René Pape

Bass

René Pape

Pape received his musical education with the Dresdner Kreuzchor and the Dresden Conservatory. He debuted with the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in 1988, and achieved international recognition in 1995, when Sir Georg Solti cast him as Sarastro in a production of Die Zauberflöte. The year 1995 also saw his debut with the Metropolitan Opera, where he has performed every year since.

His repertoire includes virtually all the great German bass roles, as well as Ramfis in Aida, Filippo II in Don Carlo, Méphistophélès in Faust, and the title role of Boris Godunov. He made his film debut as Sarastro in Kenneth Branagh's The Magic Flute, which premiered simultaneously at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2006 Venice Film Festival.

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Boito: Mefistofele

Boito: Mefistofele

Recorded at Bayerische Staatsoper München, 2015


René Pape (Mefistofele), Joseph Calleja (Faust), Kristine Opolais (Margherita), Karine Babajanyan (Elena), Heike Grötzinger (Marta), Andrea Borghini (Wagner), Rachael Wilson (Pantalis) & Joshua Owen Mills (Nerèo)

Bavarian State Orchestra, Omer Meir Wellber (conductor) & Roland Schwab (stage director)

Piero Vinciguerra, set designer

Renée Listerdal, costume designer

Michael Bauer, lighting designer

Stefano Giannetti, choreographer

Best-known today as the librettist of Verdi’s final Shakespearean masterpieces, Otello and Falstaff, the multitalented Arrigo Boito was also a fine composer in his own right. Hugely ambitious in scope, and some 20 years in the making, his first (and only completed) opera, Mefistofele, sets out to encompass nothing less than the whole of Goethe’s vast poetic drama Faust (part I and II), and is considered the very central work of his phase between Verdi and Puccini.

Making his debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper, director Roland Schwab (a protégé of the legendary Ruth Berghaus) plays devil’s advocate by setting the opera in a nightmarish atmosphere. “The exceptional solistic cast” (ORF) features René Pape, Joseph Calleja, Kristine Opolais and Karine Babajanyan.

Picture format: NTSC 16:9

Sound format: PCM Stereo / DTS 5.1

Region code: 0 (worldwide)

Subtitles: Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese

Booklet notes: English, German, French

Running time: 140 mins

No. of DVDs: 1 (DVD 9)

“Omer Meir Wellber conducts a thinking man’s version of the score, and René Pape matches him as a sardonic, measured protagonist. Joseph Calleja is at his stylish best as Faust, Kristine Opolais is dramatically convincing but vocally scratchy as Margherita” Opera Now, February 2017 ****

“René Pape’s Mefistofele is restrained and autocratic…Calleja is also far less camp than has become the norm for Faust, to the opera’s benefit. Both men are in seriously good voice. As is Opolais, who lavishes no small weight of tone on the part…this release is a good first calling post for Boito’s drama” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“Pape revels in the grotesque vocal grandeuer of his suited and booted Mefistofle , with Joseph Calleja offering a thoughtful, sweet-toned Faust, painfully aware of the wrong turs he takes on his road to eventual salvation.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2017 ***/*****

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Boito: Mefistofele

Boito: Mefistofele

Recorded at Bayerische Staatsoper München, 2015


René Pape (Mefistofele), Joseph Calleja (Faust), Kristine Opolais (Margherita), Karine Babajanyan (Elena), Heike Grötzinger (Marta), Andrea Borghini (Wagner), Rachael Wilson (Pantalis) & Joshua Owen Mills (Nerèo)

Bavarian State Orchestra, Omer Meir Wellber (conductor) & Roland Schwab (stage director)

Piero Vinciguerra, set designer

Renée Listerdal, costume designer

Michael Bauer, lighting designer

Stefano Giannetti, choreographer

Best-known today as the librettist of Verdi’s final Shakespearean masterpieces, Otello and Falstaff, the multitalented Arrigo Boito was also a fine composer in his own right. Hugely ambitious in scope, and some 20 years in the making, his first (and only completed) opera, Mefistofele, sets out to encompass nothing less than the whole of Goethe’s vast poetic drama Faust (part I and II), and is considered the very central work of his phase between Verdi and Puccini.

