Carlo Rizzi was born in Milan and studied piano, composition and conducting at the Milan Conservatoire. He made his debut in 1982, conducting Donizetti's L'Ajo nell'lmbarazzo at the Angelicum in Milan. In 1983 he studied with Vladimir Delman in Bologna and in 1984, with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. In 1985 he was the outright winner of the first Toscanini Conductor's Competition in Parma, and conducted Verdi's Falstaff there as a result. He then made debuts in Italian opera houses and gave concerts with Italian orchestras as well as in the Netherlands and Japan. His British debut conducting Torquato Tasso at the Buxton Festival took place in 1988 and in 1989 he made his debut with the Australian Opera in Sydney, returning the following two years. Also in 1989, he appeared for the first time with the Netherlands Opera conducting Don Pasquale. In I991/2 he returned there for a new production of Verdi's Luisa Miller; a production which he took to Geneva the following season.
In Britain he conducted for Opera North, Welsh National Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia and new productions of Count Ory and Rigoletto) and La Cenerentola, II Barbiere di Siviglia, Cosi fan Tutte and II Viaggio a Rheims for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. In October 1991 he returned to Italy to re-open the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa, (closed since its destruction during the war), with a new production of II Trovatore. In August 1992 he succeeded Sir Charles Mackerras as Musical Director of Welsh National Opera where he has conducted new productions of Elektra, Tosca, La Favorita, Eugene Onegin, Turandot, Nabucco, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, Don Giovanni, Simon Boccanegra, Fidelio, Boris Godunov and Fidelio with revivals of Un Ballo in Maschera, La Boheme, La Traviata, Le Nozze di Figaro, The Rake's Progress, Carmen and Der Rosenkavalier among others there. He made his German debut conducting L'Italiana in Algeri at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, and later conducted L'Occasione fa il Ladro and La Scala di Seta for the Cologne Opera, La Traviata for the Berlin State Opera and La Boheme at the Bavarian State Opera, Munich.
In I992, he made concert debuts with the orchestras of the Teatro Comunale, Florence, Santa Cecilia, Rome, and RAl Turin at the Pesaro Festival. He has also conducted concerts with the Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Halle, National Orchestra of Wales, Israel Philharmonic, French National Radio, Danish Radio and Montreal Symphon orchestras. In the 100th season of Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, he led the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera in their first symphonic Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London. In the summer of 1993 he made his US debut conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival and his first appearance at the Edinburgh Festival conducting Verdi's Requiem with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
He opened the 1993/4 season at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with Madama Butterfly and L'ltaliana in Algeri and made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, with La Boheme and II Barbiere di Siviglia. In 1994 he made debuts with the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Theatre de la Monnaie, Brussels, Norddeutscher Rundfunk as well as at La Scala (concerts), the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin for a major revival of La Traviata and a return to Covent Garden to conduct Otello. In 1995 he made his debuts with the San Francisco Opera with Rossini's La Cenerentola, the Philadelphia and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras. In the 1995/6 season, he returned to the Met with La Boheme, Covent Garden for La Traviata with Andrea Rost and made his debut at the Paris Opera Bastille with Norma. In 1996/7, he reappeared at the Metropolitan Opera conducting Rigoletto and L'Elisir d'Amore. Other performances that season included a new production of Norma at the Chicago Lyric Opera and Simon Boccanegra at the Paris Opera Bastille.
In August 1997 he returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl for two concerts. In 1997/8 he conducted the world premiere of Donizetti's Elisabetta for the Royal Opera at the Festival Hall, London and made debuts with the Stockholm and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestras, Netherlands Radio and Gothenburg and Dallas Symphony Orchestras. The following season he conducted a revival of Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan, his first recording for Sony and new productions of Boris Godunov for WNO and La Cenerenotola for the Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro and in 98/99 his first new production at the Metropolitan Opera (Lucia di Lammermoor), Peter Grimes produced by Peter Stein for Welsh National Opera and his first Wagner opera, Tristan und Isolde also for WNO. In 99/00 he opened the season at the Metropolitan with Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci and conducted a new production of The Turn of the Screw, and revivals of Der Rosenkavalier for Welsh National Opera, Macbeth for the Deutsche Oper, Berlin and La Cenerentola for Pesaro. This season he opened the season at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, with Tosca after which he will conduct concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Sydney Symphony Orchestras.
Future plans include new productions of Katya Kabanova at WNO, II Trovatore at the New York Met and Royal Opera House Covent Garden and La pietra del paragone for Pesaro. In the concert hall, he plans further debuts with Japanese and European orchestras.
Carlo Rizzi has recorded ten complete operas and various orchestral works and recital discs for companies including Teldec, Philips, EMI, Sony, Collins Classics, Bongiovanni, Hunt etc. These have included La Traviata with Gruberova, Shicoff, Zancanaro and the London Symphony Orchestra, Rigoletto with Vaduva, Leech, Agache, Ramey and the Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, Faust (Gounod) with Gasdia, Hadley, Agache and Ramey again with the Chorus and Orchestra of WNO, Un Ballo in Maschera with Crider, Zaremba, Leech, and Chemov again with WNO forces, a record of Verdi Choruses with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome, recital discs with Olga Borodina, Jerry Hadley and Thomas Hampson, Alfredo Kraus among others, orchestral recordings including Bizet's L'Arlesienne complete and Respighi Tone Poems both with the London Philharmonic. Earlier recordings of operas by composers including Cimarosa, Donizetti, Paisiello, Piccinni and Rossini and works for piano and orchestra by Chopin.
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