Carlo Rizzi holds a long-standing reputation as one of the world’s foremost operatic conductors, in demand as a guest artist at the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals. Equally at home in the opera house and the concert hall, his vast repertoire spans everything from the foundation works of the operatic and symphonic canon to rarities by Bellini, Cimarosa and Donizetti to Giordano, Pizzetti and Montemezzi. Combining a deep expertise in the vocal art with theatrical flair and the practical collaborative skills honed over decades of experience in the world’s finest theatres, he is acclaimed by singers and audiences alike as a master of the operatic craft.

Born in Milan, Rizzi studied at the city’s conservatoire, and following his graduation was employed as a repetiteur at the legendary Teatro alla Scala. He launched his conducting career in 1982 with a production of Donizetti’s L’ajo nell’imbarazzo, and has now performed over a hundred operas, with a broad repertoire that is rich in Italian works in addition to the major titles of Mozart, Wagner, Strauss, Britten, Mussorgsky, Martinů and Janáček.

Since 2019 Rizzi is Music Director of Opera Rara, the UK-based company devoted to resurrecting and returning to the repertoire undiscovered and undervalued works from opera’s celebrated and neglected composers, and since 2015, he has been Conductor Laureate of the Welsh National Opera, following his tenure as Music Director (1992-2001 and 2004-8) during which he was widely credited with overseeing  a dramatic increase in the company’s artistic standards and international profile. He also has held long- standing relationships with the Teatro alla Scala, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and his career has seen him leading numerous productions at the most distinguished operatic addresses including the Opera National de Paris, Teatro Real Madrid, the Rossini Opera Festival of Pesaro, the Netherlands Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the New National Theatre Tokyo, Opernhaus Zürich, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie, Brussels.

Rizzi is also critically acclaimed as a symphonic conductor with distinguished orchestras around the world including Halle, the London Philharmonic, the Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Netherlands Philharmonic, Orchestra i Pomeriggi Musicali, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Hungarian National Philharmonic, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and the orchestra of the National Arts Centre, Ottawa.

In 2022/23 Rizzi opened the Metropolitan Opera New York’s season with a new production of Cherubini’s Medea alongside revivals of Tosca, La Bohème and Don Carlo. He also conducted a new staging of Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette at the Opera National de Paris and led revivals of Il Trovatore (Opera de Paris), Manon Lescaut (Bayerische Staatsoper), Aida (New National Theatre, Tokyo) and a symphonic concert with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. With Opera Rara he released recordings of Mercadante’s Il Proscritto and Leoncavallo’s Zingari.

The 2023/24 season will see the release of Donizetti’s L’Esule di Roma for Opera Rara, and the first of a projected complete edition of Donizetti’s songs, with Rizzi at the piano, accompanying a starry array of singers including Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Spyres and Ermonela Jaho. He conducts revivals of La Boheme and Un Ballo in Maschera at the Metropolitan Opera, I Vespri Siciliani at the Wiener Staatsoper, Otello at the Seoul Arts Centre, and a new production of Il Trittico for Welsh National Opera.

Carlo Rizzi’s extensive discography includes complete recordings of Gounod’s Faust, Janáček’s Katya Kabanova (in English) and Verdi’s Rigoletto and Un ballo in maschera, all with Welsh National Opera; a Deutsche Grammophon DVD and CD of Verdi’s La Traviata recorded live at the Salzburg Festival with Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon and the Vienna Philharmonic; numerous recital albums with renowned opera singers including Joseph Calleja, Juan Diego Florez, Edita Gruberova, Jennifer Larmore, Ernesto Palacio, Olga Borodina and Thomas Hampson, and most recently a pair of Gramophone Award-nominated discs for Opera Rara with Joyce El-Khoury and Michael Spyres. He has also made recordings of symphonic works by Bizet, de Falla, Ravel, Respighi and Schubert with orchestras including the London and Netherlands Philharmonics. 2024 will see the release of an album of Puccini’s complete symphonic works, including the world premiere recordings of Rizzi’s own orchestral sequences from Tosca and Madama Butterfly, with the orchestra of the Welsh National Opera.

In 2024 Rizzi was awarded the honour of ‘Grande Ufficiale’ (Grand Officer) of the ‘Ordine della Stella d’Italia’ (Order of the Star of Italy) for his commitment and contribution to promoting Italian music and culture internationally.

Apollo 13 in Concert poster




Thomas Walton

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