Francesco Cilluffo

Conductor & composer


Principal Guest Conductor of the Wexford Festival Opera


«A stylish conductor» (The Times)

«Cilluffo: keep an eye on him. He is the conductor of the future» (La Stampa)

«An instinctive feeling for Italianate lyricism» (New York Times)

«A young conductor, but balanced as a veteran» (Corriere della Sera)


Forthcoming engagements

'Tosca' at the Grange Festival (England)

After the successful appearances in Verdi’s Requiem, Falstaff and Macbeth and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, in Summer 2024 Francesco will return to the Grange Festival to conduct a new production of Puccini’s Tosca, with Christopher Luscombe directing. As always, the world-class Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will be in the pit.

 

Dates of performances: 8, 15, 21, 26, 30 June, 5 July 2024

 

 

 

 

  

 

Busoni and Respighi with LaToscanini for the Toscanini Festival

In June 2024 Francesco Cilluffo will return to the podium of LaToscanini Orchestra to conduct Busonis Violin Concerto (with Francesca Dego) and Respighis Trittico botticelliano and Gli uccelli.

 

Date of the concert: 14 June 2024, Parma, Teatro Due, Arena Shakespeare

 

 

 

 

 

Leoncavallo’s 'Pagliacci' at Opera Holland Park (London)

After conducting Isabeau in 2018, and Margot la rouge / Le Villi in 2022 Francesco Cilluffo will return to Opera Holland Park to conduct Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci under the direction of Martin-Lloyd Evans. David Butt Philip will make his role debut as Canio.

 

Dates of performances: 17, 20, 23, 25, 27, 30 July, 1 & 3 August 2024

 

 

 

Mascagni’s 'Le maschere' at the Wexford Festival Opera

In October-November 2023, his fourth year as Principal Guest Conductor, Francesco Cilluffo will conduct the Mascagni’s Le maschere at the Wexford Festival Opera in a new production by Stefano Ricci.

 

Dates of performances: 18, 23, 26 and 31 October 2024

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'Tosca' at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari

In December 2024 Francesco will make his debut at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari to conduct Puccini’s Tosca to close the 2024 season in the Puccini year, in the production by Hugo De Ana.

 

Dates of performances: 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29 December 2024

Recent successes

Sibelius, Bruch and Sciortino with LaToscanini in Piacenza and Parma

For his return to the podium of La Toscanini Orchestra of Parma in February 2024, Francesco conducted a symphonic program featuring Sibelius’ Symphony no.1, Bruchs Violin concerto no.1 (with Charlie Siem as soloist) and the world premiere of Sciortinos Grande Bagattella. The program has been performed at the Teatro Municipale in Piacenza and at the Auditorium Paganini in Parma.

 

 

Boito’s Nerone for the 2024 season’s opening in Cagliari

In February 2024, after the success of the 2023 season opening with Cilèas Gloria, Francesco Cilluffo opened the 2024 season of the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari with Boitos Nerone, 100 years after its world premiere at La Scala in Milan under Arturo Toscanini. The new production was directed by Fabio Ceresa.

 

 «The credit is primarily due to Francesco Cilluffo, High Priest of Italian opera between Verdi and Puccini, who was so convinced by Boito that he also convinced the excellent Orchestra» (Il Foglio)

 «Confronted with this angular, rumbling, but also silky and moving magma of sound (especially in the last act), Francesco Cilluffo leaves nothing to the side, at the head of the house orchestra, from which he draws lush sonorities. He deserves the highest praise of all the artists involved in this production.» (Opéra magazine)

 «Nerone has always required conductors of supreme technical expertise: Francesco Cilluffo possesses an exceptionally precise arm and a cast-iron mastery of the whole thing.» (Il Sole 24 ore)

 «The conductor produces this analytical exploration with palpable passion, as well as seriousness and taste» (Il Corriere della Sera)

 « The conductor from Turin knows and loves this music very well, and is capable of bringing out its merits and masking some of its shortcomings, with a mastery that is both technical and, how shall we say, ‘spiritual’. [...] Hence a choice of tempos that is entirely elastic and calibrated to the needs of the different singers, an evocative timbric range, and an absence of dynamic or agogic excesses.» (Rivista Musica)

 «Francesco Cilluffo did a magnificent job with the chorus and and orchestra at their best [...]: painstaking analysis of the harmonic progressions; great imagination in the dynamic pulses; [...] rhythmic clarity and very tight narrative flow, in which melodic elegances unfold with intense sensitivity» (Classic Voice)

 

Verdi’s 'Falstaff' at the Theater Kiel

In December 2023 Francesco Cilluffo returned to the Theater Kiel (after having conducted Nabucco there in 2015) for a new production of Verdis Falstaff, staged by Luise Kautz.

