Massimo Zanetti

Music Director of the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra

Massimo Zanetti

On this evening, the orchestra under Massimo Zanetti is sensationally good! It could not be better! It provides an absolutely flawless and inspiring performance.”

Yehya Alazem, Klassik Begeistert

Massimo Zanetti

“A great bravo finally to Massimo Zanetti. The evening ending with a nice ovation, is largely due to him: he was able to bring his singers to the highest vocal emotion. Is this not what we expect from a Bellini opera?”

Bruno Peeters, Crescendo magazine


Massimo Zanetti maintains a high-profile international career in the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls. He is Music Director of the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra – one of the major symphonic orchestras in the Asian region – a position he has held since September 2018. His tenure has been characterised by significant success from both the audience and the press, putting the Gyeonggi Philharmonic under the international spotlight.

Besides his busy schedule of symphonic commitments in South Korea, highlights of forthcoming months include a return to Teatro alla Scala Milan conducting the annual Gala Academy Concert, symphonic concerts with the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari and at the Mikhailovsky Theater in St Petersburg. On the operatic front, future highlights include a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Seoul Metropolitan Opera and a new production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Sydney Opera House. In the 2019/20 season, Massimo Zanetti will continue his long cooperation with the Berlin Staatsoper conducting three different productions.

Recent season highlights include Bizet’s Carmen and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at Teatro all Scala Milan, Verdi’s Traviata at the Berlin Staatsoper, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Beijing’s NCPA and highly acclaimed productions of Verdi’s I Due Foscari and Simon Boccanegra at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu. On the symphonic side, he’s conducted the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the Brucknerorchester Linz as well as the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin with Sonya Yoncheva at the Philharmonie Berlin, concerts at the Komische Oper Berlin with Mischa Maisky and Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra at Suntory Hall. He also opened the Moscow’s celebrated Rostropovich Festival with the Russian National Orchestra. Zanetti has continued his long cooperation with the Dresden Semperoper and the Bavarian State Opera.  

Zanetti held the Music Director position at the Flemish Opera from 1999–2002, leading highly-acclaimed productions of a wide range of titles including Salome and Pelléas et Melisande, in addition to numerous symphonic concerts as part of the house’s orchestral season.

In past seasons, he has cooperated with the Chicago Lyric Opera, Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Paris Opéra, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Rome Opera, Bologna Opera, Turin Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, Teatro Real de Madrid, ABAO Bilbao, Cagliari Opera and Opera de Wallonie among many others.As a symphonic conductor, Massimo Zanetti has worked with the Czech Philharmonic, Weimar Staatskapelle, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, Wiener Symphoniker, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, CBSO, Manchester Hallé Orchestra, Finnish and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestras and the New Zealand Symphony. In Asia, he developed a close relationship with the NHK Symphony Tokyo, as well as with the China Philharmonic and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.

Massimo Zanetti’s impressive discography includes The Verdi Album with Sonya Yoncheva and the Munich Rundfunk Orchestra (Sony Classical, 2018), Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Decca, 2013),  Rigolettoand I Vespri Siciliani as part of the ‘Tutto Verdi’ project with Teatro Regio di Parma (Unitel Classica, 2008 and 2010). He has also recorded Flavio Testi’s Saül with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (Naïve, 2004). 


Gyeonggi Philharmonic needs a conductor of world-class calibre and sensibility, therefore I am thrilled and delighted that Maestro Massimo Zanetti will be taking up the position of Music Director. I am certain that this new cooperation will propel the Gyeonggi Philharmonic to new heights, gaining worldwide recognition as one of the major Korean orchestras. It is a great chance and we feel very lucky to start working with him in September 2018.”

Mr Jae-hoon Chung

Gyeonggi Philharmonic’s Chief Executive Officer

“Cette réussite, et cette finesse d’incarnation, on la doit aussi en très grande partie à l’excellence de la direction de Massimo Zanetti : rarement la partition de Verdi aura été dirigée avec une telle science des nuances et du phrasé, qui parvient à rendre éloquente des passages que l’on croyait connaître par cœur. Dès l’ouverture, on est frappé par ces raffinements bienvenus, qui mettent en relief tout le sens que peut prendre cette musique dès lors que l’on y accorde les soins intelligents dont bénéficient d’autres répertoires. Et ce que le chef obtient de l’orchestre, il permet aussi aux chanteurs de l’obtenir, avec des résultats impressionnants.”

Laurent Bury

Forum Opera

“Fearlessly leading the orchestra, he skillfully allowed the climaxes to unfold in an impressive manner. He freely controlled the rhythm and brought the audience’s emotional experience to the highest. He managed to create complete unity. Zanetti naturally switched between tension and relaxation through slight temporal changes which boosted the success of the dramatic narrative.”

