Tony Pappano: I ain’t going nowhere

Tony Pappano: I ain’t going nowhere


norman lebrecht

November 04, 2018

A twitter of speculation about the future of the Royal Opera House music director has been firmly quashed this morning by Fiona Maddocks, in an interview with Sir Antonio Pappano in the Observer:

The Royal Opera House will confirm on Monday that Pappano, 58, is to remain as music director until “at least” the end of the 2022/23 season. Appointed in 2002, he will become the longest-serving music director in its history. He will take a year’s sabbatical in the 2019/20 season.

“For a conductor, a sabbatical means working on scores, thinking afresh,” he says. You can’t imagine him drumming his fingers, except to work out a particularly tricky rhythm in a piece of Harrison Birtwistle. During his year out, Pappano will work at La Scala, Milan, the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and the Staatsoper, Berlin.

“I’m happy to guest conduct, which I’ve hardly done for the past decade. I’ll also work with young musicians. As a conductor, you are also a teacher. There’s no voodoo involved.”

This ends speculation, for now, about his successor. Rumoured front-runners have included the British-born Edward Gardner, 43, and the Latvian Andris Nelsons, 39, but a woman may enter the frame by 2023. An ROH spokesman says there’s “no active search” at the moment.

So there?

Not quite. Read on here:

There’s some bluff here…


  • Caravaggio says:

    To me, Pappano is the embodiment of overhyped and overrated. I have yet to hear anything by him 20 miles apart from definitive or important. He has had his run. Time for change now.

  • erich says:

    This is brilliant news. One would be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated music director and one who doesn’t just use the position as a stop-over between other engagements. In addition, he is a very talented media performer. Bravo ROH!

  • Bruce says:

    I’m not a fanatic, but I’ve liked everything I’ve heard of him. If ROH likes him and the feeling is mutual, then much happiness both of them.

  • Vladislav says:

    When you complain about singers ij their 20s not being able to sing large Verdi roles, you’re a dick.

    He’s a dick.

  • Talking the talk says:

    Both parties seem to have to settle for the consolation prize – always the bridesmaid never the Bride

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Not sure that is fair. Many singers seem to like coming for him and the orchestra playing is top-notch. Keeping the ROH among the leading opera companies is tough given others pay more. I don’t think the ROH are really going to find anyone obviously better.

      Could Pappano find somewhere else to perform? He doesn’t seem to have much of a US profile, so it would likely have to be somewhere else in Europe. At the very least, he might want to guest conduct more often at some of the leading venues.

  • Cantantelirico says:

    He’s been there too long as it is. Tony Pappagallo!!!