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.
Born in Milan, Rizzi studied at the city’s conservatoire, and following his graduation was employed as a reptiteur 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. The 19/20 season will see them work together on a new recording of Donizetti’s Il Furioso all’Isola Santo Domingo, and future seasons will see performances and recordings of rarities by Offenbach 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. He also has held long-standing relationships with the Teatro alla Scala, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and his career has seen him leading numerous productions at the most distinguished operatic addresses including the Opera National de Paris, Teatro Real Madrid, the Rossini Opera Festival of Pesaro, the Netherlands Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the New National Theatre Tokyo, Opernhaus Zürich, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie, Brussels.
Rizzi is also critically acclaimed as a symphonic conductor with distinguished orchestras around the world including Halle, the London Philharmonic, the Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Netherlands Philharmonic, Orchestra i Pomeriggi Musicali, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Hungarian National Philharmonic, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and the orchestra of the National Arts Centre, Ottawa.
Rizzi opens the Canadian Opera Company’s 19/20 season with a new production of Turandot, and the season also sees his returns to Teatro alla Scala with a new production of Montemezzi’s L’Amore di Tre Re, concert performances with the Halle and the Antwerp Symphony, and his debut at the Norwegian Opera in Oslo in a new production of Rigoletto. He also returns to the Metropolitan Opera with productions of Turandot and Simon Boccanegra; to Welsh National Opera with productions of Les vêpres siciliennes and Le Nozze di Figaro; and to Lyric Opera of Chicago with the double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci.
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.