 

 «With Italian fire and passion, conductor Francesco Cilluffo plunges into the score of Verdi's Commedia lirica, unreservedly and trustingly accompanied by the Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra. Orchestra too loud? No!» (Opernglas)

 «The Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of guest conductor Francesco Cilluffo from Turin realised Verdi's final master score in a wonderfully feverish, mercurially nimble way, but also beautiful and poignant in terms of sound and onomatopoeia.» (Kieler Nachrichten)

 

Tutino’s 'La Ciociara' at the Wexford Festival Opera

In October-November 2023, his third year as Principal Guest Conductor, Francesco Cilluffo conducted the Irish premiere of Tutino’s La Ciociara at the Wexford Festival Opera in a new production by Rosetta Cucchi. Commissioned by the San Francisco Opera and premiered in 2015, La Ciociara is based on true events happened in Italy at the end of the Second World War.

 

 «Wexford regular Francesco Cilluffo did a magnificent job conducting the orchestra, keeping the tension going in Tutino's relentlessly impassioned score» (Bachtrack)

 «In the pit, Francesco Cilluffo whips up a storm in Tutino’s flamboyant score» (The Irish Times)

 «Francesco Cilluffo [...] draws playing from the orchestra that is fierce and focused» (The Stage)

 «Francesco Cilluffo's conducting, aiming at a symphonic treatment of colours, dynamics and themes [...] passionate in its narrative flair, theatrical, plastic and not merely effect-oriented» (L'Ape Musicale)

 

Watch the full performance on Arte.tv!

  

'Madama Butterfly' at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago

In July-August 2023, Francesco Cilluffo made his debut at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago conducting Madama Butterfly in a new production by Pier Luigi Pizzi.

 

 «Particular praise to Francesco Cilluffo, who conducts the Puccini Festival Orchestra in a reading that is fluent but introspective, attentive to every timbre and engaging in its adherence, like a glove, to Puccini's music.» (Corriere della Sera- Florence)

 «[...] breathy tempi and shrewdness of interpretation» (La Repubblica)

 «[...] the engaging conducting of Francesco Cilluffo» (Il Sole 24 ore)

 «Francesco Cilluffo's direction [...] ensures both proper communication between stage and pit and valuable support for the soloists. Cilluffo beautifully renders the many coloristic preciousnesses of the score.» (L'Ape musicale)

 «[Cilluffo] gave the third act a dramatic compactness that is sometimes lacking.» (OperaClick)

 

'Le nozze di Figaro' and 'Ein deutsches Requiem' at the Volksoper in Vienna

In March-April 2023 Francesco Cilluffo made his Vienna debut conducting performances of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro (prod. Marelli) and Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem (prod.  Schläpfer) at the Volksoper Wien.

 

 

 

Cilèa’s 'Gloria' for the 2023 season's opening of the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari

In February 2023 Francesco Cilluffo opened the 2023 season of the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari conducting Cilèa’s rare opera Gloria in a new production by Antonio Albanese.

 

 «Francesco Cilluffo, who like no other conductor today has the knack for operatic rarities and the ability to bring them to light with culture and musical sensitivity, finds that perfect balance between theatrical emphasis and precious orchestral detail that is the only key to give justice - today - to this kind of operas; [...] the management of the large orchestral forces is impeccable, as is the support given to the singers.» (Rivista Musica)

 «Francesco Cilluffo [...] produced a very impressive reading from the Orchestra del Teatro Lirico [...] driving it with energy and clarity, successfully shaping it to highlight the significant dramatic points yet without compromising its rich melodic fabric [...]. Cilluffo also displayed acute sensitivity in managing the balance between the stage and the pit. The singers were provided with strong support throughout.» (OperaWire)

 «Cilluffo and a dazzling Orchestra del Lirico offered a rich palette of colors and dynamics, the sumptuousness of the strings in the aria 'Fonte muta', the gloom of certain themes, the clangor of the brass in the finale of Act I.» (L'Ape Musicale)

 

Stravinsky, Scriabin and Rimsky with the Arena di Verona Orchestra & Choir

In November 2022 Francesco Cilluffo made his debut at the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona conducting 2 symphonic concerts in the symphonic season of the Orchestra and Choir of the Fondazione Arena di Verona.

The program featured Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, Scriabin's Piano concerto op.20 (with Edoardo Maria Strabbioli) and Rimsky-Korsakov's Symphonic suite from "The Golden Cockerel" ("Le Coq d'or")

 

 «Francesco Cilluffo, young and talented conductor, has given a performance full of passion and vigor.» (GB Opera)

 «It is with the suite from Rimsky-Korsakov's 'The Golden Cockerel' that Cilluffo plays his best cards, bringing out the highly surreal and parodistic side of the composition.» (OperaClick)

 

Halévy’s 'La Tempesta' at the Wexford Festival Opera

In October-November 2022, his second year as Principal Guest Conductor, Francesco Cilluffo conducted the modern premiere of Halévy’s La Tempesta at the Wexford Festival Opera. Written in Italian after Shakespeare’s The Tempest, it was first performed in London in June 1850. It has been presented in a new production by Roberto Catalano. 

