On May 17, Music Director Nicola Luisotti will lead the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in a concert featuring the music of Puccini, Brahms and Nino Rota. Think You've never heard of him? Think again. This blog post will explain why you are probably more familiar with Nino Rota than you thought you were...and why you've just got to check out the SF Opera Orchestra concert at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley featuring pianist Giuseppe Albanese performing Rota's Piano Concerto in C.
[Left: Composer Nino Rota]
Any Fellini fans out there? One of the things that give films like “La Strada,” “8½” and “Juliet of the Spirit” that Felliniesque
quality are their remarkable scores by Nino Rota (1911-1979), the brilliant child prodigy who was a protégé of the great Toscanini, a friend of Aaron Copland, and an admirer of George Gershwin.His work is widely familiar not just because of Fellini: he worked with other greats like Zeffirelli and Visconti, and his music for Coppola’s “The Godfather” ranks fifth on the American Film Institute’s ranking of all-time greatest movie scores.
But he was an accomplished composer of concert rep also, most notably his three piano concertos, full of wit and bristling with the kind of vital energy that reminds me of Shostakovich. The Concerto in C Major
is a glittering showpiece that features wonderfully simple, lyrical melodies juxtaposed with cheeky, brassy exuberance. Rota was a potent revitalizing force in mid-Twentieth Century Italian music, and our dynamic Music Director, Maestro Nicola Luisotti, seems just the person to show us why
Above: Pianist Giuseppe Albanese, who will perform the Rota concerto on May 17.