Making his debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper, director Roland Schwab (a protégé of the legendary Ruth Berghaus) plays devil’s advocate by setting the opera in a nightmarish atmosphere. “The exceptional solistic cast” (ORF) features René Pape, Joseph Calleja, Kristine Opolais and Karine Babajanyan.

Picture format: 1080i High Definition

Sound format: PCM Stereo / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Region code: 0 (worldwide)

Subtitles: Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese

Booklet notes: English, German, French

Running time: 140 mins

No. of Discs: 1 (BD 50)

“Pape revels in the grotesque vocal grandeuer of his suited and booted Mefistofle , with Joseph Calleja offering a thoughtful, sweet-toned Faust, painfully aware of the wrong turs he takes on his road to eventual salvation.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2017 ***/****

“René Pape’s Mefistofele is restrained and autocratic…Calleja is also far less camp than has become the norm for Faust, to the opera’s benefit. Both men are in seriously good voice. As is Opolais, who lavishes no small weight of tone on the part…this release is a good first calling post for Boito’s drama” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“Omer Meir Wellber conducts a thinking man’s version of the score, and René Pape matches him as a sardonic, measured protagonist. Joseph Calleja is at his stylish best as Faust, Kristine Opolais is dramatically convincing but vocally scratchy as Margherita.” Opera Now, February 2017 ****

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Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal


Andreas Schager (Parsifal), Anja Kampe (Kundry), Wolfgang Koch (Amfortas), René Pape (Gurnemanz), Tomas Tómasson (Klingsor), Matthias Hölle (Titurel)

Staatskapelle Berlin, Staatsopernchor, Konzertchor der Staatsoper, Daniel Barenboim & Dmitri Tcherniakov (director)

Wagner’s final opera is a medieval epic story marked by Christian, Buddhist and esoteric references. It is about redemption and renewal, but this new production by Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov adds a jarring note: revenge.

“A fresh take on the opera that will challenge and provoke you.” MusicWeb International, October 2016

“Musically it’s first-class…the casting is pretty much ideal and all deliver superbly. Kampe proves with her gleaming high notes that this role needs a soprano…[Schager] has both weight and lyricism. Pape now colours more committedly than in previous recordings of the role; Koch and Tómasson also do very well” Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

“Tcherniakov has established himself as one of our most important directors of opera, and this foray into Wagner shows why, with its mix of respect for the drama and its traditions, and its innovative ideas...A must for anyone with Wagnerian inclinations.” New York Times, 24th November 2016

“Daniel Barenboim’s conducting - patient, serious and drawing beautiful playing from the Staatskapelle - is a good match for Tcherniakov’s concentrated, melancholy vision of the work. It’s beautifully shot, too.” Opera, February 2017

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Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K492

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K492

Recorded live at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin, 1999


René Pape (Figaro), Dorothea Röschmann (Susanna), Emily Magee (Countess Almaviva), Roman Trekel (Count Almaviva) & Peter Schreier (Basilio)

Staatskapelle Berlin & Staatsopernchor, Daniel Barenboim (conductor) & Thomas Langhoff (stage director)

Special new release of the first official Arthaus Musik Production from the original HD material.

This memorable recording from the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin was Arthaus Musik’s first official release in 2000. It features one of the most popular Mozart operas, Le Nozze di Figaro (the Marriage of Figaro), a witty satire on the authority of the reigning noble class and infidelity in love relationships. Starring a great cast of singers with Dorothea Röschmann, René Pape, Emily Magee and Peter Schreier – to name but a few – this performance is conducted by Daniel Barenboim, chief conductor of the Berlin State Orchestra since 1992, named conductor for life by the orchestra in 2000.

