The last time Riccardo Muti was scheduled to conduct in Philadelphia he called in sick, but there was also a nasty rumor going around that he was seen vacationing on the French Riviera. Where ever he was it didn’t sway his Philly fans or his Philly detractors, who got to know him when he was Maestro t’ amour with the Fabulous Philadelphians.
Muti gave the a familiar wave to his Philly audience last night in Verizon Hall with the New York Philharmonic, before conducting an uneven program of Liszt, Elgar and Prokofiev. It’s been a couple of decades since his tenure at the Academy, but Muti just looked a bit older and, most important, still has the maestrodivo hair. I finally remembered where I had seen that sneaky wave during the Prokofiev. It was the one The French Connection gave to Gene Hackman from the subway.