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Morricone kicks off tour with La Scala orchestra

Legend will perform his western classics, other themes

ROME– After composing some 450 movie scores, Ennio Morricone has scaled the heights of Italy’s highbrow music establishment: He’s landed a gig to conduct Milan’s La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra on an international tour.

The engagement — in which Morricone, 77, will perform his Spaghetti Western classics and other cinema themes — is the Italo scoresmith’s debut conducting the musical crew of the 18th century opera house.

The Morricone/La Scala collaboration kicks off July 24 at the Arena di Verona amphitheater before moving to other Italo venues this summer. Plans call for a tour of a dozen European capitals, plus New York and L.A.

Besides seminal scores from Sergio Leone pics, themes from “The Untouchables,” “The Mission” and “Cinema Paradiso” will also be on the menu.

Despite Morricone’s increasing sideline as a quasi-classical music celeb — two years ago he conducted Yo-Yo Ma performing a medley of his tunes — the maestro, who is finishing up the sound mix of Giuseppe Tornatore’s “La Sconosciuta” (The Unknown), says scoring films remains his priority.

And while he’s happy to globe-hop for the tour, Morricone remains anchored to his palatial penthouse studio overlooking Rome’s rooftops when it comes to composing.

“I had to turn down a job on Brian De Palma’s upcoming ‘The Untouchables: Capone Rising,’ ” he said.

Why? “If I spent all that time in Hollywood, I’d lose my inspiration.”

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