Born in Venezuela and bred in Verdi's hometown of Busseto, Italy, bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni has established himself as one of the most captivating and versatile singers of his generation. Having debuted at the Salzburg Festival at age 26 with the Vienna Philharmonic under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, he undertook another successful run at the U.K.'s Glyndebourne Festival this summer with his role debut as Argante in Händel’s Rinaldo. Opera News got to the crux of Pisaroni's mix of theatrical and vocal flair, saying, "Pisaroni's vocal personality is akin to the brewing of an inner storm that is then distilled into a well-articulated purity of emotion. The singer's dramatic versatility cannot be overstated: his ability to execute written notes with consummate tone, translated directly into the essence of feeling."
Among the highlights of Pisaroni's 2011-12 season will be his Metropolitan Opera role debut as Leporello in the Met’s new production of Don Giovanni, Oct. 13-Nov. 11, 2011. Previously, he played the part at this summer's Baden-Baden Festival in Germany under Yannick Nézet-Séguin – a performance recorded by Deutsche Grammophon – and his star turn as Leporello in an acclaimed 2010 Glyndebourne production of Don Giovanni was documented on an EMI Classics DVD, released this spring. BBC Music magazine praised the DVD as one to have listeners "shivering with the best of them," adding that "Gerald Finley as the Don and Luca Pisaroni's nimble Leporello play a thought-provoking double act." This December and January will also see Pisaroni perform at the Metropolitan Opera alongside Plácido Domingo and Joyce DiDonato in The Enchanted Island, a freshly conceived Shakespearean pastiche featuring music by Händel, Vivaldi and Rameau, conducted by William Christie. And in February and March, Pisaroni will make his Chicago Lyric Opera debut, reprising his portrayal of Argante for a new production of Rinaldo.
Pisaroni, born in 1975, received his musical education at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, in Buenos Aires, and in New York. About growing up in Busseto, Pisaroni has said, "You feel Verdi's spirit all over the place! My family moved back to Italy when I was four. As a kid, I used to go to the opera with my grandfather, and when I was 11, I already knew I wanted to be an opera singer." He adds, "I feel like I have a huge musical heritage, coming as I do from the same little town as Verdi – and Carlo Bergonzi, too. As a boy, I used to listen in on Bergonzi's masterclasses after school. One day, I hope to pay tribute to the great music of Verdi as well as Bergonzi did. To me, he set the standard for Verdian phrasing and musical style."
The 2010-11 season saw Pisaroni as the Figaro of choice in productions of Le Nozze di Figaro for three new music directors: Nicola Luisotti at San Francisco Opera, Philippe Jordan at Opéra de Paris and Franz Welser-Möst at the Vienna State Opera. Gaining renown for his dramatic versatility, the bass-baritone made his house and role debut last spring at Houston Grand Opera as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, this after more than 100 performances in Mozart's opera as Figaro. About his performance as the Count, The Houston Chronicle said, "With his dashing looks and proud manner, Pisaroni exudes complete authority and magnetism. His potent bass-baritone unfurls with such grandeur and resoluteness that one can easily believe this is a fellow who has spent his entire life getting his way."
With his command of a diverse repertoire, Pisaroni has appeared at many of the world’s top opera houses and music festivals. He has also sung Mozart’s Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Paris (Bastille) and the Salzburg Festival; Leporello at Teatro Real Madrid, Opéra Bastille and at the Tanglewood Music Festival with the Boston Symphony under James Levine; Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at Glyndebourne; Papageno in Die Zauberflöte at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées; Melisso in Händel’s Alcina at Opéra Bastille; Hercules in Gluck’s Alceste at Salzburg; Conte Dorval in Martin y Soler’s Il Burbero di Buon Cuore at Teatro Real; Alidoro in La Cenerentola for Santiago de Chile; Enrico in Haydn’s L’Isola Disabitata at Vienna's Musikverein; Publio in La clemenza di Tito at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence; Achilla in Giulio Cesare at La Monnaie; and Douglas D’Angus in Rossini’s La Donna Del Lago at Salzburg. Pisaroni appeared as the King of Scotland in Ariodante at Theater an der Wien, the title role in Cavalli's Ercole Amante with De Nederlandse Opera, and Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas for the Wiener Festwochen. Of his Santa Fe Opera debut in Radamisto, the Financial Times wrote, “One could hardly imagine a more vibrant villain than Luca Pisaroni’s limber, gorgeously sung Tiridate.”
In concert, Pisaroni has performed Hasse’s I Pellegrini al Sepolcro di Nostro Signore at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival and Cherubini’s Missa Solemnis for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under Riccardo Muti; Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri with Sir Simon Rattle and the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia and at Carnegie Hall; Zebul in Händel’s Jephtha with the Berlin Philharmonic under Nikolaus Harnoncourt; Haydn’s Il Ritorno di Tobia with Adam Fischer at the Vienna Konzerthaus; and Bach's St. John Passion at the Théâtre du Châtelet. He has also sung in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas and Jaap van Zweden, Rossini's Stabat Mater under Franz Welser-Möst, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with John Nelson at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Mozart’s Requiem with Yuri Temirkanov for the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem under Edo de Waart and Händel’s La Resurrezione with Il Giardino Armonico.
Besides his activities in opera and concert, Pisaroni is an ardent and dedicated recitalist, having performed at Carnegie Hall, Chicago's Ravinia Festival, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and London's Wigmore Hall, among other top venues. Of his recital of Schubert, Liszt and Rossini in London last season, the Financial Times praised Pisaroni's "arresting" interpretations and "emotional agility," going on to remark on the bass-baritone's ability to invest "his whole body in the performance, uttering lines with characteristic speech-like eloquence."
Along with the recent EMI DVD of Don Giovanni, Pisaroni features in DG's “Mozart 22” DVD series from the Salzburg Festival as Publio and Masetto. Further DVD releases include his lauded portrayal of Guglielmo in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Così fan tutte from Glyndebourne; Le nozze di Figaro at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées; and Così fan tutte, Figaro and Ercole Amante with the Nederlandse Opera. Pisaroni has recorded La Resurrezione for Virgin Classics.
Luca Pisaroni lives in Vienna with his wife, Catherine (daughter of famed American baritone Thomas Hampson). Their golden retriever, Lenny 2.0, and miniature dachshund, Tristan, are the singer's constant traveling companions.
© Marco Borggreve
Vladimir Jurowski, Jonathan Kent – Gerald Finley (Don Giovanni), Luca Pisaroni (Leporello), Kate Royal (Donna Elvira) – Glyndebourne Festival
Iván Fischer (conductor), Nicholas Hytner (stage director) – Luca Pisaroni (Guglielmo), Miah Persson (Fiordiligi)
Ottavio Dantone, Robert Carsen – Sonia Prina (Rinaldo), Anett Fritsch (Almirena), Brenda Rae (Armida)...
Behind the scenes at the Salzburger Festspiele with Daniel Harding, Thomas Hampson and Christine Schäfer
Salzburg Festival 2006 – An hour with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791