 

 «Confident and focused, Italian conductor Francesco Cilluffo once again demonstrates why he is in increasing international demand.» (The Stage)

 «The evening’s most consistent interest came from the pit, where conductor Francesco Cilluffo revelled in the resourcefulness of Halévy’s orchestration and his sense of his chromatic adventure.» (The Irish Times)

 «Principal guest conductor of the Festival, Francesco Cilluffo delivers a quality performance and serves the score perfectly, highlighting its peculiarities and suggestions yet without compromising the theatrical narration, which in fact remains flowing and varied.» (L'Ape Musicale)

 

Watch the full performance on Arte.tv!

 

Puccini’s 'Le Villi' / Delius’ 'Margot la Rouge' at Opera Holland Park (London)

Following his highly praised Isabeau in 2018, in summer 2022 Francesco Cilluffo returned to Opera Holland Park to conduct a double bill of two rare Verismo operas, both written for the Sonzogno Competition: Puccini’s Le Villi and Delius’ Margot la Rouge, under the direction of Martin-Lloyd Evans. 

 

 «The City of London Sinfonia […] fierily conducted by Francesco Cilluffo.» (The Times)

 «Both operas are idiomatically well served by the City of London Sinfonia and their crisp conductor Francesco Cilluffo.» (The Telegraph)

 «The City of London Sinfonia was rousingly conducted by Francesco Cilluffo.» (Financial Times)

 «Francesco Cilluffo [...] conducts the City of London Sinfonia exuberantly yet sensitively.» (The Guardian)

 «Best of all is the conducting of rising star Francesco Cilluffo, in charge of the London City Sinfonia, who not only gives a strong overall interpretation of both works but homes in with consistent insight on the detail.» (The Stage)

 «Cilluffo’s conducting, energetic yet long-breathed, was imbued with every inch of the conviction necessary to lift such scores off the page.» (Seen and Heard) 

 

Verdi’s 'Macbeth' at the Grange Festival (England)

In the summer 2022, after Verdi’s Requiem and Falstaff and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Francesco returned to the Grange Festival to conduct a new production of Verdi’s Macbeth, with Maxine Braham directing. As always, the world-class Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra was in the pit.

 

 «Returning to The Grange, conductor Francesco Cilluffo once again shows his expertise in the 19th-century Italian repertoire, bringing energy and impetus to his task.» (The Stage)

 «Honours too for the BSO under Francesco Cilluffo [...], who fashions an unbroken dramatic line from first bar to last, while allowing soloists plenty of space for their moments in the sun and yet sustaining momentum with some hard driven, but exciting tempi. In short, a terrific production – not to be missed.» (Opera Today)

 «Francesco Cilluffo took the score at cracking pace [...], thanks to his sense of atmosphere, the tightness and momentum of the rhythms, and the starkly etched sonorities of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.» (Opera Magazine)

 

Catalani’s 'Edmea' at the Wexford Festival Opera

In his first year as Principal Guest Conductor, Francesco Cilluffo conducted Catalani’s Edmea at the Wexford Festival Opera. Edmea, much loved by Arturo Toscanini, was presented in a new production by Julia Burbach in October 2021.

 

 «Conductor Francesco Cilluffo ensures the music, so melodious and pleasing, grounds this half-sad, half-happy story in a cheering lyrical setting.» (Independent.ie)

 «Conductor Francesco Cilluffo did a first-rate job keeping cast, chorus and orchestra on track. I particularly enjoyed the orchestra’s performance of the Prelude to Act III […]. Cilluffo accompanied the singers beautifully, remaining flexible and creating a perfect balance of sound.» (Seen and Heard International)

 «Conductor Francesco Cilluffo did a terrific job in gleaning every bit of emotion out of the orchestra and co-ordinating perfectly with the singers. […]. This was a highly imaginative and original take on Catalani’s rarity.» (bachtrack.com)

 «The musical side of the production was in the hands of Francesco Cilluffo, who elicited a dramatically satisfying performance from the Orchestra of Wexford Festival Opera. Whist he successfully captured the tempestuous emotions which overwhelmed the characters, it was never at the expense of the engaging melodies which litter the score. It was also a lively and insightful reading, one which brought out the work’s contrasts and ambiguities. A good balance between the orchestral sections was maintained throughout, and he was supportive of the singers, who in turn responded with fine performances.» (Opera Wire)

 

Watch the full performance on Arte.tv!

