James Conlon Launches Three-Year Cycle of Mozart's Da Ponte Operas at The Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy

James Conlon
Shuman Associates

James Conlon returns to the original Spoleto Festival, the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds), in Spoleto, Italy – where he conducted his first opera more than 40 years ago – to lead Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte.  The opera launches a three-year cycle of Mozart’s trilogy of operas with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, including Cosi fan Tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Don Giovanni.

Cosi fan Tutte opens the 2015 Festival dei Due Mondi on June 26, with subsequent performances taking place on June 28 and 29. Mr. Conlon will conduct the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, a leading apprentice orchestra in Italy founded by Ricardo Muti in 2004, in performances of the operas, marking the festival’s first multi-year project with an orchestra. All three operas will be directed by Giorgio Ferrara, director of theater and film, and artistic director of the festival, with sets and costumes by Oscar winners Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo (The Aviator, Sweeney Todd and Hugo). 

This engagement with the Festival dei Due Mondi brings Mr. Conlon full circle, as the festival was where he conducted his first opera, at age 21, while still a student at Juilliard.  Mr. Conlon's first visit to Europe was in 1970 when the Juilliard Orchestra was engaged to play for the festival. The following year he returned as assistant conductor and led a single performance of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, marking his first public appearance conducting an opera.

Founded in 1958 by Gian Carlo Menotti, the Festival dei Due Mondi is a multi-genre festival presenting opera, classical music, theater and dance. Throughout the 1970s, Mr. Conlon worked with Menotti both at the Spoleto Festival and Juilliard, where they also collaborated on a revised version of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra. Since 1995, James Conlon has returned to the festival for numerous guest conducting engagements.

Read more about the festival here