Sir Antonio Pappano

Music Director, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Music Director, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

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Biography

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.

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Recent News

Reviews

“The best thing about this show — indeed the best thing I’ve experienced in a theatre all season — is Antonio Pappano’s superlative conducting and his orchestra’s stunning playing of Wagner’s epic score. The Royal Opera should rename the opera “Die Meisterinstrumentalisten”, except it might not fit on posters. This is a musical interpretation of exemplary fluidity and pace, stirring in the right places (abetted by a rampant chorus), but also precise, subtle and virtuosic. After five hours and some, I wanted to hear it all again.”

Richard Morrison

The Times; March 2017

“Keeping the electricity at high voltage throughout is Antonio Pappano, whose conducting cuts boldly into Mussorgky’s rougher edges and eccentricities. Fired by incandescent orchestral playing, this is the sort of major artistic achievement that justifies subsidy for opera.”

Rupert Christiansen

The Telegraph

“Pappano succeeds in Bruckner where many of his colleagues fail: the fluidity with which he unfolds the musical argument and the supple flexibility of his phrasing. The tempi are kept well flowing, allowing the conductor to construct his interpretation over a convincing internal logic. The orchestra rewarded him with exemplary playing, both in the individual solo lines and in full ensemble. The imposing and majestic setting of Frauenkirche donated its own particular atmosphere… With these concerts, the pairing of Pappano and Santa Cecilia has proven itself as a major artistic brand of our time.”

Pierre-Jean Tribot

ResMusica

More Reviews

“Keeping the electricity at high voltage throughout is Antonio Pappano, whose conducting cuts boldly into Mussorgky’s rougher edges and eccentricities. Fired by incandescent orchestral playing, this is the sort of major artistic achievement that justifies subsidy for opera.”

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph 

“Pappano succeeds in Bruckner where many of his colleagues fail: the fluidity with which he unfolds the musical argument and the supple flexibility of his phrasing. The tempi are kept well flowing, allowing the conductor to construct his interpretation over a convincing internal logic. The orchestra rewarded him with exemplary playing, both in the individual solo lines and in full ensemble. The imposing and majestic setting of Frauenkirche donated its own particular atmosphere… With these concerts, the pairing of Pappano and Santa Cecilia has proven itself as a major artistic brand of our time. “

Pierre-Jean Tribot, ResMusica 

“Pappano was incandescent, inspiring his orchestra and chorus to marvels of drama in the big scenes, yet also wondrously detailed, revealing textures in this masterly score of breathtaking transparency and delicacy. Aida in the theatre is rarely, if ever, like this.”

Hugh Canning, Sunday Times 

“With all three operas conducted by Antonio Pappano, who seems to have an almost mystical feel that always brings out the best in Verdi’s music, this all added up to a wondrous evening’s entertainment.”

William Hartston, Express 

“Sir Antonio Pappano and his ROH Orchestra were magnificient, a riveting account of the score, mind-boggling in its concentration given he has also found time during his run to tour Italy with the LSO and give two London concerts with it […] Verdi’s music runs hot through Pappano’s veins. (Don Carlo)”

Kevin Rogers, Classical Source 

“The orchestra, under Antonio Pappano, gives as fine an account of opera’s greatest score as I’ve ever heard, spinning long, long lines, so that the music flows in paragraphs, but with total consideration for the differing abilities and strengths of the singers. (Ring)”

Paul Levy, The Wall Street Journal 

“The Prom performance also confirmed what to me was obvious from the first, that Antonio Pappano is master of the work […] Pappano paced the whole work impeccably. (Les Troyens)”

David Cairns, Opera 

“Antonio Pappano’s conducting, meanwhile, is electric and eruptive throughout, yet wonderfully attentive to the needs of his singers, so that no one has to battle to be heard against the orchestra. Outstanding. (Otello)”

Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 

“This is Pappano’s Figaro, though. His attention to orchestral detail is quite magical and his deft harpsichord flourishes raise continuo-playing to an art form. I’ll go so far as to say that it is the best-conducted account of this opera I have yet heard.”

Mark Valencia, What’s On Stage 

“Antonio Pappano again and again demonstrated his impeccable Verdian credentials. (Simone Boccanegra)”

Roger Parker, Opera 

“An evening as much of Verdi’s music as the singing, driven (we are lucky to have him) by Antonio Pappano’s tremendous feel for drama in music as conductor. “

Adrian Hamilton, The Independent 

“Conductor Antonio Pappano ensured that musical values were genuinely high”

George Hall, The Guardian 

“The other great stars of the night were in the pit – the Royal Opera House Orchestra absolutely on fire under Antonio Pappano’s inspired direction. The music roared, swooned and sobbed in one unstoppable arch, so much so that the only real break for applause was after Tosca’s aria.”

Ditlev Rindom, Mundo Clasico