(Above: Marcello and Wilma Giordani with Nicola Luisotti and Paolo Spadaccini [right], President of the Foundazione Festival Pucciniano. Credit: Cory Weaver)
Well-dressed Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti received the 39th Premio Puccini award after a historic, 100th anniversary performance of Giacomo Puccini's La Fanciulla del West at NYC's Metropolitan Opera last night: La Fanciulla was commissioned and premiered by/at The Metropolitan Opera on December 10, 1910 and starred Enrico Caruso and Emmy Destinn, conducted by Arturo Toscanini.
As current Music Director at the San Francisco Opera, the Tuscan-born Italian Maestro Luisotti is on the East Coast to conduct the current run of La Fanciulla (in Giancarlo del Monaco's production), culminating in a final January 8, 2011 performance that's slated for the MET's live HD broadcast series.
Really, what better choice for the Premio Puccini to be given to the man whose great, great uncle used to chill with Puccini at Lago di Massaciuccoli (OC spoke to the Maestro almost one year ago -- you can read the full interview here) and has worked hard through posts held at Milan's La Scala, Florence's Maggio Musicale, and Venice's La Fenice (and singing in the chorus of the annual Torre del Lago Puccini Festival)?
Maestro Luisotti was the guest of honor at a special reception after the performance on Friday night where he was presented with the award by President of the Fondazione Festival Pucciniano, Paolo Spadaccini. The award has been around since 1971 and has been presented to a handful of opera celebs like Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Pavarotti, Josè Carreras, Renata Scotto, Mirella Freni, and Renata Tebaldi. All photos below credit to Cory Weaver. Compliments to the Maestro!
(Above: Luisotti with Angela Lansbury)
(Luisotti with Dan Rather)
(Luisotti with Walfredo and Elaine Toscanini, Arturo's grandson)