Pappano earned extra £200,000 at Covent Garden last year

Pappano earned extra £200,000 at Covent Garden last year


norman lebrecht

June 07, 2016

Independent analysis of the Royal Opera House accounts shows a huge wake hike for the music director. Sir Antonio Pappano was paid  £737,424 in 2014/15.

This breaks down to salary of £104,186 plus conducting fees of £633,238.

An ROH spokesman said he conducted a lot more nights last year. How many nights is two-thirds of a million quid?

Other high earners were chief executive Alex Beard (£266,875) and Royal Opera director Kasper Holten, who made £235,183 in salary, plus £14,900 in fees.

Pappano, 56, has given sterling service to the ROH over 14 years a music director, but he needs to move on before he becomes part of the furniture. Vienna Opera is vacant and Munich comes up in 2020.

Although he grew up in the US, he has never hit it off with US orchs and opera houses. On the plus side, no opera music director after Levine is more trusted by the best singers.

He is also music director at Santa Cecilia in Rome.

UPDATE: ROH swells the payroll.

pappano didonato




  • Peter Smith says:

    Pappano is worth every penny in my opinion.

  • Robin Bloxsidge says:

    I think all the payments mentioned are excessive and, wonderful though he is, Pappano’s particularly so.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    We are lucky to have Pappano and it certainly is not time for him to move on. Who would replace him? Don’t be so miserable.

  • Bill Worley says:

    Sorry I do tend to agree that Pappano should move on so the Royal Opera can get new blood. I remember people saying “who would replace Haitink” when the time came for him to leave but we found Pappano. Be assured someone would be found.

  • Emil Archambault says:

    Have standards declined? Is programming becoming stale? I’d answer no to both. So why does Pappano need to leave?

  • Nick says:

    I don’t know how many additional performances he conducted last year but it is perfectly normal international practice that conductors and solo artists get paid per performance and not through a salary. Like other Opera House Music Directors and conductors I would expect Pappano is not paid for rehearsals. That being the case, if asked to conduct more operas why should he reduce his normal fee? If you ask Domingo or Netrebko to tack on a few more performances, I’ll bet their fees are not reduced! And if the ROH had brought in another conductor to take over one of the operas Pappano conducted, the savings would surely have been minimal.

  • Stereo says:

    All publically funded arts organisations throughout the world should refuse to pay these exorbitant conductors fees it is they who are bankrupting these companies. Since I left the orchestra I played with for over 37 years in 2009 they haven’t had a pay rise.

    • rita says:

      yes, indeed, particularly galling when they make broken appeals for governments to support the arts, music the lifblood of the country etc etc etc

  • David Boxwell says:

    You can get two Paps for one Eschy. I’d say the Brits have the much better bargain.