The specialized press and the public cheered this production of Le Nozze di Figaro at the Mozart Festival of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin as a veritable “festival of voices“ and a “complete success”.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo, dts-HD Master Audio 5.1

Picture Format: 16:9

Subtitles: IT (Original Language), GB, DE, FR, ES, JP, Korean

Blu-ray Disc 50 GB (Dual Layer)

Resolution: 1080i High Definition (Upscale)

Running Time: 191 mins

FSK: 0

Region: worldwide

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Arthaus Musik - 111111

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Verdi: Macbeth

Verdi: Macbeth


Željko Luèiæ (Macbeth), René Pape (Banquo), Anna Netrebko (Lady Macbeth), Claudia Waite (Lady-in-Waiting to Lady Macbeth), Christopher Job (A Servant of Macbeth), Raymond Renault (Duncan, King of Scotland), Noah Baetge (Malcolm, Duncan’s Son), Joseph Calleja (Macduff, Thane of Fife), Moritz Linn (Fleance, Banquo’s Son), Richard Bernstein (A Murderer), Seth Malkin (A Herald), James Courtney (A Doctor), David Crawford (A Warrior), Ashley Emerson (A Bloody Child), Jihee Kim (A Crowned Child)

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Fabio Luisi, Adrian Noble (dir.)

An unforgettable performance of Anna Netrebko at the MET now on DVD/BR!

Outstanding press acclaim for her performance:

New York Observer stated: “.. a superstar cast ... the most potent: Anna Netrebko's ferociously exciting star turn as Lady Macbeth ... a "demented" performance, one so exciting it propels both artist and audience figuratively to the brink of madness.”

While the New York Times writes: “Lady Macbeth is causing a sensation at the Metropolitan Opera ... This was Ms. Netrebko's night”

This MET performance featured not only an astonishing Anna Netrebko, but also a superstar-cast with artists like Željko Luèiæ, René Pape, Joseph Calleja and a brilliantly performing MET Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Fabio Luisi.

The DVD includes bonus material with artist interviews and backstage footage:

- 2 intros / Host: Anita Rachvelishvili

- Acts I and II (1’26)

- Act III and IV (0’15)

Backstage at the Met with host Anita Rachvelishvili (c. 15’)

- Interview: Anna Netrebko (2’19)

- "Gallery Met Shorts" (2'03)

- Interview: Željko Luèiæ (1’27)

- Interview: Joseph Calleja and René Pape (3’12)

- Interview: Donald Palumbo and David Frye (3’02)

- Interview: Fabio Luisi (2’28)

“[Noble's] direction is frequently gripping, aided by two magnificent central performances. Anna Netrebko's darker soprano of recent years is not perfectly suited to Verdi's heavier roles...it was a performance matched by Željko Luèiæ's Macbeth. His velvety timbre and stylish phrasing mark him out as one of the few Verdi baritones today worthy of the description...Luisi revels inthe score's dark tinta.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2016

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Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House


Simon O’Neill (Parsifal), Angela Denoke (Kundry / Voice from Above), René Pape (Gurnemanz), Gerald Finley (Amfortas), Willard W. White (Klingsor) & Robert Lloyd (Titurel)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Stephen Langridge (director)

Wagner’s last opera Parsifal is a work of intense humanity. It narrates the story of a troubled community ultimately healed through one man’s realization of the power of compassion. Created in honour of the bicentenary of Wagner’s birth, Stephen Langridge’s new production, with designs by Alison Chitty, distils with ‘intellectual fibre and visual eloquence’ (Financial Times) the timeless and universal nature of the Parsifal story. The cast includes great Wagnerian tenor Simon O’Neill in the title role. René Pape as Gurnemanz is ‘immaculate’ (Guardian), Gerald Finley as Amfortas is ‘compelling’ (Telegraph) and Angela Denoke as Kundry is ‘dramatically electrifying’ (Telegraph). The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House under Royal Opera Music Director Antonio Pappano give a ravishing rendition of Wagner’s sublime score. Filmed in High Definition and recorded in true Surround Sound.