“Under the direction of Massimo Zanetti, the Gyeonggi Philharmonic left a strong impression with a performance that was again another level higher than before. Zanetti’s music is already shaping the orchestra. Yet, the explosive dynamics Zanetti showcased was not due to the volume of the orchestra, but his subtle employment of drastic contrasts. Zanetti’s dramatically musical influence on the orchestra fills us with great hope for the future. The Gyeonggi Philharmonic gave a performance that matched the highest level of any Korean orchestra.”

Gordon Kwon

With In News

More Reviews

“Massimo Zanetti holds the prime responsibility for the successful outcome of the evening, displaying a fluid and positive communication with the Liceu orchestra, which performed with much more vibrancy and cohesion than on recent nights. Zanetti is an electrifying and energetic conductor, who also understands how to charm with the most evocative lyricism. He understands voices and provided in all respects a thoroughly convincing Verdian score. Certainly, a man like Zanetti at the head of the orchestra could do great things for the Liceu”

Alejandro Martinez, 

““Un ballo in Maschera and Verdi’s Requiem were both a highlight not just for the year but for San Diego Opera as a company. The combination of the principal cast along with Maestro Massimo Zanetti in both Ballo and the requiem was stellar. Zanetti was the most dynamic conductor I’ve seen in San Diego at any performance, anywhere.””

Garrett Harris, San Diego Reader

““It may sound absurd, but the outstanding singer in this rapturously-acclaimed premiere of Puccini’s “La Boheme” at the Deutsches Nationaltheater was in fact the Staatskapelle Weimar, inspired by the leadership of an Italian opera specialist on the podium. Massimo Zanetti was the ‘Spiritus Rector’, the guiding soul of the evening, and all eyes were glued on him. Some of Maestro Zanetti’s tempi may have unsettled more traditionally-minded listeners, but with (millimetre) precision he marshalled the minutely fluctuating tempo changes between sections, and achieved an intense flexibility of expression. In this atmosphere filled with energy, the Weimar Staatskapelle moulded this dialogue-heavy work into a single, grand aria, a multi-coloured soundscape…””

Thuringer Allgemeine, 8th September 2014, by Ursula Mieke

“Massimo Zanetti shone as the brightest star of the evening. The maestro gave a driving reading that never turned into bluster. Zanetti shaped, pushed and pulled, all while weaving together the musical fabric of the score which comprises so many colorful sonorities. It was a vision of the piece that was surprising in its inventiveness, but seemed dramatically organic. The clarity he brought to the ensemble, both vocally and instrumentally, betrayed a musically assured mind, intimately familiar with the score. The piece sounded fresh all while remaining fundamentally Verdi. Both orchestra and chorus were at their best and exceptionally attentive and inspired.”

Matthew Richard Martinez, ConcertoNet

“”Massimo Zanetti’s achievement with a focused Vienna Symphony Orchestra was hardly less than a stroke of a genius. With an agile baton, the Italian conjured blazing flames of passion and gloomy maelstroms of misfortune. The epic emotional narrative of Verdi’s orchestral accompaniment has rarely been better captured. ” “

“Zanetti’s exceptional mental powers presented an irrepressibly Russian performance of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony: passionate, spirited, infused with supernatural soulfulness […] replete with al-fresco imagery and nervous intensity…”

Thüringische Landeszeitung, April 2014

“[…] everything fits together: no rushing, but no plodding either, the brooding atmosphere well caught by all concerned. Massimo Zanetti can spin a line that encompasses the relationships and personal stances of the characters. Even the hushed playing speaks volumes. […] Working well with the singers and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, he has drawn out the turmoil and intensity of this story of political clashes and personal animosity […] with an intensity of performance that is most telling.”

John T Hughes, International Record Review, February 2014

“As Massimo Zanetti demonstrated, it all starts and ends with the conductor. And right from the orchestra’s first response to Zanetti’s downbeat, you had the feeling this was going to be special. The San Diego Symphony sounded the most accomplished and responsive it has sounded all opera season, perhaps any opera season. It played as if it was an extension of Zanetti’s baton. In an expertly paced interpretation, Zanetti found the ideal balance between giving the singers the structure they need to feel supported, but also the freedom they also need not only to breath, but to soar.”

James Chute, San Diego Union-Tribune 

“[Zanetti’s] conducting is all the more impressive for being centered on Verdi’s rather than his own conceptions of the drama. [He] discloses a refreshing comprehension of Verdi’s scenic construction, shaping numerous passages with insightful use of portamento and […] paces each scene with recognition of its unique energy but without losing sight of the formal structure of the opera as a whole. All things considered, few performances—and even fewer recordings—of Simon Boccanegra in the past half-century have taken flight with the authentic spirit of Verdi as palpably coursing through the choral singing, orchestral playing, and conducting than this one.”

Joseph Newsome, Voix des Arts, December 2013