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Roman Trilogy

Twenty-five-year-old Italian conductor Andrea Battistoni has been acclaimed by some as a talent that the world witnesses only every half century. In 2012 when he directed young soloists, chorus and the historic Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Verdi's patriotic opera Nabucco in Tokyo, presented by the renowned Tokyo Nikikai Opera (founded in 1952), Battistoni enthralled Japanese opera fans with his electrifying yet well-nuanced rendition of Verdi's score.

Following his triumphant Japan debut, Battistoni returns to Tokyo in late May 2013 to collaborate with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in presenting two concerts of Respighi's best-known trilogy of vibrantly and colorfully orchestrated Roman poems, Roman Trilogy. These magnificent works, evocative of Roman history, nature and life, were written between 1915 and 1928 when Respighi, a native of Bologna and one-time student of Rimsky-Korsakov, became a teacher of composition at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome and settled in 1913 in a villa in Monte Mario overlooking the city.

Verona-born Battistoni studied cello in Verona before training as a conductor under the direction of Enno Nicotra in Russia, Gabriele Ferro in Florence and Gianandrea Noseda in Stresa, Italy. In 2008 he debuted as orchestral conductor at the prestigious Michelangeli International Music Festival in Bergamo, and that same year, made his opera debut, directing Puccini's opera about youthful love, La bohème, at Theater Basel in Switzerland.

Since then he has won acclaim for his performance of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony, Pathétique, with the Teatro Verdi Orchestra in Trieste as well as his conducting of Puccini and Verdi operas at major theatres and music festivals in Italy. After becoming principal guest conductor at the Teatro Regio di Parma in 2011, he made two more successful debuts in 2012, directing Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the Teatro alla Scala and also directing the Deutsche Oper Berlin Orchestra in a concert performance of Verdi's Il Trovatore in Berlin.

At 7pm On Thursday 30 May 2013 at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Battistoni and the Tokyo Philharmonic will perform Respighi's first symphonic tone poem Le fontane di Roma (1917) which describes four fountains such as the monumental Baroque Trevi Fountain at noon and the Renaissance Villa Medici Fountain (which is a large granite basin) at sunset. They will also perform the composer's second installment, I pini di Roma (1924) depicting pines at four places, including those near a dark catacomb and those along the ancient Appian Way, with the sound of soldiers stomping.

They conclude the concert with the last and longest of the trilogy: Feste romane of 1928. It presents four historic Roman scenes, musically, including the first movement Circenses ('Circuses'), which describes gladiators' fierce battle against beasts at the Roman Empire's arena; the second movement Giubileo ('Jubilee') that depicts pilgrims travelling to Rome for a festival; the third movement L'Ottobrata ('October Festival') which is the portrayal of the celebration of autumn harvest; and the fourth movement La Befana ('the Epiphany'), evocative of Stravinsky's Petrushka, influenced by Rimsky-Korsakov, portrays the rollicking crowds dancing and drinking for the celebration in the city square Piazza Navona.

At 7pm on Friday 31 May 2013 at Tokyo's Suntory Hall, Battistoni and the Philharmonic will repeat the same program.


Posted: 10 May 2013 by Nobuko Yamazaki

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