German bass René Pape made his Royal Opera debut in February 1997, singing Pope Pius IV (Palestrina) and Heinrich I (Lohengrin) in parallel runs. He has since sung Count Massimiliano (I masnadieri), Méphistophélès (Faust) and Gurnemanz (Parsifal) for The Royal Opera.
Pape was born in Dresden in 1964 and sang with the Kreuzchor from 1974 to 1981. He went on to train at the Dresden Conservatory and in 1988 made his professional debut at the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden while still a student. He continues to sing regularly with the Berlin State Opera, and with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, where he has sung in more than 190 performances since his debut in 1995. His repertory includes all the major Wagner bass-baritone roles, Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Philip II (Don Carlo) and Boris Godunov.
Pape first came to international prominence following his performances as Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte) at the Salzburg Festival under Georg Solti, who championed Pape throughout his early career. In addition to his extensive operatic repertory Pape is a prolific recitalist, and has released several award-winning solo discs through Deutsche Grammophon. In 2006 he made his film debut as Sarastro in Kenneth Branagh’s The Magic Flute.