 

Puccini’s 'Manon Lescaut' at the Grange Festival (England)

Following his Verdi’s Requiem in 2017 and his triumphant Falstaff in 2019, in June-July 2021 Francesco Cilluffo returned to the Grange Festival to conduct Puccini’s Manon Lescaut with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, in a new production by Stephen Lawless. 

 

 «Conductor Francesco Cilluffo attentively directed singers and chorus» (The Guardian) 

 «In the pit [...], the music throbbed and flowed. [Francesco Cilluffo's] view of Puccini is not polite, passion gusted around.» (Planet Hugill)

 «Francesco Cilluffo [...] demonstrates a secure understanding of the score» (The Stage)  

 

Symphonic concert with the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Parma

In February 2020 Francesco Cilluffo conducted a symphonic concert in the season of the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Parma. The program included music by Elgar, Schubert/Mahler, the Italian premiere of John Adams’ Absolute Jest (for string quartet and symphony orchestra) and the world premiere  of Fabio Massimo Capogrosso’s Beyond the limit.

 

Watch! Trailer of the concert

  

Symphonic concert with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in Dublin

In January 2020 Francesco Cilluffo made his debut on the podium of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in Dublin, Ireland's National Radio Symphony Orchestra. The program was an all-Russian music evening, featuring works by Glinka (Ruslan and Lyudmila) and Prokofiev (Lieutenant Kijé and Romeo and Juliet).

 

Listen! Glinka - Overture from Ruslan and Lyudmila

 

Verdi’s 'Aida' for OperaLombardia

In November-December 2019 Francesco Cilluffo returned to the OperaLombardia Circuit (AsLiCo) to conduct Verdi’s Aida in the historic production by Franco Zeffirelli designed for the Busseto Theater. The performances were held in Cremona, Pavia, Como, Brescia and Bergamo.

 

 «Francesco Cilluffo, on the podium, succeeds in conveying the many layers of the score: its exotic allusions, its colonial and French flavor […] and at the same time a strong narrative drive that keeps the attention engaged» (La Stampa)

 «The musical direction of Francesco Cilluffo was excellent: vibrant in the most vigorous orchestral moments, but never pompous or loud for its own sake, it also soars in a refined sustain of the singing during the most melodic moments» (Corriere della Sera)

 «A chamber-music rendition of the orchestration […] a reading without self-indulgent preciousness, but agile, dry and, when needed, resulting profound and solemn rather than magniloquent and loud» (L'ape musicale)

 «On the podium of the Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali, Francesco Cilluffo gives a reading that is vibrant and tense, at times with an almost-20th-century flavor […] expertly dosing the more triumphal parts with full and majestic sonorities that never come across as too loud or superficial, with soft orchestral brushstrokes and almost pearl-like sounds» (Connessi all'Opera)

 

'Falstaff' at the Grange Festival (England)

Following his debut at the Grange Festival with Verdi’s Requiem in 2017, in June 2019 Francesco Cilluffo conducted Verdi’s Falstaff with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, in a new production by Christopher Luscombe.  The show was hailed as one of the best of the Grange Festival to date: Opernwelt chose Francesco Cilluffo and this production of Falstaff as "best conductor" and "best production" of the 2019 London operatic season.

 

 «Conducted by the exceptional Francesco Cilluffo, Christopher Luscombe's production for The Grange Festival succeeds beyond any possible expectations. [...] The achievement of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Cilluffo’s taut direction is another prime reason for the show’s success: the score’s busy interior life is revealed with loving insight. [...] The famous ensembles, meanwhile, are breathtaking in their accuracy and élan.» (Financial Times)

 «Musical values are high thanks to Francesco Cilluffo’s swift, Toscanini-like tempo and disciplined yet flexible drilling of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.» (The Sunday Times)

 «As for Francesco Cilluffo and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in the pit, we’re talking puppies off the leash: upfront, headstrong and living irresistibly in the moment. There wasn’t a tumescent horncall or a tittering string cascade that didn't sound as if it was being relished; the moonlight of the final scene was breathlessly realised» (The Spectator)

 «[Francesco Cilluffo's] reading was masterly, allowing one to savour every bar of Verdi's fastidiously crafted score [...] presenting so much of the humour as well as the heart of the piece» (Opera)

 

Mascagni’s 'Cavalleria rusticana' and Poulenc’s 'La voix humaine' for OperaLombardia and in Bolzano

In November-December 2018 Francesco Cilluffo returned to the OperaLombardia circuit (AsLiCo) and to Bolzano to conduct a double bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Poulenc’s La voix humaine (starring Anna Caterina Antonacci) in the acclaimed production by Emma Dante.

