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Alberto Zedda

Alberto Zedda is the eighty-five-year-old Italian conductor, musicologist and Rossini specialist who has enthralled Japanese opera fans with his ebullient performances of Rossini operas, showing interpretive depth and superhuman feel, described by some as 'Zedda's magic'. But Zedda is also renowned for his brilliant rendition of symphonic works. In 2012, when he led the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in Mendelssohn's vivacious Italian Symphony, he electrified Japanese classical music fans with his energetic and exuberant performance of Mendelssohn's score.

In September 2013 Zedda returns to Tokyo to conduct the Tokyo Philharmonic in a performance of Italian landscape-inspired works - Vivaldi's masterpiece Le Quattro staggioni ('Four Seasons'), featuring up-and-coming Japanese violin soloist Fumiaki Miura as well as Richard Strauss' delightfully orchestrated Italian poem, Aus Italien. In addition, they will present a programme including one of Rossini's finest overtures, Semiramide, Stravinsky's comic dance piece Pulcinella Suite and Mendelssohn's somber Third Symphony, the Scottish.

Milan-born Zedda studied humanities at the University of Milan before training as a conductor under the direction of Antonino Votto and Carlo Maria Giulini at the Milan Conservatory. In 1957, after making his debut directing Rossini's popular opera Il barbiere di Siviglio in Milan, he won first prize at the International Italian Radio and Television Competition for Young Conductors for his rendition of Stravinsky's dramatic dance piece Petrushka in Rome. Zedda, who taught at Cincinnati College of Music in the USA before performing Italian repertoire with such international groups as New York City Opera, won acclaim for his critical edition of Rossini's opera Il barbiere di Siviglio, performed at Teatro alla Scala in 1968, published in 1969 in Milan, based on the composer's autograph and stripped of the extraneous orchestration of the published score.

In 1975 Zedda made his debut directing Rossini's opera Il barbiere di Siviglio at London's Royal Opera House and in 1979 he published his edition of Rossini's opera about the rescue of an innocent victim, La gazza ladra, which was premiered during the inaugural season of the Rossini Opera Festival, founded in 1980 in the composer's birthplace, Pesaro. Zedda performed Rossini's neglected operas in critical editions there, including his version of the tragic Babylonian queen Semiramide, slightly evocative of Shakespeare's drama Hamlet, and contributed greatly to the festival's success. Since becoming the festival's artistic director in 2001, Zedda has won popularity for his conducting of Rossini's operas - Semiramide, produced by Antwerp's Vlaamse Opera at the Edinburgh Festival, and La gazza ladra and Il barbiere di Siviglio by Japan's oldest troupe Fujiwara Opera (founded in 1934) in Tokyo, with the Tokyo Philharmonic. Zedda has also made successful recordings of such rarely-performed works as Vivaldi's oratorio Juditha Triumphans, Pergolesi's comic opera La serva padrona, Clementi's C major Piano Concerto and Prokofiev's Sinfonietta in A major, and has brought Respighi's lesser-known work La Boutique Fantasque to Tokyo.

At 7pm on Thursday 19 September 2013 at Tokyo Opera City Hall, Zedda and the Tokyo Philharmonic will perform Vivaldi's Le Quattro staggioni (Violin Concertos Op 8 Nos 1-4) with twenty-year-old Fumiaki Miura, who won first prize at the 2009 Joseph Joachin International Violin Competition in Hannover, Germany, before making his debut performing Vivaldi's Four Seasons as soloist at the 5th Eilat Chamber Music Festival in Israeli resort Eilat in 2010. Zedda and the Philharmonic will also perform Richard Strauss' picturesque Aus Italien, a 'Symphonic fantasy' in G major, Op 16 of 1886 which describes, musically, four Italian landscapes, including the ruins of Rome, the sunny Sorrento beach and scenes from Neapolitan life, featuring Denza's catchy tune Funiculi Funicula.

There will be a repeat performance at 7pm on Friday 20 September 2013 at Tokyo's Suntory Hall. At 3pm on Sunday 22 September 2013 at Tokyo Bunkamura Orchard Hall, Zedda and the Tokyo Philharmonic will begin with Rossini's Semiramide Overture of 1823. They will also perform Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite of 1922, the composer's total reworking of the eighteenth century music attributed to Pergolesi, portraying a comic tale of jealous lovers, mistaken identities, magician's resuscitation and weddings. They conclude the concert with Mendelssohn's Third Symphony in A minor, the Scottish, of 1831-42, the four-movement composition portraying the ruins of Queen Mary's Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh and heart-warming country folks.

Information: www.tpo.or.jp

Posted: 8 August 2013 by Nobuko Yamazaki

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