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Carlo Rizzi

Job Role: International Chair in Conducting

Department: Conducting

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Born in Milan, Rizzi studied at the city’s conservatoire, and following his graduation was employed as a repetiteur at the legendary Teatro alla Scala. 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.

In September 2019 he was appointed Music Director of Opera Rara, the UK-based company devoted to resurrecting and returning to the repertoire undiscovered and undervalued works from opera’s celebrated and neglected composers. Following 2022’s new recording of Mercadante’s Il Proscritto, the position was extended until 2025, and future seasons will see performances and recordings of rarities by Donizetti and Halevy. 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.


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.

2022/23 will see him opening the new season of the Metropolitan Opera New York in a new production of Cherubini’s Medea alongside revivals of Tosca, La Bohème and Don Carlo (Met), and conduct a new staging of Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette at the Opera National de Paris. He also leads revivals of Il Trovatore (Opera de Paris), Manon Lescaut (Bayerische Staatsoper) and Aida (New National Theatre, Tokyo), and conducts symphonic concerts with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra.

Notable Achievements

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.

Watch Carlo Talks: On Zingari

Read a recent Seen and Heard International review of Mercadante’s Il proscritto from Carlo Rizzi and Opera Rara

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