 

 «Francesco Cilluffo’s conducting was profound and of deep impact, merging the right attention to instrumental detail with a tight and passionate musical narration» (Corriere della sera)

 «Here’s the conducting of a really talented musician, a conductor who is aware of the performing tradition and who brings it toward a modern taste» (Rivista Musica)

 «Francesco Cilluffo’s conducting is deeply convincing […]. He is precise in his technique and offers the audience a very nuanced palette in both operas» (L'ape musicale)

 «A dry and yet extremely fascinating reading, torn between neurosis and sensual surrender» (Operaclick)

 «Cilluffo’s conducting is full of colours, nuances and dynamics; he transforms Cavalleria Rusticana from a popular sketch into an intimate drama» (Teatrionline.it)

 «Francesco Cilluffo gives a reading of Poulenc's score which is analytical and tense, yet fully capable to open up to the melodic nature of this music […], while in Cavalleria there is a clear intention to dry the work from excesses, bringing back Mascagni’s opera to its European roots» (Le salon musical) 

 

Giordano’s 'Mala vita' and Leoni’s 'L’Oracolo' at the Wexford Festival Opera

In October-November 2018, for his third engagement at the Wexford Festival Opera, Francesco Cilluffo conducted a double bill of two rare verismo operas: Umberto Giordano’s Mala vita (1892) and Franco Leoni’s L'Oracolo (1905), in a new production by Rodula Gaitanou.

 

 «Francesco Cilluffo conducted the Festival Orchestra authoritatively.» (The Times)

 «Neither opera is a masterpiece, but Francesco Cilluffo’s detailed conducting made one think otherwise. One of the best Wexford openers in years.» (The Sunday Times)

 «Francesco Cilluffo, who conducted Mascagni’s equally rare Isabeau for Opera Holland Park this summer, grips these scores with such commitment.» (The Guardian)

«Francesco Cilluffo on the podium captures the local color of the orientally flavored melodrama just as precisely and zestfully as the Neapolitan folkloristic in the score of Mala Vita» (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) 

«Conductor Francesco Cilluffo [...] gave a wonderfully invigorating and energetic account of both scores, giving fine and sensitive support to singers and chorus alike.» (Backtrack)

 «Francesco Cilluffo conducted with idiomatic care» (Opera)

 

Mascagni’s 'Isabeau' at Opera Holland Park (London)

In July 2018 Francesco Cilluffo made his London conducting debut with a new production of Mascagni’s Isabeau at the Opera Holland Park, with Anne-Sophie Duprels in the title role and the direction of Martin-Lloyd Evans.

 

 «Conductor Francesco Cilluffo proves to be a major find, turning what might seem tired cliché into an operatic experience of passion, urgency and high drama.» (Financial Times)

 «Francesco Cilluffo conducted on his London debut with terrific conviction, and the City of London Sinfonia responded nobly, especially in the ambitious orchestral intermezzo.» (The Guardian)

 «Vibrant conducting by Francesco Cilluffo helps bringing out the conflict between passion and bourgeois judgement at the heart of the work.» (The Telegraph)

 «Francesco Cilluffo conducts the fine City of London Sinfonia with authority.» (The Times)

 «Francesco Cilluffo conducted with an imposing intensity.» (slippedisc.com)

 «[Francesco Cilluffo] is excellent in underlining the unexpected Mascagni. He brings out from the score the symphonic colour, the instrumental detail and the broadness that deserve to be heard. And he does so without renouncing the narrative tension, which is even more difficult [...]. A major achievement.» (La Stampa)

 

'L’Italiana in Algeri' at the Opéra de Toulon

In April 2018 Francesco Cilluffo made his French debut conducting Rossini’s L'Italiana in Algeri at the Opéra de Toulon in the production by Nicola Berloffa.

 

 «Superbly led by Francesco Cilluffo, the performance immediately convinces us for its quality. Diabolic tempos, crazy crescendos... [...] all the facets of this exuberant score are performed with conviction.» (ConcertoNet.com)

 «Francesco Cilluffo raises to the challenge with tonicity and engagement. The lower part of his body seems motionless, while from his chest until the tops of his head and his baton he seems willing to make the pit go ahead like a single enormous music box, capable to get excited or calm on his demand.» (Olyrix)

 

 

'Miseria e Nobiltà' by Tutino (world premiere) in Genoa

In February 2018, Francesco Cilluffo returned to the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa to conduct the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s Miseria e Nobiltà. Tutino’s first ever comic opera, Miseria e Nobiltà (Misery and Nobility) is loosely based on the famous play by Neapolitan playwright Eduardo Scarpetta (also a world famous movie featuring Sophia Loren and Totò). The new production was directed by Rosetta Cucchi.

