Franco Abbiati awards for opera direction and set design go to Greeks

Two prominent Greek artists were the recipients of the 2001-2002 Franco Abbiati award for opera staging. The 22-year-old coveted prize, awarded by Italy’s music critics association, was bestowed upon Thomas Moschopoulos for opera direction and to Dionysis Fotopoulos for set design. Both Greek artists participated in the staging of Guiseppe Verdi’s «Macbeth,» at the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds last June. According to the association, the pair were singled out for Moschopoulos’s particularly tragic intensity in direction and Fotopoulos’s rich repertoire of staging ideas, ranging from overtones of Greek myth and allusions to Italian painting, to a bare, restless and imposing stage setting. Established in 1980, the Franco Abbiati Critics Award takes its name from one of Italy’s most important music professionals. The strict selection and impartial criteria adopted in electing the winners, who are, in turn, chosen from opera’s broad range of specializations – conducting, direction, set design and singing, among other categories – has given the award an international glow and authority. Previous recipients of the director’s award, for instance, include Giorgio Strehler, Luca Ronconi, Patrice Chereau, Franco Zeffirelli and Luciano Damiani, among others. The list is equally impressive in the conductors department, with names such as Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Maurizio Pollini, Riccardo Muti and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, to name a few, while the list of awarded interpreters includes Alfredo Kraus, Renata Scotto, Mirella Freni, Marilyn Horn and Edita Gruberova.