Running time: 281 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Amfortas [is] sung and acted with the greatest distinction by Gerald Finley...Denoke is always striking as Kundry but doesn't really have a large enough voice for the demanding role. The minor roles are well taken. And the orchestra covers itself with glory, tirelessly magnificent for all 270 minutes.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2015 **

“this is a well-thought-through production whose ideas don’t fight against the music...In musical terms, too, this is a simply excellent performance...[Gurnemanz] is a role that René Pape might have been born to sing...[Finley] is similarly balm to the ears as Amfortas...[Denoke] seizes every dramatic opportunity which the role gives her.” MusicWeb International, 9th December 2014

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Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal


Jonas Kaufmann (Parsifal), Katarina Dalayman (Kundry), Peter Mattei (Amfortas), René Pape (Gurnemanz), Evgeny Nikitin (Klingsor), Rúni Brattaberg (Titurel), Maria Zifchak (Stimme)

Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet of the Metropolitan Opera, Daniele Gatti, Francois Girard (dir.)

Metropolitan Opera Broadcast

François Girard's new production of Wagner's Parsifal, conducted by Daniele Gatti and starring Jonas Kaufmann, Katarina Dalayman, and René Pape in the leading roles, opened February 15 to popular and critical acclaim.

Wagner at first ordained that Parsifal be staged only in Bayreuth, at his own theater. The music drama was introduced there on July 26, 1882, six months before the composer's death. Against the wishes of Wagner's heirs, Heinrich Conried presented the U.S. stage premiere of the work during his first season as general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, in 1903. Protests from Wagner's widow, Cosima, brought the issue to court. Ultimately Conried won, and the Metropolitan's version was hailed by some critics as superior to Bayreuth's. The Met's next new Parsifal production, in 1920, was directed by Richard Ordynski and designed by Josef Urban, whose decors were not replaced until 1956, when the company presented a new staging by Herbert Graf. The Met subsequently offered new Parsifal productions in 1970 (Nathaniel Merrill) and 1991 (Otto Schenk). The company's new staging by François Girard, a coproduction with the Opéra National de Lyon and Canadian Opera Company, had its Met premiere on February 15, 2013, with Daniele Gatti conducting.

“Few better casts could be imagined than the one the Met has assembled here. Jonas Kaufmann is the rare Wagnerian hero you can believe in.” **** Bachtrack

“The conductor Daniele Gatti draws diaphanous playing from the great Met orchestra and captures the shifting currents of this richly chromatic and complex score.”NYTimes.com

“At 43 Mr. Kaufmann is in his glory, equally adept in German, Italian and French repertory. Handsome and limber, he is a natural onstage. The baritonal colorings of his sound, his clarion top notes, the blend of virility and tenderness in his singing, his refined musicianship — all these strengths come together in his distinctive Parsifal.” NYTimes.com

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Subtitles: GB, FR, DE, SP, IT

“The cast is magnificent...The biggest revelation is Peter Mattei’s searing Amfortas...[Kaufmann's] transformation from the gauche, feral boy of the first act to the grizzled spiritual leader of the last is masterfully paced...Gatti lets everything unfold in its own time, to luminous, hypnotic effect.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 17th February 2014

“Kaufmann is the Parsifal we've all been waiting for...Matching his agonies are those of Peter Mattei's Amfortas and Katarina Dalayman's lustrous, secure Kundry, while the relaxed, minimal gestures of Rene Pape's Gurnemanz bely the vocal armoury he unleashes in the last Act. Gatti's pacing isn't my ideal...but on its own terms it's remarkable.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

“The orchestral sound is consistently rich and resonant...The impassioned intensity Jonas Kaufmann brings to Parsifal's music is matched by the rhetorical conviction of Peter Mattei's Amfortas and Evgeny Nikitin's Klingsor...This is very much Wagner for the 21st century.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

