René Pape

René Pape, one of the present day’s most outstanding basses, has appeared at the Mariinsky Theatre in the role of Gurnemanz in the opera Parsifal. Stately and tall, even majestic, on stage he looked extremely impressive. We heard an exceptional bass voice in terms of the beauty of its timbre, powerful yet gentle, pliant and responsive as a baritone should be: a quality that is all but unknown among Russian basses. This complex role, which demands immense staying-power, was performed by him under Valery Gergiev to the very highest degree of perfection.

Gyulara Sadykh-zade, Gazeta (“The Newspaper” )

A beautiful, diverse and fascinating recital, with Pape deftly switching characters from aria to aria… With Philip’s aria [from Verdi’s Don Carlo], we can compare Pape to a host of basses, among them Chaliapin, Kipnis, Pinza, Christoff, London, Raimondi, Ghiaurov and van Dam. <…> To my ears, Pape sings the most introspective, suffering Philip of all… And his interpretation [of Wagner’s King Marke in Tristan und Isolde] has only grown better and subtler over the years.


Off the stage, René Pape’s own character rather intensifies his resemblance to the personas of his heroes in theatre… We are faced with the impression that – in everyday reality – he is immersed in living his own life to no less an extent than he is in living the lives of other people as he does when on stage. His insatiable nature, as it were, torn to shreds by demons, brings to mind several descriptions of the character of Fyodor Chaliapin, one of the 20th century’s most extraordinary bass singers.

Stephen Hastings, Opera News


Mariinsky Theatre Guest Soloist

René Pape was born in Dresden in 1964. He received his musical education at the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber Dresden. In 1988 Pape had his debut with the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. He is still with the same company today. At the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Pape has performed the majority of the main parts in his repertoire, including Rocco (Fidelio), King Marke (Tristan und Isolde), Henry the Fowler (Lohengrin), Veit Pogner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Leporello and Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni), Ramfis (Aida), Philip II (Don Carlo), Gurnemanz (Parsifal), Méphistophélès (Faust), Prince Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Wotan (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre), Fasolt (Das Rheingold), Hermann (Tannhäuser), Hunding (Die Walküre), Orest (Elektra), Banco (Macbeth) and Boris Godunov in the eponymous opera.

In 1991 he debuted as Sarastro at the Salzburg Festival. In 1994 René Pape made his debut as Fasolt at the Bayreuth Festival. In 1995 he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, since that same year Pape has been a guest soloist of this theatre, where he has sung eighteen roles in more than 160 productions.

Pape has also performed at the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), the Vienna State Opera, the Teatro alla Scala, the Opéra national de Paris, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Semperoper Dresden, the Teatro Real in Madrid, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, the festivals in Bayreuth, Glyndebourne, Lucerne, Verbier, Edinburgh, Aix-en-Provence, the Arena di Verona Opera Festival, the Fyodor Chaliapin International Opera Festival in Kazan and the  Stars of the White Nights festival among other venues.

René Pape made his debut at the Mariinsky Theatre in 2005, performing the role of Gurnemanz.

Repertoire at the Mariinsky Theatre:
Gurnemanz (Parsifal)
Philip II (Don Carlo)
King Marke (Tristan und Isolde)
Wotan (Das Rheingold, concert performance)

In 2010 the Mariinsky label released the disk Parsifal where the artist sang the part of Gurnemanz.

René Pape has collaborated with such record companies as BMG, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon and TELDEC. In 2004 he took part in the recording of the  Mein Herz brennt song cycle, composed by Torsten Rasch and based on the music by Rammstein adapted for bass-baritone, soprano, chorus, speaker and orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon). In 2008 Pape recorded his solo CD Gods, Kings & Demons on Deutsche Grammophon (for which he received an  ECHO KLASSIK award in 2009); while in 2011 he released a CD with the arias from Wagner’s operas. In 2015 Pape took part in the recording of the opera Macbeth with Anna Netrebko and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under the baton of Fabio Luisi.

ARTE made a television film about René Pape within the  Maestro series. Pape has received two GRAMMYs for his recordings (1997, 2002). In 2002 he was named “Vocalist of the Year” by Musical America. In 2007 Pape received an Opera News Award. In 2010 he was also awarded a Met Mastersinger.
Information for June 2021

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