Festival dei Due Mondi - Spoleto - Thomas Schippers

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Festival dei Due Mondi - Spoleto

The announcement of the first Festival dei due Mondi was given by Menotti and Schippers on February 25, 1958. Menotti was President of the Festival Foundation and Schippers was the Musical Director, a position he maintained for many years thereafter.  On June 5, 1958 the first edition of the Festival took place in Spoleto Italy. Menotti was aware that he had entrusted the much-awaited opening of the first Festival to so young a conductor who would be directing such a demanding score and, as if that were not enough, was an American! It could have been considered somewhat risky, to say the least. But in the end, Menotti’s sixth sense for choosing his performers served him well as it often did. The hugely successful opening opera was Macbeth conducted by Schippers with scenes by Luchino Visconti. Rave reviews of Schippers were received even from the Italian press which upheld, at least at that time, the extraordinary concept that only Italians had the legitimate right to conduct Verdi.
He continued his involvement with the Festival dei Due Mondi for several years, conducting many memorable operas and closing concerts. On July 13, 1975 Schippers conducted the closing concert on the Piazza del Duomo for the last time performing the Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi and the Gloria by Francis Poulenc.  Schippers’s position as Musical Director and unofficial superstar of the Festival was at an end.  
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