“René Pape is certainly one of today’s towering figures in opera, literally and figuratively: the bass’s unbeatable combination of physical stature, charisma, intensity and voice is presented with an extraordinary level of artistic integrity. His musical and dramatic intentions are motivated by intelligence and commitment.”

Opera Now (London), November 2008

BIOGRAPHICAL TIMELINE

Born in Dresden in 1964, René Pape was a member of the city’s legendary Kreuzchor from 1974–81. In 1988, while still a student, he made his debut at the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden and was immediately engaged by the company. Since then on its stage he has sung most of the chief roles of his already illustrious career, the majority of them conducted by music director Daniel Barenboim. Pape is equally at home on the concert platform and has appeared with the world’s leading orchestras and renowned conductors in the major concert halls all over the globe. For his recordings, he has already received two Grammys®.

1990–1994

First appearances at the Salzburg Easter Festival. Invited by Solti to sing Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte at the 1991 Salzburg Festival; repeats the role in La Scala debut under Solti (1991). Debut as King Philip in Verdi’s Don Carlo in Basle and with the Met Opera as Don Fernando at the 1992 Seville EXPO. Sings in Haydn’s The Seasons with the Orchestre de Paris and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, both under Solti (1992); first guest appearances with the Vienna State Opera as Don Fernando, the Speaker and Sarastro (1992/93 season). Bayreuth debut as Fasolt (Das Rheingold, 1994-97)

1995–1997

New York debut as the Night Watchman in Wagner’s Meistersinger at the Met (1995); Hunding in Die Walküre at the Vienna State Opera (1996); Rocco in Fidelio at the Salzburg Festival (1996); Covent Garden debuts in Palestrina (Pfitzner) and Lohengrin (1997). Fasolt and King of Egypt (Aida) at the Met (1997). Met tour to Japan with Verdi’s Requiem and as Brander in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust (1997)

1998

Paris Opéra debut as King Marke (Tristan und Isolde); Verdi’s King Philip at Salzburg; King Henry (Lohengrin) and Old Hebrew (Samson et Dalila) at the Met

1999

Highly acclaimed interpretation of King Marke at the Met under Levine; Chicago Lyric Opera debut as Pogner in Die Meistersinger; Mozart’s Figaro at the Berlin State Opera

2000

Leporello in Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival; Escamillo (Carmen) and Rocco at the Met; Marke at the Berlin State Opera

2001

Debut at the San Francisco Opera as Pogner; appears in Japan with the Met (Verdi Requiem and Old Hebrew)

2002

Role debut as Don Giovanni at the Berlin State Opera; Frère Laurent in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at the Orange Festival; Rocco at the Bavarian State Opera; Orest in Strauss’s Elektra at the Met. Named “Vocalist of the Year” by Musical America

2003

King Henry at Covent Garden; Glyndebourne Festival debut as King Marke; Escamillo at the Verona Arena; debut as Gurnemanz (Parsifal) at the Met. DVD release: Rocco in the Met Fidelio, conducted by Levine

2004

Leporello at the Met; Gurnemanz with the NDR Orchestra; Marke at the Lucerne Festival; Philip in Florence. On DVD: the Met productions of Tristan und Isolde (Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, 2005), Samson et Dalila and Die Meistersinger, all with Levine

2005

Rocco at the Chicago Lyric Opera. At the Met, he sings his first Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust, conducted by Levine; Gurnemanz at St. Petersburg’s White Nights Festival, and the title role in Boris Godunov at the Berlin State Opera under Barenboim

2006

Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Boston Symphony under Levine. With the Met he sings Henry, Gurnemanz, Philip, Sarastro, goes on tour and participates in a Gala Concert. For his Boris Godunov at the Berlin State Opera he is named “Artist of the Year” by Germany’s opera critics. Philip at the Mariinsky and in Munich. Signs exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Recordings: Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, conducted by Abbado (Gramophone Award 2006), and The Mozart Album – arias sung by Deutsche Grammophon’s star singers

2007

Sarastro at the Met; Gurnemanz, Boris, Don Giovanni and Philip in Berlin; Marke at the Glyndebourne Festival under Jirí Belohlávek, on tour in Japan under Barenboim, and in Munich under Kent Nagano. Appears at St. Petersburg’s White Nights Festival under Valery Gergiev; in a Wagner Gala Concert at the Bavarian State Opera; and at a Gala Concert at Los Angeles Opera. Sings in Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 under Franz Welser-Möst in Cleveland (the recording is released in autumn), with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Belohlávek at the Proms, and with the Berlin State Opera under Barenboim. 2006 Opera News Award from the Metropolitan Opera Guild

2008

Appears in Tristan in Madrid and at the Met; Die Meistersinger (Pogner), Don Giovanni and Eugene Onegin in Berlin; Don Carlo in Berlin, Oslo and Vienna; role debut as Banquo in Verdi’s Macbeth at the Met; Die Walküre in Barcelona; Boris in Dresden. Concert appearances include Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 in Berlin and the Verdi Requiem in Berlin and Spain; Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death with the Met Orchestra and Gergiev at Carnegie Hall; Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra under Masur in Rome. Televised gala concert in Norway in the presence of the king; open-air concert performance of Die Walküre (Act I) at Berlin’s Waldbühne. Festival appearances include Orange (Gounod’s Faust) and Schleswig-Holstein (Wagner). Releases: A Mozart Gala from Salzburg with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Daniel Harding on DVD. Solo recording debut on Deutsche Grammophon: Gods, Kings & Demons, opera arias with the Dresden Staatskapelle conducted by Sebastian Weigle (Echo Award 2009)

2009

Zauberflöte, Lohengrin, Tristan, Parsifal, Faust and Boris Godunov at the Berlin State Opera; Don Giovanni in Vienna; Rheingold and Walküre at the Met; Don Carlo with La Scala in Tokyo; and Faust at the Chicago Lyric. Concerts include the Met’s 125th Anniversary Gala with Levine; Verdi Requiem with Santa Cecilia under Pappano in Rome and with the Scala orchestra under Barenboim in Berlin, Rome and Tel Aviv; Parsifal Act III with the London Symphony Orchestra under Gergiev at the Barbican; Mendelssohn’s Paulus with the Gewandhausorchester under Blomstedt; and Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 with NDR under Dohnányi at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie under Paavo Järvi at the Salzburg Festival. Recitals in New York, Dresden and Frankfurt

2010

This years plans include performances at the Berlin State Opera (Faust, Tristan, Onegin), La Scala (Rheingold and Walküre, beginning a new Ring production conducted by Barenboim), Dresden Semperoper and Met (Boris Godunov) and Salzburg Festival (Elektra). Concert engagements: Verdi Requiem in Munich (Gergiev), Elijah in Barcelona, Bruckner Te Deum at the Salzburg Festival, and a fundraising gala at and for the Berlin State Opera in March (Brahms Liebeslieder with Dorothea Röschmann, Waltraud Meier and Matthew Polenzani, accompanied by Barenboim and Levine). In January in Seville, he gives his first European solo recital outside Germany

3/2010

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