15 April 2015 at 3.27pm | Comment on this article
Royal Opera Music Director Antonio Pappano made his Covent Garden debut in 1990. Now in his 12th year as Music Director, he has built up an impressive repertory with The Royal Opera, including the full The Ring Cycle, new productions of Les Troyens, Parsifal, Les Vêpres Siciliennes and Manon Lescaut, and two world premieres - Harrison Birtwistle’s The Minotaur and Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole.
‘This house is not a pushover – not the audience, or the orchestra or the chorus’, he says. ‘You really have to earn your spurs!’
‘When Plácido walks into the room, he raises everybody elses's game, which is a fantastic gift', he says. 'By his sheer presence, everyone around him gets better.’
For the remainder of the 2014/15 Season, Pappano conducts new productions of Król Roger – his first collaboration with Director of Opera Kasper Holten – and Guillaume Tell. He will also conduct the first in a new series of annual concert performances, which are designed to celebrate his work with the Orchestra.
‘You have to stick your nose into all corners of the repertory to keep an eye on the orchestra and its development’, he says. ‘We have to jump from Puccini to Wagner to Mozart, from Rigoletto to Anna Nicole. I think I change with every piece, and orchestra has to as well - we start again each time, but with a backlog of experience and a theatrical trust. We can count on each other!’
The Music Director is renowned as one of the world’s best conductors of Puccini.
‘Puccini was a very fastidious, refined man; a snappy dresser who loved women and sports cars’, he says. ‘There’s natural sophistication in his music, even though he’s manipulating you from note one. La bohème, for example, can only be conducted by someone who has a deep knowledge of the opera and knows the ins and outs, because otherwise it’s treacherous.’
For more on the operatic language, commissioning new work and learning to conduct – and what he’s looking forward to in the 2015/16 Season – watch highlights from the In Conversation event.
Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House perform in concert on 4 May 2015. Tickets are still available.
Król Roger runs from 1 to 19 May 2015. Tickets are still available.
Guillaume Tell runs from 29 June to 17 July 2015. General Booking opens on 31 March 2015.