 

 «The interpreters [were] conducted with firm hand by the young Francesco Cilluffo.» (Corriere della Sera)

 «[Francesco Cilluffo] demonstrates that when the conductor has strong relationship with choir and orchestra, good results are guranteed.» (operaclick)

 «Cilluffo gives symphonic broadness to the orchestral interludes of the score, providing a convincing theatrical pace to Tutino's tragicomic plot.» (Avvenire)

 «Francesco Cilluffo conducts with enthusiasm and authentic rapture, marvelously supported by the choir and orchestra of the Carlo Felice. He gives prominence to the rich orchestration, emphasizes the melody, highlights the popular moments, but finds the right gestures for the more lyrical ones, supporting the dialogue and never losing momentum.» (L'Opera)

 

'La Bohème' for the season opening of the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv

After his success with L’Elisir damoreRoméo et Juliette, Rigoletto and Madama Butterfly, in November-December 2017 Francesco Cilluffo retured to Tel Aviv to open the season of the New Israeli Opera with Puccini’s La Bohèmedirected by Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera.

 

 «Conductor Francesco Cilluffo led the fine Opera Orchestra with sure hand and especially drew unusually lush sound from the strings. The ensembles and crowd scenes were well coordinated and balanced.» (Opera News)

 «The pace of the excellent conductor Francesco Cilluffo suited the lyricism of the opera.» (megafon-news.co.il)

 «I would like to mention the very flexible and stylish conducting by Francesco Cilluffo.» (opusmagazine.co.il)

 «Francesco Cilluffo carved out from the score pure beauty and drama.» (The Marker Café)

 

Alfanos’s 'Risurrezione' at the Wexford Festival Opera

In October-November 2017 Francesco Cilluffo returned to the Wexford Festival Opera (two years after leading the award-winning production of Mascagni’s Guglielmo Ratcliff) and scored another triumph conducting Alfano’s Risurrezionedirected by Rosetta Cucchi.

 

 «Superlatively conducted by Francesco Cilluffo, who clearly believes in this music of this also-ran of the "young Italian school".» (The Sunday Times)

 «Francesco Cilluffo gives a loving and detailed reading from the pit.» (The Independent)

 «Francesco Cilluffo conducted with a powerful understanding of the score's architecture and never failed the audience at climaxes.» (Opera News)

 «At the head of the musical direction was Francesco Cilluffo, whom I had the occasion to see conducting Mascagni’s Guglielmo Ratcliff in Wexford two years ago. I was impressed with his work then, and he has now fully confirmed it. Conducting with a firm hand, he gave an intense, dramatic reading.» (Seen and Heard)

 «The orchestral part, of a striking beauty, is wonderfully provided by the Festival orchestra, under the constantly inspired baton of Francesco Cilluffo.» (Opéra magazine)

 «We cannot rule out that the overall impression from this score, far superior to any anticipation, is also due to the intense and refined interpretation of Francesco Cilluffo, one of the leading baton among the Italian conductors in their thirties.» (Il giornale della musica) 

 

'Verdi’s Requiem' at the Grange Festival (England)

In June 2017 Francesco Cilluffo made his debut with the first Grange Festival conducting Verdi’s Requiem with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and a stellar cast.

 

 «The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Francesco Cilluffo, produced a very balanced sound [...] The piece could breathe and resonate [...]» (musicOMH)

'Tosca' at the Tulsa Opera in Tulsa (USA)

In May 2017 Francesco Cilluffo made his successful American conducting debut with PucciniTosca at the Tulsa Opera in Tulsa (Oklahoma, USA) in the historic production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.

 

 

 

 

 

Symphonic concerts with the Bremer Philharmoniker in Bremen

In January 2017, Francesco Cilluffo made his debut with the Bremer Philharmoniker conducting two concerts featuring an all-Italian symphonic program. 

 

 «Cilluffo [...] conducted with verve and unique body language. It was a real joy to watch him and to listen to the orchestra.» (Kreiszeitung)

Britten’s 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' for OperaLombardia

Francesco Cilluffo returned to the OperaLombardia circuit (AsLiCo) to conduct Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a new production by Elio De Capitani and Ferdinando Bruni. The show received unanimous praise from the public and from the press, touring the theaters in CremonaComo, Pavia, Brescia and Reggio Emilia.

