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René Pape

René Pape

(Born 4 September 1964)

Click here for recordings and performances by René Pape.

René Pape is a German bass achieving great success and growing recognition.


Rene Pape was born in Dresden.

Following his parents divorce when he was two he frequently lived with his grandparents. His maternal grandfather was an operetta tenor and this led to an interest in music.

In the 1980's he appeared as one of the Three Boys in Die Zauberflote and he achieved international recognition in 1991, when Sir Georg Solti cast him as Sarastro in a production of Die Zauberflöte.

He was to repeat the role the same year at La Scala in Milan also under Solti.

With the Vienna State Opera during the 1992-93 season he sang Don Fernando in Fidelio, then he sang the Speaker and Sarastro.

He sang King Philip in Don Carlo in Basle Switzerland and had his Bayreuth debut under the baton of James Levine as Fasolt in Das Rheingold in 1994.

In 1995 he debuted with the Metropolitan Opera as the Night Watchman in Die Meistersinger- and he has performed there almost every year since.

He has also sung at the Met, Fasolt and the King (Aida) the Old Hebrew in Samson and Dalila, King Marke (Tristan & Isolde) Escamillo (Carmen) and Rocco (Fidelio) Oreste (Elektra) Gürnemanz (Parsifal) Leporello (Don Giovanni) and King Marke (Tristan & Isolde), Méphistophélès in Faust, King Heinrich, King Philip, and Sarastro in 2006, Banquo in Macbeth, Fasolt, Hunding in Die Walküre" and Boris Godunov in 2010.

As King Marke, he has been particularly praised and is probably the leading interpreter of the role in the world today.

Rena Pape also frequently sings with the Chicago Lyric Opera and in 2009 he gave his first solo recital in Carnegie Hall.

His London debut with the Royal Opera was in 1997 when he sang King Heinrich in Lohengrin.

In Paris in 1997 with the Opéra National de Paris he again sang King Marke in Tristan.

In 2011 he made a highly acclaimed debut singing Wotan with the Berlin Staatsoper with Daniel Barenboim conducting.

His repertoire includes all the great German bass roles, such as Mozart's Figaro, Leporello, and Don Giovanni, Pogner in Wagner's Die Meistersinger, King Heinrich in Lohengrin, Gurnemanz in Parsifal, Fasolt, Hunding and Wotan in the Ring des Nibelungen, Oreste in Strauss's Elektra as well as Ramfis in Aida, Filippo II in Don Carlo, Méphistophélès in Faust, Escamillo in Carmen, Gremin in Eugene Onegin and the title role of Boris Godunov.

In addition to the opera stages of all the major houses Rene Pape has performed regularly at all the main opera festivals such as Bayreuth, Glyndebourne, Lucerne, Orange, Saint-Petersburg, Salzburg, Verbier and White Nights.

His film debut was as Sarastro in Kenneth Branagh's film of The Magic Flute and he already has an impressive discography plus an appearance in a film version of Der Freischütz, released in 2010, in which he sang the role of the Hermit.

Rene Pape has received two Grammys for his recordings of "Die Meistersinger" in 1997 and "Tannhauser" and in 2002 he was named “Vocalist of the Year” by Musical America.

In 2006 the German opera critics named him as “Artist of the Year” for his Boris Godunov at the Berlin Staatsoper. He also won an ECHO award (the German equivalent of the Grammy) in 2009 for his solo arias album "Gods, Kings and Demons".

Click here for recordings and performances by René Pape.

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