President of the Italian Republic Georgio Napolitano has awarded Sir Antonio Pappano with the highest order in Italy, the knighthood of the Cavalierie di Gran Croce dell’Ordine ‘al merito della Repubblica Italiana.

Previous knighthoods have been awarded to Placido Domingo, Claudio Abbado and Daniel Barenboim. At a ceremony on Monday evening at the Quirinale Palace, Pappano received his knighthood amongst his colleagues from the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra. This follows Pappano’s knighthood in Great Britain in the latest New Year’s Honours List. Sir Antonio Pappano will receive his British knighthood on Tuesday next week at Buckingham Palace.

Sir Antonio Pappano is the Music Director of the Royal Opera House and the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome. Last year, Sir Antonio Pappano won the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Creative Communication for his ground-breaking series Opera Italia for BBC Four. Pappano records exclusively for EMI Classics. His joint EMI Classics discography with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia includes many award-winning CDs including Mahler Symphony No. 6, Rossini’s William Tell and Stabat Mater, the Verdi Requiem, Respighi’s Roman Trilogy, the Tchaikovsky Symphonies 4-6, and Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly with Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann. Their recording of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony was listed in Matthew Rye’s guide to the 1,001 Recordings you must hear before you die.

In a country first known for opera, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia is a rare example of a symphony orchestra not attached to an opera house and it is unanimously recognised as Italy’s finest symphonic orchestra. Since taking over as Music Director of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia six years ago, Antonio Pappano has revitalised and galvanised the Orchestra with his enthusiastic spirit, positive energy and consummate musicianship. It has been voted one of the leading orchestras of the world. The Chorus of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia has been described by the Independent as “one of the world’s great choirs” and is in great demand on tour both with the Orchestra and on its own. In the UK alone, they have won more than 9 music awards over the past 2 years.

The Accademia di Santa Cecilia has an impressive heritage. Since its creation in 1908, the Orchestra has collaborated with distinguished conductors and composers including Mahler, Debussy, Strauss, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Respighi, Berio, Stockhausen, Toscanini, Furtwangler, De Sabata, Karajan, Stokowski, Böhm, Kleiber, Celibidache, Sinopoli, Bernstein, Abbado, Muti and Barenboim. Most recently its Music Directors have been Bernstein, Sinopoli, Gatti and Myung Whun Chung. They have imbuedin the orchestra the great European symphonic tradition from Beethoven to Shostakovich.

Antonio Pappano became Music Director of The Royal Opera in 2002 (gaining the 2003 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera). Recent highlights with The Royal Opera include a new production of Il trittico,(relayed into cinemas world-wide,) a celebration of Plácido Domingo's 40 years performing with The Royal Opera, a tour to Japan (conducting Manon, La traviata and Handel's Messiah) and the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole. His forthcoming performances for The Royal Opera during the remainder of the 2011/12 Season include David McVicar's new production of Les Troyens (also at the BBC Proms) as well as Otello and the Plácido Domingo's Operalia Winners performance. In 2012/13 he will conduct The Ring Cycle, The Minotaur, Don Carlo and Simon Boccanegra for The Royal Opera.


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