 

 «Bravissimo to the conductor, Francesco Cilluffo, musically impeccable and with a great theatrical drive.» (La Stampa)

 «The brilliant […] score by Benjamin Britten has found in Maestro Francesco Cilluffo an ideal interpreter, who has succeeded in leading and merging together the stage and the pit, where the orchestra dei Pomeriggi Musicali responded well to his input.» (L'Opera)

 «Francesco Cilluffo, on the podium, has led in the best possible way such a complex and long opera […]. Not only has he acted as a secure reference to all the performers […] but he managed to obtain the best playing from the Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali. […] His reading showed unity and yet variety, a well-seasoned pacing of the music drama which unfolds, and balance between dream, charm, feelings and laughter: a great result indeed.» (L'ape musicale)

 «Francesco Cilluffo shows once again to know well the 20th Century operatic repertoire and exalts the orchestral timbre.» (GB Opera) 

 

'Rigoletto' with the New Israeli Opera in Jerusalem

After his successes with L’Elisir damore and Roméo et Juliette, in June 2016 Francesco Cilluffo conducted Verdis Rigoletto with the New Israeli Opera and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra for the Jerusalem Opera Festival at the Sultans Pool in Jerusalem.

 

 «Francesco Cilluffo conducts with essentiality and precision [...] thanks to a beat that is both urgent and clear.» (forumopera.com)

 «Francesco Cilluffo [...] has conducted with a firm hand, choosing, when necessary, brisk tempos but always caring for the singer’s needs; despite the amplification system, he has not forsaken the search for colors and subtle nuances..» (Operaclick)

 

'La Traviata' at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège

In May 2016 Francesco Cilluffo made his Belgian debut conducting VerdiLa Traviata at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège, in the production by Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera.

 «The young Italian conductor Francesco Cilluffo has both musical precision and sense of drama.» (classiquenews.com)

 «Strong link of this show: l’Orchestre de l’Opéra Royal de Wallonie. The expert conducting of Francesco Cilluffo leads the instrumentalists in delivering the nuances of the score.» (forumopera.com)

 «Francesco Cilluffo [...] gave a brilliant reading of the score, pleasantly paced and clean.» (Il giornale della musica)

 «Under the baton of Francesco Cilluffo, the orchestra delivers masterly the drama without digressing in pathos or exhibitionism; there is always just the right amount of emotion, silent suspenses, pain and elegance.» (Arts et Lettres)

 

Gounod’s 'Roméo et Juliette' at the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv

After his acclaimed Elisir, Francesco Cilluffo’s return to the New Israeli Opera in April 2016 for Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette in the production by Jean-Louis Grinda was another success.

 

 «The orchestra played with great precision and depth, and an especially unusual sensitivity to what was happening on stage.» (Haaretz)

  «Conducted by Francesco Cilluffo, the Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion noticeably emphasized dramatic happenings and emotional moments. It flexibly adjusted its tempi to the singers’ intentions, and sounded uncommonly energetic.» (Jerusalem Post)

  «The young italian conductor Francesco Cilluffo, a kind of rising star, led the entire show with stable energy [...] with a quiet and consistent confidence.» (Ynet)

 

Mascagni’s 'Guglielmo Ratcliff' at the Wexford Festival Opera

Francesco Cilluffo earned unanimous press and audience praise for his conducting of MascagniGuglielmo Ratcliff at the 64th Wexford Festival Opera, directed by Fabio Ceresa.

 

  «Ratcliff [...] needs a stylish conductor [...] and in Francesco Cilluffo it has one. The intermezzo alone is worth the journey.» (The Times)

  «Francesco Cilluffo commanded the score magnificently, drawing superb playing from the Orchestra of Wexford Festival Opera.» (Bachtrack)

  «The best part of the performance was the musical direction by the young Italian conductor Francesco Cilluffo. He led with a firm hand and offered a heartfelt reading [...]. I think he is a conductor with a promising career ahead of him.» (Seen and Heard international)

 «The impressive young Italian conductor Francesco Cilluffo drew excellent playing from his orchestra.» (Event)

 

'Nabucco' at the Theater Kiel (Germany)

Francesco Cilluffo made his German conducting debut in August 2015 with VerdiNabucco at the Kiel Opera House. The new open air production was directed by Olaf Strieb.

 

  «Italian guest conductor Francesco Cilluffo [...] provides the essential thing, the "Italianità": heat without haste, dry rhythmic rattle, expressively sung lines in the solos (flute, cello), ebb and flow of phrases, breathing with the singers.» (Kieler Nachrichten)

 

 

Tutino’s 'Le braci' ('Embers') in Martina Franca and Florence

In Summer 2015 Francesco Cilluffo opened the 41st Festival della Valle d'Itria in Martina Franca conducting the world premiere of Marco Tutinos Le braci (Embers - after Sándor Márais novel) in a new production directed by Leo Muscato. The same production was revived in Autumn 2015 at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence.

