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René Pape

Bass

Biography

René Pape in action.
René Pape in Parsifal, The Royal Opera © ROH/Clive Barda, 2013

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) and Méphistophélès (Faust) and Gurnemanz (Parsifal) for The Royal Opera.

Pape was born in Dresden in 1964 and sang with the city’s illustrious 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, while singing regularly with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, where he has sung in over 190 performances with the Company 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 devoted 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.

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