With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first trip to New York with its new, busy (and injury-plagued) music director, the one cancellation New York audiences have been collectively dreading is that of Maestro Muti. Which is why, when Carnegie Hall sent out an e-mail with the subject “Artist Update: Chicago Symphony Orchestra,” we momentarily held our breaths.
The good news is that Riccardo Muti will still lead the weekend’s performances, including the April 15 concert version of Verdi’s Otello (a welcome musical treat after Muti’s ravishing account of Attila at the Met last year, his debut with the company). Unfortunately, the young baritone Nicola Alaimo will not be singing the villainous role of Iago. Due to an ear infection, Alaimo will cancel his appearances with the orchestra both in Chicago and New York.
Alaimo’s compatriot and Verdian stalwart Carlo Guelfi, will take his place on the 15th. Heard at the Met over the last ten years in roles including Rigoletto and Scarpia, Guelfi last sang Iago at Lincoln Center opposite Johan Botha’s Otello and Renée Fleming’s Desdemona in 2008.
You can get a taste of Guelfi’s Iago below, courtesy of his 2009 CD My Arias, with the character’s famous aria, “Credo in un Dio crudel.”