Conductor Laureate – Welsh National Opera
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.
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. 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 2015, Rizzi 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, Dutch National Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Zürich Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie, Brussels.
He has also given critically acclaimed concert performances with distinguished orchestras around the world including the Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Netherlands Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, 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. He has also completed a cycle of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies with the Orchestre du Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie in Brussels.
Rizzi’s 17/18 season saw him open the Metropolitan Opera season with a new production of Norma, and a revival of Franco Zeffirelli’s legendary production of Turandot, make his debut at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma with the time-honoured pairing of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. He made his symphonic debuts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Hallé Orchestra, conducted his first performances of La Forza del Destino and Les Contes d’Hoffmann at Welsh National Opera and Dutch National Opera respectively, and led a revival of Madama Butterfly at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Highlights of the current season and beyond include returns to the Metropolitan Opera with productions of Tosca, Mefistofele and Simon Boccanegra; and to Welsh National Opera with productions of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera and his first performances of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux. He will return to the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro to lead a new production of one of Rossini’s early successes, L’equivoco Stravagante, and make his debut with the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Japan, with a production of Verdi’s Falstaff. In the symphonic field, he will debut with the New Japan Philharmonic and make return visits to the Hallé Orchestra, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini of Parma, and I Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan.
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.