Biografie: Carlo Colombara is today considered to be an exemplar for bass repertoire. His incursions into romantic bel canto and into the French creative scene have received unanimous applause from audience and critics alike. Some of his most acclaimed triumphs have been for his work performing Verdi as he is recognized as one of the most perfect interpretors of the Italian composer’s music. His tone is powerful, wide, dark, agile and has a sensitive power to communicate and this, coupled with his convincing acting skills, has brought him to the top of the contemporary operatic scene.
After a two decade long career and having worked with the most important conductors and directors in the international panorama, Carlo Colombara continues to widen his repertoire, which juxtaposes Monteverdi with Puccini or Stravinsky with Montemezzi – he is constantly pushed by his restless artistic spirit and his enormous vocation for singing and the theatre. In the last years he debuted in Boito’s Mefistofele at the Savonlinna Festival, in Bizet’s Carmen as Escamillo at the Festival of Caracalla, the four roles of bass-baritone in Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, in Don Pasquale at the Festival of Peralada (Spain), the first Opera buffa for the Italian bass and finally the long-awaited debut in Don Giovanni at the Teatro del Giglio of Lucca.
At the age of nine he fell in love with the operatic genre after seeing a production of Carmen in the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, his city of birth. He began his training at twelve with piano classes and started singing – his great passion – from the age of fifteen, perfecting his voice in Bologna with Paride Venturi. In 1986 he won the prize for the best Italian singer in the G. B. Viotti competition and the following year he won the As.Li.Co competition before debuting in the Teatro dell´Opera in Rome with Silva in Ernani (Verdi), and following with Seneca in L’incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi) at the Bologna Comunale and Tiresias in Oedipus Rex (Stravinsky) at La Fenice in Venice.
After that Tokyo, London Berlin and the Wiener Staatsoper, no less, awaited him. In the 90s he became recognized as one of the most outstanding singers of his generation and his acclaimed debut as Procida in I vespri siciliani, conducted by Riccardo Muti in Milan’s La Scala in 1989 contributed to his reputation. He will come back to the Milanese Theater with I maestri cantori di Norimberga, Requiem, Lucia di Lammermoor, Nabucco and opening a season with Macbeth, conducted by Muti.
Carlo Colombara’s career is extensive and he has debuted in some of the most important theatre companies in the world such as the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Covent Garden Royal Opera House in London, Arena in Verona, Opernhaus in Zurich, San Carlo in Naples, Colón in Buenos Aires, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Bolshoi in Moscow, the Real in Madrid, the New National Theater in Tokyo and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona among many others.
Some of the decisive points in his career in the last few years have been his performances in Don Carlo in Zurich, Seville and Bologna, Simon Boccanegra in Paris, Zurich and Munich, Aida in London, Florence, Barcelona and New York, Ernani in Madrid, Zurich and Vienna, Macbeth in Naples, Madrid and Munich, Norma in Chicago, Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Tokyo, La Gioconda in Verona and Barcelona, La Bohème en Naples (directed by Franco Zeffirelli with whom he has collaborated on many other occasions), Turandot in the Bolshoi, I Lombardi in Zurich, I Puritani in Vienna and Palermo, Seramide in Venice, Attila en Vienna, Genoa and Macerata, Nabucco in Vienna and Reggio Emilia and many, many more.
He has collaborated assiduously with not only Riccardo Muti but also practically all the most significant conductors of the last decades such as Bruno Bartoletti, Gary Bertini, Riccardo Chailly, Myung-Whun Chung, Colin Davis, Daniel Oren, Georges Prêtre, Gianadrea Gavazzeni, Carlo Maria Giulini, Eliahu Inbal, Vladimir Jurowski, Lorin Maazel, Pinchas Steinberg, Zubin Mehta, Antonio Pappano, Michel Plasson, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Daniele Gatti, Georges Prêtre and Georg Solti.
As well as his operatic activity, Carlo Colombara is well known for giving concerts, having performed Verdi’s Messa da Requiem more than a hundred times in cities such as Florence, Rome, London, Naples, Paris and Modena (this last one was in memory of Luciano Pavarotti, which whom he shared the stage the last time the famous tenor sang this work).
Together with Zubin Mehta he performed in the spectacular open air production of Turandot which was recorded at the forbidden city of Beijing and was broadcast all over the world and is available on CD and DVD. Carlo Colombara’s discography includes numerous recordings on CD and DVD for Virgin, Deutsche Grammophon, BMG, EMI, RCA, Foné, Dynamic, Decca, Bongiovanni, Nuova Era, Naxos, etc., and also broadcasts for radio (for Radio France and Bayerischer Rundfunk among others) and television from La Scala in Milan, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. In 2012 Naxos launched the DVD The art of the bass, where Colombara performs some of the most famous arias for the bass voice.
During his long professional career Carlo Colombara has been awarded prizes such as the Lauri Volpi (1994), the Orazio Tosi (1995), the Cappelli (1999), the Matassa d’Oro (2002), the Premio Monteverdi (2009) and the Bonci d’Oro (2011).
Last update: 2013-03-13, 12:47 EDT