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Antonio Pappano

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

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 30 Apr 2004 09:00

Music Played

  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Tony Bennett and Bill Evans

      Young and Foolish

      • The Tony Bennett & Bill Evans album.
      • Fantasy.
  • Giacomo Puccini

    Vittoria! Vittoria! (from Tosca)

    Soloist: Franco Corelli Orchestra: The Orchestra of Del Teatro

    • Noram, Tosca, II Travatore.
    • Myto.
  • Giacomo Puccini

    E ben altro il mio sogno! (from Il Tabarro)

    Soloist: Carlo Guelfi & Maria Guleghinawith Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Antonio Pappano

    • II Trettico.
    • EMI.
  • Earth, Wind & Fire


    • The Best of EArth, Wind and Fire.
    • CBS.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    Slavonic Dance in G major, Op. 46/8

    Orchestra: Duo Crommelynck

    • Complete Works for Piano: 4 Hands Vol 11.
    • Claves.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No. 5 in C minor

    Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Carlos Kleiber

    • Symphony No. 5.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Louis Prima

    Buona Sera

    • The Entertainers.
    • Entertainers.
  • Franz Schubert

    Piano Sonata No. 21 in B flat major, D960

    Soloist: Sviatoslav Richter

    • Piano Sonatas Nos. 19 & 21.
    • Olympia.
  • Book Choice

    • Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

  • Luxury Choice

    • A piano


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Sir Antonio Pappano


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