Sir Antonio Pappano
© Musacchio & Ianniello
One of today’s most sought-after conductors, acclaimed for his charismatic leadership and inspirational performances in both symphonic and operatic repertoire, Sir Antonio Pappano has been Music Director of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden since 2002, and Music Director of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome since 2005. Nurtured as a pianist, repetiteur and assistant conductor at many of the most important opera houses of Europe and North America, including at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and several seasons at the Bayreuth Festival as musical assistant to Daniel Barenboim for productions of Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal and Der Ring des Nibelungen, Pappano was appointed Music Director of Oslo’s Den Norske Opera in 1990, and from 1992-2002 served as Music Director of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. From 1997-1999 he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Pappano made his debut at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1993, replacing Christoph von Dohnànyi at the last minute in a new production of Wagner’s Siegfried, his debut at the Metropolitan Opera New York in 1997 with a new production of Eugene Onegin, and in 1999 he conducted a new production of Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival. He has worked at the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Théâtre du Châtelet and Staatsoper Berlin, and highlights of recent seasons include his operatic debut at the Salzburg Festival (Don Carlo) and the Teatro alla Scala (Les Troyens). His repertoire at the Royal Opera House has been notably wide-ranging, generating acclaim in productions including Ariadne auf Naxos, Wozzeck, Falstaff, La Bohème, Don Giovanni, Aida, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Il Trittico, Fidelio, Parsifal, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Der Ring des Nibelungen, Lulu, Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Guillaume Tell, Andrea Chenier and Szymanowski’s Król Roger, Birtwistle’s The Minotaur and Turnage’s Anna Nicole. The 15/16 season saw him leading new productions of Boris Godunov, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, and productions in the 16/17 season and beyond include new stagings of Norma and Otello, and revivals of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Manon Lescaut and Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.
Pappano has appeared as a guest conductor with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin, Vienna, New York and Munich Philharmonic Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Chicago and Boston Symphonies, the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras and the Orchestre de Paris. He maintains a particularly strong relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducting them annually at their home in London’s Barbican Hall, and widely on tour. Recent highlights include his debuts with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the London Philharmonic at the Aldeburgh Festival, and performances at the BBC Proms and Bucharest Festival with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and future appearances include his debuts with the Verbier Festival Orchestra and the Staatskapelle Dresden, return visits to the Berlin and New York Philharmonics, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Staatskapelle Berlin, and tours of Europe, Asia and the US with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
Pappano has been an exclusive recording artist for Warner Classics (formerly EMI Classics) since 1995, and his discography features numerous complete operas, including Don Carlo, La Rondine, La Bohème, Guillaume Tell, Il Trittico, Massenet’s Werther and Manon, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Il Trovatore, Tristan und Isolde, and most recently Aida, hailed as “unmissable” (The Sunday Times), “a triumph” (BBC Radio 3), “a magnificent achievement, of rare accomplishment” (Gramophone). His orchestral recordings with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia include Rachmaninov’s 2nd, Mahler’s 6th, Dvorak’s 9th and Tchaikovsky’s 4th, 5th and 6th symphonies, Respighi’s Roman Trilogy, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Petite Messe Solenelle and selected Overtures, Britten’s War Requiem, and Verdi’s Requiem, and his discography also documents his work with other ensembles including the London Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, and the orchestras of the Royal Opera House and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, in music ranging from Pergolesi and Mendelssohn through to Panufnik, Boesmans and Maxwell Davies. Numerous productions from the Royal Opera House have been released on DVD, including Carmen, Les Troyens, Parsifal, Simon Boccanegra, Le nozze di Figaro, and Manon Lescaut. His recordings have received extensive accolades including Classic BRIT, ECHO Klassik, BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone Awards.
As a pianist, Antonio Pappano appears as an accompanist with some of the most celebrated singers, including Joyce DiDonato, Gerald Finley and Ian Bostridge. He has also partnered singers and instrumental soloists on disc, including in operatic recitals with Nina Stemme, Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko and Jonas Kaufmann, concerto recordings with soloists including Leif Ove Andsnes, Maxim Vengerov, Janine Jansen, Jan Lisiecki and Beatrice Rana, and chamber recitals with Ian Bostridge, Barbara Bonney and Joyce DiDonato.
Antonio Pappano was born in London to Italian parents, and moved with his family to the United States at the age of 13. His awards and honours include Gramophone’s ‘Artist of the Year’ in 2000, the 2003 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, the 2004 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, and the Bruno Walter prize from the Académie du Disque Lyrique in Paris. In 2012 he was created a Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Republic of Italy, and a Knight of the British Empire for his services to music, and in 2015 he was named the 100th recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal, the body’s highest honour. He has also developed a notable career as a speaker and presenter, and has fronted several critically-acclaimed BBC Television documentaries including ‘Opera Italia’, ‘Pappano’s Essential Ring Cycle’ and ‘Pappano’s Classical Voices’.