In Monday’s (6/29) Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein writes, “Among the big names paying homage to the late Michael Jackson is—Riccardo Muti? Yes, indeed. The Italian maestro, who is music director designate of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, told Milan’s Corriere della Sera that he is a Jackson fan. Of sorts. ‘He is, without a doubt, one of the most legendary, controversial, and beloved singers of all time,’ said Muti. ‘His controversial story, his weaknesses, [his] restlessness and exhausted final days remind me of the lives of the great castrati like Caffarelli of Farinelli, who [also] became objects of adoration and idolatry. And they often became victims of this adoration.’ (Muti might have added that these famed Italian classical singers of the 18th Century also went in for surgery, albeit of a more radical kind than Jackson did.) Did the maestro ever dance to one of Jackson’s songs? ‘No,’ replied Muti, tersely. ‘I don’t dance.’ ”

Photo of Riccardo Muti by Todd Rosenberg

Posted June 29, 2009