René Pape


" Heinrich, René Pape displayed what must be the most sumptuous operatic bass in the world."

Daily Telegraph

"...the splendid bass voice of René Pape roused the performance out of its slumbers..."

Financial Times

"The world's most charismatic bass."

Opera News

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René Pape, one of the world’s leading basses, received his musical education in his native city of Dresden. He made his debut while still a student in 1988 at the Berlin State Opera and has been a member of this company ever since. There, he has performed the major roles of his repertoire, such as Rocco, König Marke, König Heinrich, Pogner, Fasolt, Hunding, Sarastro, Figaro, Leporello, Don Giovanni, Philipp II, Gurnemanz and Boris Godunov.

Internationally, he has appeared at all the major opera houses in Europe, North America and Japan including San Francisco Opera, Bayreuth, Glyndebourne, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Lucerne, Munich Opera, Orange, St. Petersburg’s “White Nights Festival” as well as the Salzburg and Verbier Festivals, touring regularly with the Metropolitan New York and Berlin State Operas. Since his successful debut, he has been a welcome regular guest artist of Metropolitan Opera. There, under James Levine he has appeared in new productions of Tristan und Isolde König Marke, Fidelio Rocco, Don Giovanni Leporello and Faust Mephisto, as well as in revivals of Lohengrin König Heinrich and Die Meistersinger Pogner. It was also in New York that he sang his first Gurnemanz under Valery Gergiev. At the Lyric Opera of Chicago he has performed the roles of Pogner under Christian Thielemann, König Marke Tristan und Isolde under Semyon Bychkov, and Rocco under Christoph von Dohnanyi.

Equally at home on the concert platform, René Pape has appeared in all major international concert halls: in Tokyo, Madrid, London, Florence, New York, Chicago, Paris, Philadelphia and Boston. He has made numerous TV appearances, including a TV-portrait for ARTE, CD and DVD recordings on the BMG, EMI, DGG, TELDEC labels, as well as performing the roles of Sarastro and Sprecher in Kenneth Branagh’s film production of The Magic Flute.

In the 2016/17 season, he had his much anticipated debut recital at the Wigmore Hall, London and returned to the Edinburgh International Festival. Following acclaimed recitals, he is reinvited to the Wigmore Hall in the 2018/19 Season.

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Heinrich der Vogler, Lohengrin

Staatsoper Berlin (December 2020)

René Pape was his usual magnificent self as the King

Opera Magazine, April 2021

Jacopo Fiesco, Simon Boccanegra (DVD recording)

Salzburg Festival (August 2019)

René Pape imbues Fiesco with characterful dignity and is on good vocal form

Opera Magazine, May 2021

Beethoven, Dvořák, Quilter & Mussorgsky

Edinburgh International Festival (August 2017)

A singer of exceptional intensity and focus, a figure who communicated with disarming directness and sincerity… this was an exceptional recital, perceptive and entirely persuasive.

David Kettle, The Scotsman *****​

Pape is certainly implacable, with scarcely a smile, even when his audience cheered and shouted for more. All is at the service of the music. No movement is wasted. The fiery furnace is within him.

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer ****

Beethoven 9 with Daniel Barenboim

BBC Proms 2012

The four soloists were led into their battle by the clarion tones of René Pape, a bass whose vocal depth and presence anchored some of the most challenging ensemble writing in the repertoire.

Guy Dammann, The Guardian [5 *****]

The soloists, particularly bass René Pape, were full of fire and conviction.

Ivan Hewitt, The Telegraph [4 ****]

Gurnemanz, Parsifal

Royal Opera House (November 2013)

Vocally the standard is set by René Pape's immaculate, intense Gurnemanz, who makes every syllable in his narrations matter.

Andrew Clements, The Guardian ****

Vocally the stars are René Pape whose Gurnemanz is easy, conversational but cavernously strong, and Gerald Finley as Amfortas.

Michael White, The New York Times

René Pape’s Gurnemanz is magnificently sung: nobly authoritative, but never pompous or barking.

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph ****

René Pape brings crisp, conversational tone to Gurnemanz’s monologues.

Andrew Clark, Financial Times *****

That this is still a triumphant evening is thanks... to the burnished beauty of Pape’s singing.

Michael Church, The Independent

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