Conductor Laureate – Welsh National Opera
Carlo Rizzi ranks among today’s leading conductors. 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, and he is in high demand as a guest artist at the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals.
Carlo Rizzi discovered opera during his formative years in Milan, attending productions at La Scala and then working as a repetiteur with the company, following his graduation from the city’s conservatoire. Since launching his conducting career in 1982 with Donizetti’s L’ajo nell’imbarazzo, he has performed over a hundred operas, with a repertoire list that is rich in Italian works but also well stocked with the music of Wagner, Strauss, Martinů and Janáček.Read more
In addition to frequent guest-conducting engagements at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, he has enjoyed two fruitful periods as Music Director of Welsh National Opera (1992–2001 and 2004–8) and was honoured to take up the position of Conductor Laureate of Welsh National Opera in 2015. He has also given critically acclaimed concert performances with distinguished orchestras around the world and most recently completed a cycle of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies with the Orchestre du Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie in Brussels, as well as concerts with the Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Hong Kong Philharmonic.
In September Rizzi opened the Metropolitan Opera season with a new production of Norma, while current and future engagements include Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann at Dutch National Opera, Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana paired with Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at the Opera di Roma, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Deutsche Oper and return visits to La Scala and WNO.
During recent seasons he has conducted a double-bill of Cavalleria rusticana and Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna at the Opéra de Paris, Rigoletto at Dutch National Opera, Tosca at La Scala, Nabucco at Chicago Lyric Opera and the world premiere of Iain Bell’s In Parenthesis at Welsh National Opera and The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
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 DVD and CD of Verdi’s La traviata recorded live at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic; numerous recital albums with renowned opera singers; and recordings of symphonic works by Bizet, Ravel, Respighi and Schubert.
“Carlo Rizzi conducted, and his ability to generate tension within a single phrase even as he drives the music forward in taut, gleaming paragraphs, made the whole thing gripping.”
“Former music director Carlo Rizzi, given a hero’s return, conducted a searing account of Verdi’s score right from the ebullient rendition of the barnstorming overture. He drew magnificent playing from the WNO Orchestra, [and] also secured big, whole-hearted singing from his cast.”
“Rizzi has Verdi in his blood, and from his cracking account of the celebrated overture to its final seraphic cadences, he conducts a fast-paced and vividly coloured account of the score, played with exceptional clarity by WNO’s wonderful orchestra.”
“All are sustained immaculately by Rizzi’s conducting, which exudes respect for the score in every bar.”
“Carlo Rizzi knows exactly what Puccini needs and he draws wonderful colours from Welsh National Opera’s orchestra. The pacing is precise, the playing supple and gripping. I could listen many times over to the hot-blooded brass, muscular strings and the despairing regret of the clarinet…”