 

 «Francesco Cilluffo conducted with clarity and passion, the gestural tempi and characters were clear.» (Repubblica)

 «Strong advocate of the score is the young conductor Francesco Cilluffo; he poignantly draws from the score [...] each information, nuance and timbre: [...] the Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia [...] is led with such confidence that it delivers the most characterful performance of the festival.» (L'Ape Musicale)

 «Francesco Cilluffo [...] led with a firm hand the excellent Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, drawing richness of colors and nuances, dramatic tension and homogeneity of tone and atmosphere.» (GB Opera)

 

'L’Elisir d’amore' in Parma and Modena

In March 2015 Francesco Cilluffo returned to Parma to open the opera season of the Teatro Regio di Parma with Donizetti’s Lelisir damore. He conducted the same production at the Teatro Comunale Luciano Pavarotti in Modena, also with the Orchestra Regionale dellEmilia Romagna «Arturo Toscanini».

 

  «Cilluffo has managed to deliver perfectly the graceful and romantic tinta of this opera, with a musical leadership both clear and fluent.» (Teatro.it)

 

Wolf-Ferrari's 'Il Campiello' for the season's opening in Florence and Trieste

In September 2014 Francesco Cilluffo opened the 2014-2015 season of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentinoconducting Wolf-Ferrari's Il Campiello in a new production by Leo Muscato, which was revived at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste in April 2015.

 

 «Conductor Francesco Cilluffo at the helm of the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale expressed such delicate balance with dexterity, bursting out verve and zest, with an impressive colour palette and remarkable rhythmic pulse: he held the dramatic tension always alive with no signs of slackening [...]. Cilluffo also succeeded in the hardest task, that of keeping orchestra and stage always together without the slightest smudge. (Opera Britannia)

  «Francesco Cilluffo [...] has dominated the ample orchestral forces of the Maggio Musicale and the Chorus, obtaining delicate effects, featuring a buoyant sense of rhythm and a great taste for timbre.» (Classic Voice)

 «Intelligent and sophisticated the conducting of Francesco Cilluffo, who leads the Orchestra of the Teatro Verdi in yet another outstanding performance, particularly with a score so difficult to deliver in its full wholesomeness.» (Operaclick.it)

 

  «Francesco Cilluffo is a skilled and creative Maestro: [...] one must really appreciate this young conductor from Torino, always ready to deliver the atmospheres, timbres and colors of this score, and always able to sustain the development of the singing lines.» (Teatro.it)

 

'Il barbiere di Siviglia' in Genoa

In June 2014 Francesco Cilluffo made his debut at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa conducting Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia in the acclaimed production by Filippo Crivelli. The premiere was broadcasted in live streaming, reaching an audience of over 8,000 worldwide.

 

 «Francesco Cilluffo [...] conducts with precision, great sense of rhythm, always being a sensible accompanist.» (L’Opera)

 

'Tancredi' in Pavia, Cremona, Como and Brescia (AsLiCo)

In November-December 2013 Francesco Cilluffo conducted a new production of Rossini’s Tancredi for the Circuito Lirico Lombardo, featuring the Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali. The production opened at the Teatro Fraschini in Pavia and touched the Teatro Ponchielli in Cremona, the Teatro Sociale in Como and the Teatro Grande in Brescia.

 

  «The show [...] owes to the great intelligence and performing maturity of Francesco Cilluffo, a young conductor but balanced like a veteran.» (Corriere della Sera)

  «The best performer of the evening seemed to be the conductor Francesco Cilluffo. [...] Cilluffo understands very well the register of Tancredi, which is delicately Classic and yet already colored by a pre-Romantic feeling.» (Musica)

 

Cilea’s 'L’Arlesiana' in Jesi

In September 2013, Francesco Cilluffo opened the opera season of the Teatro Pergolesi in Jesi conducting Francesco Cilea’s L’Arlesiana (production from the Wexford Opera Festival). The show has been released worldwide as CD, DVD and Blu-Ray by Dynamic.

 

  «He has a great flair and sensitivity for the Theatre.» (Corriere della Sera)

 «He is really admirable in delivering particularly the accompaniments of the arias (truly exceptional the one of Federicos Lament).» (L’Opera)

 

IL CASO MORTARA - NEW YORK, 2010

In February-March 2010 Il caso Mortara by Francesco Cilluffo had its world premiere in New York. It was the first Italian opera commissioned by a New York opera company from an Italian composer since Puccini’s La fanciulla del West.

 

Watch the video extracts

Watch the special RAI TV broadcast (from Sorgente di Vita)

 

«Cilluffo’s score is pungent, lush, often inventive. [...] The composer’s instinctive feeling for Italianate lyricism is broken up intriguingly with jagged, fragmented melodic phrases.» (New York Times)

 

«Un des opéras contemporains les plus convaincants que nous ayons pu voir en scène ces dernières années.» (Forum Opéra)

 

«The singers are given some highly moving melodic lines.» (Opera News)

 

«A theatre of ideas and passions, filled with plausible characters and dominated by a dark and yet charming tinta.» (Classic Voice)

 

«An intelligent new work.» (Classics Today)