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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 is in demand as an opera conductor at the highest international level, including with the Metropolitan Opera New York, the State Operas of Vienna and Berlin, the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Théâtre du Châtelet and the Teatro alla Scala. 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, Parsifal, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Der Ring des Nibelungen, Lulu, Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, Norma, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Guillaume Tell, Andrea Chenier, Boris Godunov, The Queen of Spades, Semiramide and Szymanowski’s Król Roger, Birtwistle’s The Minotaur and Turnage’s Anna Nicole. Highlights of the 19/20 season include revivals of Otello, Tosca and Madama Butterfly, a tour of Japan with performances of Otello and Faust, and new productions of Fidelio and Elektra, featuring luminary singers including Jonas Kaufmann, Nina Stemme, Karita Mattila, Gerald Finley, Anna Netrebko and Bryn Terfel.
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 relationships with the London Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and forthcoming highlights include return visits to the Staatskapelle Dresden, Staatskapelle Berlin, London Philharmonic and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, and widespread touring with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. He also has a strong commitment to nurturing young singers and instrumentalists, and the summer of 2020 will see him deepening his connections with the Aldeburgh and Verbier Festivals, leading concerts and masterclasses.
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, Guillaume Tell, Il Trittico, Werther, 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, Diana Damrau, 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. He studied piano with Norma Verrilli, composition with Arnold Franchetti and conducting with Gustav Meier. 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’.