Sue Lawley's castaway is conductor Antonio Pappano.
Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the conductor Antonio Pappano. He took over as music director of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden two years ago following in the footsteps of Bernard Haitink and the late Sir Georg Solti. Observers have pointed to a noticeable shift in leadership since his arrival describing him as the 'Mr Motivator' of the opera world. He's also earned a reputation for being able to attract and nurture some of the industry's most difficult stars.
He was born in 1959 in Epping, although his parents were originally from the Campania region of Italy near Naples. The family soon moved to Clapham in South London where Antonio's father worked as a singing coach at a studio in Pimlico. As a boy he studied the piano and, by the age of ten, was his father's regular accompanist. When he was 13, the family moved to Connecticut in America, where he organised school and church choirs and played the piano in a local cocktail bar. He didn't take the traditional career path into the world of opera through college and conservatoire but was sufficiently gifted to become a rehearsal pianist at the New York City Opera by the age of 21. He began to conduct, and soon came to the attention of Daniel Barenboim, who took him on as his assistant. From there he moved to the Opera House in Oslo and, by the age of 32, he was appointed musical director of the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels where he stayed until his move to the Royal Opera House two years ago.
[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
Favourite track: Young and Foolish by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans
Book: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Luxury: A piano