© Luciano Siviero

Riccardo Zanellato

Riccardo Zanellato was born in Contarina, in the province of Rovigo, and graduated in guitar from the Adriatic Conservatory in 1994. His passion for singing was awakened during his military service; he was selected to join the representative choir of the Alpine troops, and during this experience there were many people who encouraged him to cultivate what immediately turned out to be a wonderful gift. Meeting Maestro Arrigo Pola, who was also Pavarotti's teacher, marked the beginning of his artistic career in 1992 and led him to his debut at the Teatro Verdi in Padua in 1994 in the role of the Count of Ceprano in Rigoletto. In the following years he successfully participated in numerous competitions, winning the "A. Belli" in Spoleto in 1996 and being one of the finalists at the "Operalia" in Tokyo in 1997. In 2005 he was awarded the Tiberini d'Argento.

In 2000, he began vocal training with Maestro Bonaldo Giaiotti, and this collaboration was to be fundamental to the continuation of his career. In fact, he prepared one of the most complex roles for a bass with the maestro: Zaccaria from Nabucco. He made his debut at the Villa Pallavicino in Busseto in 2001 and has since been heard in this role in numerous productions, making him an absolute reference performer to this day.


His great vocal range and smooth singing made him a performer of Verdi's repertoire, but also of Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini. Among his most important operas are: Attila and La battaglia di Legnano (Parma), Rigoletto (Parma, Macerata, Caracalla, Teatro alla Scala, Turin, Liège), Otello (Paris), Simon Boccanegra (Rome, Catania, Lyon, Dresden), Nabucco (Rovigo, Ravenna, Rome, Parma, Savonlinna Festival, Stuttgart, Leipzig, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Kiev), Aida (Naples, Turin, Verona, Valencia), Trovatore (Lausanne, Verona, Salzburg), Macbeth (Rome, Berlin State Opera, Bologna, Tel Aviv), Luisa Miller (Barcelona, Bilbao, Lyon), Maria Stuarda (Bergamo, Reggio Emilia), Anna Bolena (Bergamo, Brescia, Parma, Helsinki, Turin and on tour in Japan), Lucia di Lammermoor (Florence, Naples, Macerata, Venice, Wiesbaden), Norma (Rovigo, Catania, Palermo, Warsaw, Turin, Montevideo, Verona and on tour in Japan), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Parma, Padua), I Puritani (Amsterdam, Cagliari, Lecce).

His collaboration with important conductors is numerous: Chailly, Gatti, Viotti, Mariotti, Abbado, Pappano, Battistoni, Rustioni, Renzetti and internationally renowned directors: Catena, De Ana, Abbado, Muscato, Vick, Wilson, Maestrini, Pier'Alli.


A turning point in his career was undoubtedly meeting Maestro Riccardo Muti, who chose him for Iphigenia in Aulide, Nabucco, Moïse et Pharaon, Macbeth, Simon Boccanegra and Nabucco at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome. One of Riccardo's favourite operas is Verdi's Requiem, and he fulfilled a dream when he was able to sing it under the great maestro's baton in Naples, Redipuglia, at the Ravenna Festival and on tour in Slovenia and Vienna at the Musikverein with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


His artistic career continues to grow, enriched by new debuts in the leading role: in 2011 at the Rossini Opera Festival in Mosé in Egitto (2011 Abbiati Prize), in 2016 in Attila at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, in April 2017 in Filippo II in Verdi's Don Carlos, a role that suits Riccardo particularly well in terms of vocal quality and dramatic intensity; in January 2018 in Verdi's I Masnadieri, in the role of Maximilian.


2017 was a year of collaboration with Maestro Muti, who called him for a new debut: the Prologue of Mefistofele, Riccardo was the only soloist in a concert in Chicago with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He later collaborated again with this great maestro in Ravenna for the concert "Le vie dell'amicizia" and for a tour in Germany with Verdi's Requiem. In November of the same year, he participated as soloist in the first performance of Messa per Rossini by an Italian ensemble, held at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, much desired by Maestro Chailly. 2017, a year full of successes and satisfactions, is crowned in December with the award of a prestigious distinction: honorary citizenship of his municipality of residence.


2018 begins with a double collaboration for Teatro dell'Opera di Roma: I Masnadieri and Sonnambula, then continues with one of Riccardo's leading roles, Philip II in Don Carlo, at Oper Leipzig and in Tenerife. In the summer he can be seen with Nabucco in Athens and renews his relationship with Maestro Muti with a superb Macbeth in concert form at the Pala De André in Ravenna and later at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. The summer intermezzo ends at the Arena di Verona with Nabucco. In October, Zanellato sang Attila at the Verdi Festival at the Teatro Regio di Parma, where he was highly acclaimed by audiences and critics. He then returned to the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and to Berlin to perform Verdi's Requiem under the baton of M. Valčuha; he then toured France with Zaccaria in Nabucco. The year ended with another highlight at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome with Rigoletto and then at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan for the New Year's Eve Gala. In 2018 he was also awarded the prestigious "Verdi d'Oro" prize by the Corale Verdi in Parma.


The year 2019 begins with the revival of a role he has not sung for some time, that of the Cardinal of Brogni in La Juive in an Opera Vlaanderen production. This is followed by Aida in the magnificent setting of La Fenice in Venice and a tour of Japan with Turandot. The year ends with the Verdi Festival in Parma, where Zanellato sings the Count of Walter in a new production of Luisa Miller. On 1 October of the same year, he won Best Bass at the International Oscar Awards.


Between 2019 and 2020 he has performed Verdi's Requiem several times: at the George Enescu International Festival in Bucharest, in Hamburg with the NDR Symphony Orchestra, at the Musikverein with M. Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and in Bamberg, Germany. Before the outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic, he still managed to perform Rossini's Stabat Mater at the Auditori in Barcelona, Nabucco at the Teatro Regio in Turin and at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. Immediately after the first closure, he is the protagonist of the opening night of the Arena di Verona, in a special concert for the health staff. He also took part in the first fully staged reopening performance in Europe: Rigoletto at the Circo Massimo in Rome, a production specially designed for the open space in compliance with the new anti-infection regulations. The Verdi Festival in Parma adapts Verdi's Macbeth to concert form in the rare French version, calling on him to play Banquo. Recent interesting engagements include Faust Rhapsody at Teatro Alighieri in Ravenna, Macbeth with Muti in Tokyo and Nabucco at Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari.



The year 2022 begins with a production of Rigoletto in Muscat, which will be repeated at the Carlo Felice in Genoa in May of the same year. He can be seen in Verdi's Requiem at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris in February and at the Lubjiana Festival in July. In March he was seen at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich in Lucia di Lammermoor and in June in Liège in Simon Boccanegra. He was also heard at the Verdi 2022 Festival in the role of Jacopo Fiesco and for the Requiem.