The conductor Bruno Rigacci was in Barga today attending a Chopin concert by his son, the pianist Pietro Rigacci. The concert was part of the continuing series of musical events at the Aula Magna “Corrado Carradini”, Liceo Classico Ariosto in collaboration with the Scuola Civica di Musica organised by Massimo Salotti (article here)
Before the concert, Bruno Rigacci spent some time in conversation with Massimo Salotti outside the school where he talked about his latest book “Le tradizioni dell’opera italiana – ovvero quando la tradizione tradisce l’idea” – “The traditions of Italian opera – when tradition betrays the idea” in which according to the Maestro, many of the world’s operatic stars commit ‘errors’ with many singers changing the original thinking of the 800 Italian opera composers in order to bring out their vocal skills.
Bruno was here in Barga during the 70’s as direttore musicale of Opera Barga, a position he held for many years and a time which he fondly remembers.
In fact when given a chance for a lightning visit to the Teatro dei Differenti, he jumped at the opportunity to revisit the theatre and reacquaint himself with the building which has not seen since the extensive renovations during the 80’s
Bruno Rigacci made his first professional appearance as a pianist at the age of 8. At the age of 13 he gave a recital at the Konzert Haus in Wien (one of his own compositions: “Danza di Napée” was in the program). His recital career continued throughout Europe and abroad as he continued to compose chamber music, symphonies, concertos and five operas. His seminal composition, “Ecuba” won the first prize in The Teatro dell’Opera in Rome Competition and was later performed there with great success. Another opera, “Professor King”, was produced at the Festival delle Notivà in Bergamo. It was with “Professor King” that Maestro Rigacci first mounted the podium in what was to become a long and successful career as a conductor.
Maestro Rigacci has Master’s Degrees in Pianoforte (A.Casella), Composition (V.Frazzi), Opera Singing, Choral Singing, and Conducting (A.Guarnieri). From 1942-1982 he was Professor of Orchestral Reading at the Conservatorio Cherubini in Florence. In 1943 he founded and conducted the Chamber Orchestra of Florence. In 1956 he was awarded the “Orfeo d’argento” for conductors. In 1970 he became a member of the faculty of the Philadelphia Musical Academy where he taught opera and conducting and in 1974 he was made Musical Director of The Philadelphia Music Theatre. He also taught opera at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (1974) and later at the James Madison University. In 1957, after his triumph conducting “Il Tovatore” at the Royal Opera Theater in Stockholm, he was appointed conductor for the Italian repertoire there. He was subsequently invited by Maggio Musicale Fiorentino to conduct “Orlando” by Handel (1959) and “Euridice” by Peri (1960 and 1964). In 1958 he became the opera conductor for L’ Accademia Chigiana in Siena where, in 1966, he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Festival Settimane Musicali Senesi. From that time on, his name has appeared at the major opera houses of the world including Teatro dell’Opera Roma, La Scala Milano, San Carlo Napoli, Barcelona, New York, Festival Las Palmas, Le Caire, Wexford, Oslo, Bilbao, Toronto, Pittsburg and San Diego, where he was the principal conductor form 1980 to 1984. From 1974 to 1980 Maestro Rigacci was Artistic Director of the Festival Opera Barga, Italy, reviving numerous obscure operas of Donizetti, Rossini, Raimondi, Walton, Adam de la Halle, Ravel, Satie etc.
In 1992 and 1993 Maestro Rigacci was Guest Professor at The Operahögskolan in Stockholm, at The Göteberg Opera House and later at The Musikaliska Akademie in Stockholm. He taught Opera Conducting at Spazio Musica in Orvieto (Italy) from 1955 to 1999 and he has most recently given Master Classes in Opera for Singers and Conductors in New York City, at The International Vocal Art Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel as well as in Chiari, Italy, at Daniel Ferro’s Vocal Program in Greve, in Spoleto and at the European Mozart Foundation in Mala Vies, Warsaw. Since 1985 he has been invited by some of the most important international music associations to give conference-concerts dedicated to the musical and dramatic interpretation of the operas of Verdi and Puccini.
Maestro Rigacci’s repertoire includes more than one hundred operas by composers from the 16th to the 21st century, with particular attention to the Italian repertoire. He is a honorary member of L’Accademia Nazionale Cherubini in Florence and L’Accademia Nazionale Filarmonia in Bologna.
Maestro Rigacci is also the recipient of a special prize from L’Accademia Internationale “Le Muse” for his career as a conductor and from L’Accademia Medicea in Florence. His name appears in Who’s Who in Opera, Who’s Who in Music – Dizionario Ricordi della musica e dei musicisti, Enciclopedia Garzanti della musica, UTET – Dizionario enciclopedico della musica e dei musicisti. His name has appeared in Schmidi Dizionario dei musicisti since he was 10 years old. – source
Il direttore d’orchestra Bruno Rigacci è tornato a Barga dopo anni di assenza. Il motivo della sua visita è stata la partecipazione al concerto del figlio, Pietro Rigacci, che ha portato a Barga Chopin nell’ambito dell’iniziativa “incontri con l’artista” promossa da Massimo Salotti, pianista e direttore della scuola Civica di Musica Barga.
Il maestro Rigacci è legato a Barga per essere stato, a partire dagli anni ’70 e per un lungo periodo, il direttore musicale di Opera Barga, che ancora ricorda con grande affetto.
E per questo ha molto gradito una visita al Teatro dei Differenti, nel quale non entrava dagli anni Ottanta, quando cioè fu chiuso per restauri.
Il maestro si è intrattenuto con Massimo Salotti parlando del suo ultimo libro, “Le tradizioni dell’opera italiana – ovvero quando la tradizione tradisce l’idea”, nel quale prende in considerazione gli errori in cui incorrono i moderni cantanti d’Opera travisando il pensiero originario dei compositori.