“a fine-looking production...Kaufmann’s Parsifal looks and sounds the part and is well-paced. Evgeny Nikitin’s Klingsor seems to enjoy raising the rafters...Peter Mattei’s Amfortas steals the show with his gleaming baritone and anguished acting – a superb assumption.” Opera Now ****

Presto Disc of the Week

17th February 2015

Presto Discs of 2014

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Finalist - Opera

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Sony - 88883725589

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Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal


Jonas Kaufmann (Parsifal), Katarina Dalayman (Kundry), Peter Mattei (Amfortas), René Pape (Gurnemanz), Evgeny Nikitin (Klingsor), Rúni Brattaberg (Titurel), Maria Zifchak (Stimme)

Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, Daniele Gatti, Francois Girard (dir.)

Metropolitan Opera Broadcast

François Girard's new production of Wagner's Parsifal, conducted by Daniele Gatti and starring Jonas Kaufmann, Katarina Dalayman, and René Pape in the leading roles, opened February 15 to popular and critical acclaim.

Wagner at first ordained that Parsifal be staged only in Bayreuth, at his own theater. The music drama was introduced there on July 26, 1882, six months before the composer's death. Against the wishes of Wagner's heirs, Heinrich Conried presented the U.S. stage premiere of the work during his first season as general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, in 1903. Protests from Wagner's widow, Cosima, brought the issue to court. Ultimately Conried won, and the Metropolitan's version was hailed by some critics as superior to Bayreuth's. The Met's next new Parsifal production, in 1920, was directed by Richard Ordynski and designed by Josef Urban, whose decors were not replaced until 1956, when the company presented a new staging by Herbert Graf. The Met subsequently offered new Parsifal productions in 1970 (Nathaniel Merrill) and 1991 (Otto Schenk). The company's new staging by François Girard, a coproduction with the Opéra National de Lyon and Canadian Opera Company, had its Met premiere on February 15, 2013, with Daniele Gatti conducting.

“Few better casts could be imagined than the one the Met has assembled here. Jonas Kaufmann is the rare Wagnerian hero you can believe in.” **** Bachtrack

“The conductor Daniele Gatti draws diaphanous playing from the great Met orchestra and captures the shifting currents of this richly chromatic and complex score.”NYTimes.com

“At 43 Mr. Kaufmann is in his glory, equally adept in German, Italian and French repertory. Handsome and limber, he is a natural onstage. The baritonal colorings of his sound, his clarion top notes, the blend of virility and tenderness in his singing, his refined musicianship — all these strengths come together in his distinctive Parsifal.” NYTimes.com

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“The cast is magnificent...The biggest revelation is Peter Mattei’s searing Amfortas...[Kaufmann's] transformation from the gauche, feral boy of the first act to the grizzled spiritual leader of the last is masterfully paced...Gatti lets everything unfold in its own time, to luminous, hypnotic effect.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 17th February 2014

“Kaufmann is the Parsifal we've all been waiting for...Matching his agonies are those of Peter Mattei's Amfortas and Katarina Dalayman's lustrous, secure Kundry, while the relaxed, minimal gestures of Rene Pape's Gurnemanz bely the vocal armoury he unleashes in the last Act. Gatti's pacing isn't my ideal...but on its own terms it's remarkable.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

“The orchestra sound is consistently rich and resonant...The impassioned intensity Jonas Kaufmann brings to Parsifal's music is matched by the rhetorical conviction of Peter Mattei's Amfortas and Evgeny Nikitin's Klingsor...This is very much Wagner for the 21st century.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

“a fine-looking production...Kaufmann’s Parsifal looks and sounds the part and is well-paced. Evgeny Nikitin’s Klingsor seems to enjoy raising the rafters...Peter Mattei’s Amfortas steals the show with his gleaming baritone and anguished acting – a superb assumption.” Opera Now ****

