Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. On behalf of the entire crew, I'd like to thank you for flying Air OC. In just a few moments we'll be beginning our descent into Hawtville. Temperature: Scalding. Population: Daniele Rustioni.
If OC was Antonio Pappano, that's how she would start each morning with her brooding young Milanese conducting assistant, Rustioni. Although he'd definitely become my Starbucks-fetcher -- for the record, Daniele, I take my coffee Miranda Priestly style: tall latte with two raw sugars.
Class of 1983, the 28-year-old Italian has already been performing at Italy's biggest houses -- La Scala, La Fenice, Bologna Comunale, and Verona's Arena after studying at Milan's Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi and Accadamia Teatro alla Scala and assisting the great Gianluigi Gelmetti (like one of OC's other favorite young hawt pieces, Alessandro Cadario) and Gianandrea Noseda of Torino's Teatro Regio. He's currently Antonio Pappano's assistant in London at the Royal Opera House, where he'll be making his house debut in April with David McVicar's Aida.
He's been living in London since 2006, long enough to affect a sexy British accent which he probably uses to seduce his Italian violinist girlfriend, Francesca Dego, class of 1989. His mom's a contralto in Milan's excellent LaVerdi chorus. But don't get excited over the "Bunga Bunga" slang in the Vanity Fair article title: it refers to Mark-Anthony Turnage's February Anna Nicole opera which Rustioni oversaw as Pappano's Short Round.
So is there lots of competition between all these fine young conductors? Rustioni answered: "There's also a sort of fellowship, it's not true that we're all distrustful of each other. I'm totally tied to Pappano and Noseda, and I'm all about Dudamel. There's just so much to learn from others. Yeah, there's jealousy: but those who you thought of immediately already come with that reputation. But I can calm everyone down -- I'm not the son of anyone famous, i have no agenda. I've had the fortune to be sustained by so many great conductors who i've already assisted, and they've all helped me."