Carlo Colombara is considered one of the finest Italian performers of Giuseppe Verdi’s music. His forays into bel canto and romantic French music have also been received with unanimous acclaim from audiences and critics alike. His powerful vocal timbre, wide, deep and agile, together with his great communication and convincing acting skills, have ensured him a place of honour in the contemporary operatic world.
Following a twenty-year-long career, during which he worked with the most important conductors and directors on the international scene, Carlo Colombara continues to expand his repertoire, pushed by his restless artistic spirit and tremendous dedication to singing and theatre.
In recent years he has made successful debuts as Mefistofele (Boito), Escamillo (Bizet’s Carmen), Don Pasquale (his first foray into Italian opera buffa), four bass roles in Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Offenbach) and Don Giovanni (Mozart). In 2012 he debuted in the role of Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca in Prague and Parma (concert performance), and was the star of the theatre show Tonight I Decide! , a new way to present works to the public with a look behind the scenes and examining the deepening relationship between director and singer.
In 2013, the Year of Verdi, Colombara interpreted the Messa da Requiem with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston, at the Southbank Centre for the Royal Festival Hall in London and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival. He also appeared as Zaccaria with the Stuttgart Staatsoper at the Arena di Verona and as Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra in Vienna and Salerno. His only non-Verdi roles were in La Favorite at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées, the Petite messe solennelle in Paris and Vienna and Mefistofele at the Teatro Regio di Parma.
2014 saw his eagerly awaited debut in Kolonovits new work of El Juez with José Carreras at the Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao, as well as participating to great acclaim in a historic version of Simon Boccanegra in Piacenza and Modena and celebrations of the great Bulgarian bass Boris Christoff at the Theatre of Sofia in three productions (Aida, Nabucco, Don Carlo) followed by Birmingham and London (Verdi’s Requiem under Antonio Pappano) and in Salzburg where he sang in La Favorite with Elīna Garanča, Juan Diego Flórez and Ludovic Tézier.
Carlo Colombara fell in love with opera at the age of nine, having attended a performance of Carmen at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, his native city. He began his musical training at the age of twelve (piano), while he began to study singing, his great passion, at fifteen, always in Bologna with Paride Venturi. In 1986 he won the prize for the best Italian singer at the Gian Battista Viotti Competition, and one year later he was awarded 1st prize at the As.Li.Co. competition, just before his debut at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma as Silva in Ernani (Verdi). This was followed by Seneca in L’incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi) at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna and Tiresias in Oedipus Rex (Stravinsky) at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice.
Tokyo, London, Berlin and the Wiener Staatsoper were all waiting for him, and by the 1990s he had established himself as one of the most important singers of his generation, thanks to the success of his debut at La Scala in Milan (1989) as Procida in I vespri siciliani under the baton of Riccardo Muti. He returned on numerous occasions to Milan in several different operas such as Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Lucia di Lammermoor, Nabucco, the Requiem and in the season’s opening performance of Macbeth, again conducted by Riccardo Muti.
In addition to opera, Carlo Colombara has worked intensely as a recitalist, performing Verdi’s Messa da Requiem over one hundred times in cities including Florence, Rome, London, Naples, Paris and Modena – the latter in memory of Luciano Pavarotti, with whom he appeared in the famous Modena tenor’s final performance of the Requiem.
With Zubin Mehta he participated in a spectacular production of Turandot in the Forbidden City in Beijing, a performance that was broadcast throughout the world and made available on CD and DVD.
His discography includes numerous recordings on CD and DVD for Virgin, Deutsche Grammophon, BMG, EMI, RCA, Fonè, Dynamic, Decca, Bongiovanni, Nuova Era and Naxos among others. He has also participated in several radio broadcasts (including by Radio France and Bayerischer Rundfunk) and television performances from La Scala in Milan, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. In 2008 he dedicated to the city of Seville the DVD El arte del bajo, Carlo Colombara en Sevilla, released by Naxos in 2012, in which he interprets some of the roles that made him famous.
Over the course of his career, Carlo Colombara has been awarded the Lauri Volpi Prize (1994), the Orazio Tosi Prize (1995), the Cappelli Prize (1999), the Skein of Gold prize (2002), the Monteverdi Prize (2009) and the Golden Bonci Award (2011).