“Conductor Riccardo Muti has once again reopened the Italian musical season in his adopted hometown of Ravenna after another … round of pandemic closures,” writes Colleen Barry in Monday’s (5/10) Associated Press. “The 79-year-old Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director on Sunday ended what has been an unexpectedly long silence in Italian theaters, enrapturing a socially distanced and masked audience with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s first live performances since the fall…. The concerts … served as a precursor to the summertime Ravenna Festival, this year celebrating the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death.… During this year, Muti has been unable to return to the CSO…. Muti said he hopes to be back in Chicago by the fall…. Muti called the experience of the past year ‘an unnatural global experiment’ that had ‘stunned’ the world…. Muti is plunging back into concert life…. With a regime of daily virus testing, the Vienna Philharmonic played without masks, spaced at least a meter apart…. Muti has appealed to Italy’s culture minister to fund more orchestras, encouraged by the commitment he saw working in cities like Turin and Palermo this pandemic year bound largely to Italy… ‘Their response was excellent, and this gives me hope,’ he said.”