Presto Discs of 2014

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GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Opera

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Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620 (highlights)

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620 (highlights)


Christoph Strehl (Tamino), Hanno Müller-Brachmann (Papageno), Erika Miklosa (Die Königin der Nacht), René Pape (Sarastro)

Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

DG Virtuoso - 4786404

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Wagner: Das Rheingold

Wagner: Das Rheingold


René Pape (Wotan), Nikolai Putilin (Alberich), Stephan Rügamer (Loge), Ekaterina Gubanova (Fricka), Viktoria Yastrebova (Freia), Zlata Bulycheva (Erda), Andrei Popov (Mime), Evgeny Nikitin (Fafner), Mikhail Petrenko (Fafner), Sergei Semishkur (Froh), Alexei Markov (Donner), Zhanna Dombrovskaya (Woglinde), Irina Vasilieva (Wellgunde), Ekaterina Sergeeva (Flosshilde)

Mariinsky Orchestra, Valéry Gergiev

In September 2013 the Mariinsky label releases the highly anticipated second instalment of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen conducted by Valery Gergiev. Recorded in the sumptuous acoustic of the Mariinsky Concert Hall, Das Rheingold is led by René Pape in the role of Wotan. Pape is ably supported by an international Wagnerian cast, and ‘Gergiev’s absolute mastery of this orchestra,’ (Wagner News) is in evidence once again in a tremendously dramatic performance. Siegfried and Götterdämmerung will complete the cycle in 2014.

Der Ring des Nibelungen was the pinnacle of Richard Wagner’s long and turbulent career and without question one of the greatest achievements in opera. Wagner wanted to create the perfect synthesis of music and drama and assumed total creative control of the project which was to take him 26 years to complete, with frequent interruptions. He introduced numerous innovations, not least the sheer scale of the project – typically a complete performance will last in excess of 15 hours, spread over four evening. No other opera matches the scale or ambition of the Ring.

The Mariinsky Theatre has close connections with Wagner and his music. The composer conducted at the theatre and was even offered the post of Music Director. It is also believed to be the first place where any of the music from the Ring was performed. Since Valery Gergiev became Music Director of the Mariinsky, Wagner’s music has once again become a core part of the theatre’s repertoire, both in St Petersburg and on tour.

“Gergiev tackles Wagner with the same excitement he brings to all his music-making. With that intensity comes a waywardness, usually concerning tempi...The orchestra is superb. All told this is a characterful and compelling account.” The Observer, 1st September 2013

“[Gergiev] draws plenty of vivid drama and glowing colour from the Mariinsky players, particularly the uniquely silken but powerful brass...Mikhail Petrenko and Evgeny Nikitin [make a] rich-voiced pair of giants, a splendid characterisation...the women...are really impressive. Stephan Rugamer shows how much a truly lyrical Loge can make of his music.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 ****

“[Pape's] superbly well-sung performance is far from monotonously dignified...there are no weak links in this cast: Fricka, Loge, Fasolt and Fafner are all as good as any of the recently recorded rivals you might care to name...the uniquely euphoric spirit of The Ring's prelude emerges with irresistable conviction as the compelling drama unfolds.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“[Pape] is a singer in the Wagnerian lyric bass mode rather than the more conventional heroic bass-baritone. Even so, he has no difficulty with the high notes. His pointing of the text often pays dividends..in the casting of the two giants the Mariinsky does not disappoint...Markov is a magnificent Donner, sending out his challenge to the thunder in ringing tones.” MusicWeb International, 18th November 2013

“Gergiev conducts a swift reading in this performance – this Rhine is in full flood...Pape’s Wotan is pretty magisterial...Gubanova is a solid Fricka, sounding younger and less hectoring than many...The Rhinemaidens are forthright, almost cheerful; Ekaterina Sergeeva’s even mezzo is particularly attractive as Flosshilde.” Opera Now ***

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