Antonio Pappano, a Conductor of the Old School, Makes His Carnegie Debut


If you were an aspiring singer in Bridgeport, Conn., in the 1970s, chances are you knew, or at least knew about, the voice teacher Pasquale Pappano and his teenage son, Tony, who assisted him after school.

“My father would do half an hour of technical work with a pupil,” Tony recalled recently, “then I would work on repertoire for another half-hour.”

Tony Pappano from Bridgeport has come a long way since then. Knighted Sir Antonio Pappano five years ago, he has been the music director of the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London, one of the world’s most important companies, since 2002.

Since 2005, he has also been music director of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia of Rome, which he will conduct in two concerts at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 20 and 21 as part of the ensemble’s first American tour in 48 years. The concerts include works by Verdi, Respighi, Prokofiev, Mahler and Salvatore Sciarrino, and feature as soloists the pianist Martha Argerich and the soprano Barbara Hannigan.

Making a belated Carnegie debut with these performances and also a rare appearance with the New York Philharmonic in February, Mr. Pappano is, at 57, unflashy but experienced and energetic, his performances stylish and dramatic. He is one of our most sought-after conductors, and the music world is eagerly waiting to learn what course he will choose in 2020, when his Royal Opera contract expires.