Antonio Pappano

Sir Antonio Pappano (born 30 December 1959) is an English-Italian conductor and pianist. He has been music director of the Royal Opera House since 2002.[2] In 2015 he received a Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society.[3]

Antonio Pappano
Pappano receiving the Vittorio de Sica prize from President Napolitano (2010)[1]
Born (1959-12-30) 30 December 1959
Epping, Essex, England
Alma materRoyal Academy of Music, London
Known forConductor of Royal Opera House, and Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Spouse(s)Pamela Bullock

Early life

Pappano was born in Epping, Essex. Pappano's family had relocated to England from Castelfranco in Miscano near Benevento, Italy, in 1958, and at the time of his birth his parents worked in the restaurant business. His father, Pasquale Pappano, was by vocation a singing teacher.[4]

When Pappano was 13 years old, he moved with his family to Connecticut. After musical training in piano, composition, and conducting, he became a rehearsal accompanist at the New York City Opera at the age of 21.[5]


Pappano attracted the attention of fellow pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, and became his assistant at the Bayreuth Festival.[6] He worked in Barcelona and Frankfurt, and served as an assistant to Michael Gielen.[7] His first conducting appearance at Den Norske Opera was in 1987, and he became music director there in 1990.[4]

In 1992, Pappano became music director of La Monnaie, the Belgian Royal Opera House, a post he held until 2002. In that year, he was named the music director of the Royal Opera House (ROH), Covent Garden.[4] At Covent Garden, Pappano and Kasper Holten, the ROH Director of Opera, shared responsibility for production.[8] His current ROH contract runs through to 2017, and was extended until 2023.[9] Pappano was the youngest conductor to lead the orchestra of the ROH, accompanying both the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet.

Pappano has also been principal guest conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2005 he became music director of the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

Pappano was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to music;[10] he was also made a Knight Grand Cross of Italy's Order of Merit.[4] On 17 January 2013 he received the Incorporated Society of Musicians' Distinguished Musician Award.[11] He was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2015.

Personal life

Pappano is married to Pamela Bullock, an American vocal coach.[8]


Pappano records regularly for Warner Classics. His recordings include:


Pappano has presented for the BBC including:

  • Pappano's Classical Voices, a four-part series exploring the great roles and the greatest singers of the last 100 years through the prism of the main classical voice types – soprano, tenor, mezzo-soprano, baritone and bass.


  1. "Palazzo del Quirinale 23/11/2010". Fotografia – Primo Mandato. Presidenza della Repubblica. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  2. Duchen, Jessica (February 2012). "Balancing Act". Opera News: 18–22.
  3. "Antonio Pappano, Andris Nelsons and Mary Bevan among RPS Awards winners". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  4. Tonkin, Boyd (6 July 2013). "Sir Antonio Pappano: 'I had no ambition to conduct'". The Independent. Independent News and Media. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  5. Anna Picard (3 December 2006). "Antonio Pappano: Local hero". The Independent. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
  6. Rupert Christiansen (2 September 2002). "High octane, high hopes". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
  7. Peter Conrad (23 February 2003). "Lightning conductor". The Observer. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
  8. Rupert Christiansen (8 September 2008). "Antonio Pappano: the unstoppable maestro". The Observer. Retrieved 8 September 2008.
  9. "Appointments". Opera. May 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  10. "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 1.
  11. "Sir Antonio Pappano receives prestigious ISM Distinguished Musician Award". Incorporated Society of Musicians. Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2013.


Maeckelbergh, Lucrèce, Antonio Pappano: Con Passione. Snoeck, 2006. ISBN 9053495274.

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Sylvain Cambreling
Music Director, Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels
Succeeded by
Kazushi Ono
Preceded by
Bernard Haitink
Music Director, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Succeeded by
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