Frizza

Among his operas, what do you think is most special about Verdi’s Falstaff? Is there any particular challenge in conducting a comedy?

In my opinion Falstaff is a special opera, especially because it is the genius Verdi’s last opera. Also, having been written so many years after his preceding opera (Otello), it can also be considered as his final testament. With it, Verdi revolutionised Italian melodrama. By magnifying the “dramma” and vicissitudes of mystic characters, he addressed the problematic political situation of an Italy in the process of formation, and he finally decided to end his career with a comic libretto. The greatest challenge in conducting Falstaff is letting all the details in the score emerge. Conducting a comic opera is very different from conducting a serious opera, as you have to feel the rhythm of the comedy, which can be quite complicated at times.

…Frizza’s skill was on display as the tone and flow of the orchestra balanced the tempestuous relationship of Marcello and Musetta in counterpoint to that of Mimi and Rodolfo. Frizza evokes the bittersweet and eternal nature of Rodolfo’s and Mimiʼs love one moment and in the next we return our attention to the temporal nature of the affection of Marcello and Mimi.

In the pit Riccardo Frizza gave an elegant, detailed reading of the score that lacked for nothing in terms of drama and passion, but impressed equally in the quieter, more melancholic passages. He accompanied his singers with precision, while at the same time stamping his authority on the overall musical structure of the performance. Like everything else going on onstage, it was a refined reading.