The distinguished Italian conductor Carlo Rizzi has been appointed Artistic Director of Opera Rara, with his tenure beginning in September 2019.

The brain-child of Patric Schmid and Don White, and now under exclusive worldwide distribution by Warner Classics, Opera Rara has been in the business of bringing back forgotten operatic repertoire since its conception in the early 1970s, with a special focus on the bel canto repertory, as well as a growing commitment to 19th-century French repertoire and verismo operas. Carlo Rizzi first collaborated with the company in 2017 when he conducted two discs of bel canto arias with Joyce El-Khoury and Michael Spyres titled Écho and Espoir. Recorded with the Hallé and featuring a selection of mainly French arias first made famous by Gilbert Duprez and Julie Dorus-Gras, two of the operatic stars of the day, the discs were described by Gramophone as “a must for lovers of the repertoire.”

Rizzi succeeds Sir Mark Elder, who has held the role of Artistic Director since 2012. Charles Alexander, Chairman and Henry Little, Chief Executive said: “For us, Carlo is an obvious and unique choice as our new Artistic Director. His extensive and acclaimed work in 19th – and 20th – century operatic repertoire is a perfect match for our promotion of unknown operatic masterpieces to a global public. We welcome Carlo and look forward to our collaboration with him with considerable enthusiasm and excitement.”

Commenting on his new role at Opera Rara, Carlo Rizzi said: “Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Opera Rara and I am excited to take the position of Artistic Director at this pivotal moment. Opera is my passion and I strongly believe in its future. Just as it is important to present known masterpieces afresh and to commission new works, I believe that finding and bringing back to life the hidden jewels of this endlessly enriching art form is equally vital to excite modern audiences. Throughout my career I have conducted many “opera(s) rara(s)” and the journey that I am starting here with this unique organisation will allow me to go even further in exploring many strands of less known repertoire. I am looking forward to it!”

Carlo Rizzi enjoys regular and long-standing relationships at the most distinguished operatic addresses including the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opéra National de Paris and Deutsche Oper Berlin, as well as maintaining a significant career as a symphonic conductor, working with orchestras including the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Netherlands Philharmonic, Antwerp Symphony, Atlanta Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic. He made his UK debut at Buxton Festival in 1988 conducting Donizetti’s Torquato Tasso and future engagements are notable for displaying his commitment to rare and under-appreciated titles, including a new production this summer of Rossini’s L’equivoco stravagante at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, and a return to his native Milan for Montemezzi’s L’Amore di Tre Re at Teatro alla Scala. He holds the title of Conductor Laureate at Welsh National Opera, where he was Music Director from 1992-2001 and again from 2004-2008, and additionally retains ties with Cardiff as Honorary Fellow and International Chair in Conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama – also the new home of The Foyle Opera Rara Collection.

Carlo Rizzi is represented for worldwide management by IMG Artists. For press enquiries please contact Valerie Barber PR.