Awarded the prestigious "Abbiati Prize" by the Italian Music Critics Association, "for the accomplished interpretative maturity, the breadth and curiosity of the repertoire in which he offered remarkable results through an intense seasonal activity", Roberto Abbado he is currently Musical Director of the Verdi Festival in Parma and Principal Conductor of the Philharmonic of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.
He studied conducting with Franco Ferrara at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and at the National Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome, where he was invited - the only student in the history of the Academy - to conduct the Santa Cecilia Orchestra.
Roberto Abbado made his US debut in 1991 in New York, on the podium of the St. Luke's Orchestra. Since then he has regularly returned to the United States to conduct the symphony orchestras of Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, San Francisco, as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra - of which he is one of the "Artistic Partners" - collaborating with soloists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Nigel Kennedy, Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Vadim Repin, Sarah Chang, Yefim Bronfman, Mitsuko Uchida, Alfred Brendel, Radu Lupu, André Watts, Andras Schiff, Lang-Lang and Katia and Marielle Labèque.
He was Music Director of the Münchner Rundfunkorchester from 1991 to 1998, and of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia from 2015 to 2019. He has worked, among others, with the Concertgebouworkest of Amsterdam, the Wiener Symphoniker, the Orchester national de France , the Orchester de Paris, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Gewandhausorchester and the MDR-Sinfonieorchester of Leipzig, the NDR Sinfonieorchester of Hamburg, the Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester of Stockholm, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Cecilia Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Rai National Symphony Orchestra, the Filarmonica della Scala, the Orchestra of the Municipal Theater of Bologna, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Taipei Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid.
Roberto Abbado has conducted numerous world premieres and new opera productions, including Fedora and Ernani at the Metropolitan in New York; The Sicilian Vespers at the Wiener Staatsoper; La Gioconda, Lucia di Lammermoor, La donna del lago and the world premiere of Teneke by Fabio Vacchi at La Scala; L'amour des trois oranges, Aida and La traviata at the Bayerische Staatsoper; Le comte Ory, Attila, I Lombardi at the first crusade, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Phaedra by Henze - in an Italian premiere - and Anna Bolena at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; Don Giovanni at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; Simon Boccanegra and La clemenza di Tito at the Regio in Turin; The woman of the lake at the Opéra Garnier in Paris; Ermione, Zelmira and Mosè in Egypt at the Rossini Opera Festival; the Italian premiere of Marschner's Der Vampyr at the Comunale of Bologna, the world premiere of Arianna, Fedra and Didone at the Spoleto Festival, Le trouvère and Luisa Miller at the Verdi Festival.
Passionate interpreter of contemporary music, his repertoire embraces composers such as Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, Goffredo Petrassi, Sylvano Bussotti, Niccolò Castiglioni, Azio Corghi, Ivan Fedele, Luca Francesconi, Giorgio Battistelli, Michele dall'Ongaro, Giacomo Manzoni, Salvatore Sciarrino, Fabio Vacchi, Pascal Dusapin, Henri Dutilleux, Olivier Messiaen, Alfred Schnittke, Hans Werner Henze, Helmut Lachenmann, John Adams, Ned Rorem, Christopher Rouse, Steven Stucky, Charles Wuorinen and Silvia Colasanti.
Of particular note are the symphonic tours with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (Spain 2005), the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Europe 2006), the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (Europe 2007), the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Enescu Festival in Bucharest 2009). , the Verdi Orchestra of Milan (Switzerland 2009), the Orchester Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo (Russia 2011) and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (East Coast, USA, 2011).
In recent seasons Roberto Abbado has conducted La Favorite at the Salzburg Festival (with Juan Diego Flórez and Elīna Garanča); Don Pasquale, Samson et Dalila, A Midsummer Night's Dream, I Vespri Siciliani, Tancredi, La damnation de Faust, I masnadieri, Rigoletto and Lucia di Lammermoor at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia; La Gioconda, Mohammed II, Lucia di Lammermoor, Benvenuto Cellini, Andrea Chénier and I masnadieri at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome; Norma at the Teatro Regio in Turin; Macbeth (directed by Bob Wilson) and Parsifal (directed by Romeo Castellucci) at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna; So do all of them at the Petruzzelli Theater in Bari; Rigoletto and Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan in New York; La traviata (directed by Ferzan Özpetek) and Simon Boccanegra in Hong Kong on tour respectively with the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples and the Teatro Regio in Turin; Norma at the Teatro Real in Madrid; La Traviata at the Shanghai Opera; Lucia di Lammermoor at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris; Don Pasquale at the Opera de Bilbao; Le siège de Corinthe at the Rossini Opera Festival; Lucia di Lammermoor at the Opéra de Monte Carlo.
More recently he has directed Lucia di Lammermoor and Roberto Devereux at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo; the New Year and I Puritani concert at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome; Macbeth, Messa da Requiem, A masked ball (Gustavo III) and the Divertissements from Nabucco, world premiered in modern times in a choral symphonic concert at the Verdi Festival in Parma, La Cenerentola at the Opera in Los Angeles and Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Opera Paris.
His recordings include Bellini's I Capuleti ei Montecchi (nominated "Best CD of the Year" by BBC Magazine in 1999), Rossini's Tancredi (winner of the 1997 "Echo Klassik Deutscher Schallplattenpreis" prize), Don Pasquale with Eva Mei and Renato Bruson, Turandot with Eva Marton, Ben Heppner and Margaret Price. For Decca he recorded Verismo Arias with Mirella Freni, L'amour and Arias for Rubini with Juan Diego Flórez. For Deutsche Grammophon he published Bel Canto (“Echo Klassik Deutscher Schallplattenpreis” 2009), Revive - both with Elina Garanča - and the DVD of Fedora with Mirella Freni and Placido Domingo from the Metropolitan of New York. First Italian conductor, Roberto Abbado conducted the now traditional New Year's Eve concert at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice on January 1, 2008 (on DVD for Hardy Classic Video). There are also three productions at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro: Ermione for Dynamic; Zelmira with Juan Diego Flórez, Kate Aldrich and Gregory Kunde for Decca; Mosè in Egypt with Sonia Ganassi, Dmitry Korchak, Riccardo Zanellato and Alex Esposito for Opus Arte. For Dynamic he recorded the Requiem Mass, Le trouvère signed by Robert Wilson and Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi in the Paris version of 1865, the performance won the Special Award of the Music Critics “Franco Abbiati” 2021.
(Roberto Abbado, photocredit Miro Zagnoli, below Yasuko Kageyama)