Riccardo Muti has weighed in on the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra’s situation releasing a statement in support of the orchestra.
Muti said, “The closure of the Metropolitan Opera House and the dramatic situation of its wonderful Orchestra embodies a profound grief, not only for the city of New York, but for the entire cultural world. Without music and the musicians who bring it to life, civil society is doomed to spiritual poverty and barbarism. Music is not entertainment, but rather, an essential food for the mind and soul.”
He continued, “The Met, its Orchestra, along with its artistic team and technical crews are a heritage of humanity. The artistic world is in disbelief that the very existence of a great Orchestra like the Met’s could be in danger and even at the risk of disappearing.”
Muto also asked as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and as a citizen of the world, “to give back to the musicians of the Met the dignity which we all deserve and the hope that they can soon return to share with us their art.”
He concluded his letter asking all to support the musicians during this difficult moment so that the Met’s history would not end in catastrophe.
Muti has been outspoken during the pandemic appealing to governments and working to ensure the survival of the arts. During the 2020 Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Eve gala, the conductor gave a heartfelt speech about the meaning of music and the survival of the arts.
Muti’s letter comes days after the Met’s New Year’s Eve gala which caused a controversy over the hiring of musicians not associated with the company. It also comes days after the company announced a fundraising campaign alongside Yannick Nezet-Seguin.