René Pape – “world’s most charismatic bass”, as Opera News wrote, received his first musical education at his home city of Dresden, Germany as a member of the world-famous Dresdner Kreuzchor. In 1988, he made his debut at the Staatsoper Berlin and has been its member ever since. In 1991, then 27-years-old bass was cast by Sir Georg Solti to the role of Sarastro in a production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Salzburg Festival and in the same year in La Scala. Debuts at other world’s opera stages followed, and René Pape keeps coming back to them as a respected permanent guest artist: 1991 – Vienna State Opera (Speaker of the Temple in Die Zauberflöte), 1994 – Bayreuth (Fasolt in Rheingold), 1997 – Covent Garden, London (King Heinrich in Lohengrin), 1998 – Paris National Opera (King Marke in Tristan und Isolde), and 1999 – Lyric Opera of Chicago (Pogner in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg). René Pape calls the Metropolitan Opera in New York his operatic “home away from home” (home being the Staatsoper Berlin). He made his debut at the Met in 1992 (Don Fernando in Fidelio), and has been returning there ever since in each season. Altogether, he sang eighteen roles in over 160 performances, ranging from Verdi to Saint-Saëns, Beethoven, R. Strauss, Mozart, Gounod, to Mussorgsky, and Wagner; including world-wide Met in HD broadcasts: Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte on Dec. 30, 2006, Boris Godunov on Oct. 23, 2010, Mephistopheles in Faust on Dec. 10, 2011, Gurnemanz in Parsifal on March 2, 2013 and Banquo in Macbeth on Oct. 11, 2014. René Pape is also a permanent guest at many festivals, including Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Orange, Verbier, and St. Petersburg (White Nights), as well as prestigious concert halls in Tokyo, Madrid, London, Florence, Paris, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston a New York (Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center). René Pape made several TV recordings, including a biographical documentary for Arte, as well as CD and DVD recordings for BMG, EMI, DGG, Teldec, etc. His first solo recording Gods, Kings & Demons was released in 2008 by Deutsche Grammophon. The CD received the prestigious ECHO Klassik Award in 2009 and his next solo album Wagner (DG, 2011) received the same award, too. ECHO Klassik was also granted to the recording of Wagner’s Die Walküre where René Pape sang the role of Wotan (Mariinsky Theatre label, 2013). His complete opera recordings include Die Zauberflöte (Decca, 2007), Tristan und Isolde (EMI Classic, 2005 and Opus Arte, 2009), Parsifal (Mariinsky Theatre label, 2010 and Sony Classical/Met live in HD, 2014), and Faust (Decca/Met live in HD, 2014). He also portrayed the roles of Sarastro and Speaker of the Temple at the motion picture of Die Zauberflöte (directed by Kenneth Branagh in 2006). In 2001, René Pape was named the Singer of the Year by Musical America.
Photo: Mathias Bothor / DG