Joseph Colaneri — Conductor
Previously at Portland Opera: Carmen (2007); Norma (2007); Madame Butterfly (2005)
Conductor of opera, oratorio and symphonic works, and educator, Joseph Colaneri’s achievements are outstanding in each of the areas in his multi-faceted career. Now in his fourteenth season as a member of the conducting roster of the Metropolitan Opera, Maestro Colaneri concurrently serves as Artistic Director of Opera at Mannes College The New School for Music in New York.
Joseph Colaneri made his conducting debut at the Metropolitan Opera with a performance of La bohème in fall 2000. In the 2009-2010 season he replaced James Levine for the run of the Metropolitan’s Luc Bondy production of Tosca, and led performances of Don Pasquale in the 2010-2011 season. In the past two seasons Maestro Colaneri had led the Robert Carsen production of La faciulla del west at Den Norske Opera in Oslo, returned to the Chautauqua Opera for bothNorma and Luisa Miller, and returned to the West Australian Opera in Perth for Tosca.
From the time of his Metropolitan Opera debut he has conducted Luisa Miller in season 2001-2002 and conducted all of the popular Met in the Parks performances of Turandot with Andrea Gruber in season 2002-2003, L’Italiana in Algeri with Olga Borodina in season 2003-2004, Nabucco featuring Maria Guleghina in spring 2005 at Lincoln Center, as well as Rigoletto in the Metropolitan Opera Parks performances. In 2005-2006 he conducted Falstaff at the Metropolitan with Bryn Terfel in the title role. Continuing with the Italian repertoire, he conductedIl trittico in season 2006-2007. In the 2007-2008 Metropolitan Opera season, Maestro Colaneri conducted two of Donizetti’s masterpieces: La Fille du Régiment with Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez and Mary Zimmerman’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor with Miss Dessay in the title role.
Maestro Colaneri is also in demand as an opera conductor abroad. He made his debut conducting Madama Butterfly for the West Australian Opera and has returned to that company for productions of La bohème and Il barbiere di Siviglia. He made his Glimmerglass conducting debut in the Kevin Newbury production of La Cenerentola in 2009 and has conducted Mozart’s three Da Ponte operas, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, and Le nozze di Figaro, at Chautauqua Opera, where he has also conducted productions of Don Pasquale, Macbeth, Werther, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, as well as all-Verdi and all-Puccini concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony. Maestro Colaneri made his conducting debut at the Portland Opera in Oregon with performances of Frank Corsaro’s production of Madama Butterfly returning in subsequent seasons for Norma and Carmen. In the spring of 2009 he conducted double bill of Suor Angelica and Cavalleria rusticana for the Orlando Opera.
Equally at home on the concert podium, Maestro Colaneri has conducted the Tokyo Philharmonic in a concert program of opera arias and musical theater selections starring Renée Fleming, which was telecast throughout Asia by the NHK. Building on their collaboration at the Met, he conducted Jianyi Zhang and Richard Zeller in an opera highlights program with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan in Taipei, and bass Samuel Ramey in an ‘All-Devils concert’ in Orlando, Florida. He also conducted the prestigious 2004 Richard Tucker Gala at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in a celebrated Gay Men’s Health Crisis benefit at Avery Fisher Hall. A regular guest of the Berkshire Choral Festival since 1995, Maestro Colaneri lead a performance of the Verdi’s Messa da requiem, which marked the Festival’s 20th anniversary. He made his Canadian conducting debut was with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in performances of Handel’s Messiah.
Prior to joining the Metropolitan Opera, Joseph Colaneri was associated with the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center for fifteen years culminating in his appointment, in 1995, as Acting Music Director. He was honored with the company’s Julius Rudel Award during the 1994 season. Beginning with his New York City Opera debut conducting South Pacific, he has since led over 60 performances of Il barbiere di Siviglia, La bohème, Carmen, Rigoletto, Tosca, La traviata, The New Moon and The Merry Widow. Highlights of his New York City Opera career include the highly acclaimed 1993 world premiere of Hugo Weisgall’s Esther, the 1995 American Premiere of the Toshiro Mayuzumi opera Kinkakuji: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, and Britten’s parable Curlew River with performances incorporating Noh theatre elements.
Early in his career Maestro Colaneri served as Music Director of the New York City Opera National Company. In his final season, he cast and led the touring company’s production of La bohème in performances throughout the United States. Writing of his performance, The Plain Dealer reported “the excellence began in the pit, where music director Joseph Colaneri led an account of Puccini’s score that had poetry, thrust and a sense of textural wonderment. Colaneri obviously has lived with the piece and explored its every nook and cranny.” With the National Company he produced and conducted national touring productions of La fille du Régiment, Tosca, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Il barbiere di Siviglia, and La traviata. Continuing his work with young artists and audience outreach, Mr. Colaneri frequently conducted productions for the Western Opera Theater, among them La traviata, Rigoletto, Die Fledermaus, Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica.
With uncommon dedication for an active conductor, Joseph Colaneri continues to thrive in preparing and guiding young vocalists in the early years of their professional careers. This commitment led to his appointment as Director of the Opera Program at Mannes College of Music in New York. Mr. Colaneri enjoys his work with his faculty colleagues as they mold a program best suited to help these emerging artists prepare for the demands of professional careers. He frequently gives master classes with apprentices at companies such as Opera North and Chautauqua Opera and is a regular guest conductor in Graz for concerts at the American Institute for Musical Studies. Building on the success of the annual opera scenes program at the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse in New York, in 2004 he initiated fully-staged productions which he conducts. The students of Mannes College of Music received outstanding praise from Anne Midgette in The New York Times. “People in the opera world often ask: Where are all the good, healthy young voices? Here's an answer: at the Mannes College of Music... Credit goes to Joseph Colaneri, the evening's conductor, who has been the director of the Mannes Opera since 1998. If this is the kind of work he does here, the program should be getting even more attention.”
The recipient of the 1994 Distinguished Alumni Award from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, Joseph Colaneri entered the professional field as an organist and choral conductor. Having held a number of sacred music posts, he made his opera debut as Chorus Master of the New Jersey State Opera, and continued his choral-conducting career as Chorus Master of the New York City. Joseph Colaneri is a graduate of New York University and holds the Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College.