PEAK PERFOR MANCE

Thus spoke Fabio the Fabulous: Art is many things.

It’s a message. Art makes us think, reflect on ourselves. It’s a mirror where we can see ourselves.

Also, beauty is contingent to the message we want to send, but the message alone is not enough.”

 It’s clear that Fabio Luisi, new music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra,

is a maestro with a mind both strong and subtle—an intellectual really—who sees music and all the arts as essential to understanding our world and ourselves.

“I like theater,” he said. “Theater itself and music theater…in their plots, in their problems [we explore] how can we think about our own problems. [They are] concentrated in the piece.

That is the message.” The message, then, is the mirror, the prism through which, for “thousands of years,” he continued, humankind has grappled with “love, passion, power, money.”

“New work,” he insisted, “is important to express our own time…to describe those passions.”

Otherwise, he asked, “How do we find solutions?” Fabio Luisi could find no solution last summer to a conflict with the new management of the Maggio Musicale Festival in Florence.

PEAK PERFOR MANCE So he abruptly resigned as music director.

The trouble was not Matteo Salvini, bad boy at the time of Italian politics. It was “meddling” by local politicians.

“If you have been hired for a job,” Luisi asserted, “I have to do my job.… I have the right to decide

by myself.…Politicians don’t have cognitive [grasp of what we are doing].

They want to change agendas, decisions, plans. I am a fighter, but I only fight if I can win.”

As for critics, he wins more often than not, with rapturous reviews of his work on the podium.

PEAK PERFOR MANCE Even so, he is “very skeptical,” he explained. “It always depends on preparation.

Does [the critic] know what he or she is talking about? To say it was good or bad is not enough.

They must understand what we have done and why. [Then] they can be a partner to an artist. They can illuminate what we cannot see.”

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