Biography
Photo: Kristin Hoebermann

Renowned for his versatility, musical depth, and ability to “inspire musicians," Joseph Colaneri is recognized as a multifaceted presence on the podium. An international conductor equally adept with operatic, oratorio and symphonic repertoire, Colaneri continues to expand his relationships with orchestras and opera companies both nationally and abroad.

Music Director of the acclaimed Glimmerglass Festival since 2013, Joseph Colaneri has been a member of the Metropolitan conducting roster since 1998. Dedicated to the next generation of opera singers, Colaneri served as Artistic Director of Opera at the Mannes School of Music at The New School in New York City. During his tenure as Artistic Director of the West Australian Opera from 2012-2014 he led the company's mainstage productions and helped to revitalize their Young Artists Program by creating expanded study opportunites in New York City. 

This 2018 – 2019 season, Maestro Colaneri led a new production of Puccini’s La bohème at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires in October and in November and December, he conducted the Metropolitan Opera's revival of Arrigo Boïto's Mefistofele. In January, he was in Baton Rouge to conduct a concert of opera highlights starring Met Opera artists Lisette Oropesa and Paul Groves; in April he returns to the Juilliard School in New York City to conduct their new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni and in May he debuts at the Washington National Opera with a concert featuring their young artists and the WNO Orchestra. This summer, Mo. Colaneri returns to the Glimmerglass Festival to lead Francesca Zambello's production of Verdi's La traviata and John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles.  Recent highlights include productions of Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen, Donizetti's L'assedio di Calais and Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Glimmerglass Festival, a return to the Metropolitan Opera for Bellini’s Norma and a debut with the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy leading Puccini's Gianni Schicchi in Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya. Colaneri was also a featured conductor in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2016 exclusive iTunes and Apple Music compilation, “The Metropolitan Opera Presents Romance at the Met” – Don Pasquale: “Tornami a dir che m’ami" starring Rachelle Durkin and Matthew Polenzani.

Among the distinguished opera companies with which Colaneri has guested are the Teatro Colón, Den Norske Opera, Atlanta Opera, Portland Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Orlando Opera, UCLA, and the San Francisco Opera Center. Orchestral guesting credits of note include leading the Tokyo Philharmonic in a concert program of opera arias and musical theater selections starring soprano Renée Fleming, which was telecast throughout Asia by the NHK; conducting Jianyi Zhang and Richard Zeller in an opera highlights program with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan in Taipei; conducting an ‘All-Devils concert’ in Orlando, Florida  starring bass Samuel Ramey; conducting the prestigious Richard Tucker Gala at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in a celebrated Gay Men’s Health Crisis benefit at Avery Fisher Hall.

At the Metropolitan Opera, Colaneri has led performances of La bohème (company debut, 2000), Luisa Miller, performances of Turandot with Andrea Gruber and Rigoletto in the popular Metropolitan Opera Parks performances, L’italiana in Algeri with Olga Borodina, Nabucco featuring Maria Guleghina at Lincoln Center, Falstaff with Bryn Terfel in the title role, Il trittico, La fille du régiment with Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez, and Mary Zimmerman’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor, also with Natalie Dessay in the title role. During the 2009-2010 season, he replaced James Levine for the Metropolitan’s new Luc Bondy production of Tosca, including the worldwide HD transmission and DVD for EMI. During the 2011-2012 season he led performances of Don Pasquale. From 2012-2014, Colaneri was in Australia with the West Australian Opera, where he led productions of Otello, Il trovatore, La bohème, Madama Butterfly, La traviata and Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Joseph Colaneri was honored by New York City Opera with its Julius Rudel Award during the 1994 season. Beginning with his New York City Opera debut conducting South Pacific in 1987, he 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 work at City Opera include the highly acclaimed 1993 world premiere of Hugo Weisgall’s Esther, and the 1995 American Premiere of Toshiro Mayuzumi's opera Kinkakuji: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

A stalwart champion of young artists and audience outreach from the beginning of his career, Mo. Colaneri also served as Music Director of the New York City Opera National Company (the touring arm) early on, producing and conducting national productions of La fille du régiment, Tosca, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La traviata, and La bohème, as well as frequently conducting productions for the Western Opera Theater and the San Francisco Opera’s Merola program, among them La traviata, Rigoletto, Die Fledermaus, Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica. As Artistic Director of the Opera Program at the Mannes School of Music in New York for 20 years, Mo. Colaneri guided emerging artists as they prepared for the demands of professional careers.  Building on the success of the annual opera scenes program at the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse in New York, in 2004 Colaneri initiated fully-staged productions, which he conducted. The students of Mannes received outstanding praise from 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.” He has been recognized for his work with emerging artists with awards from the Gerda Lissner Foundation and the Licia Albanese -  Puccini Foundation. 

A frequent speaker on opera, Mr. Colaneri leads an annual lecture series for The Metropolitan Opera Club and has served as guest lecturer for the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the Los Angeles Opera League, and has taught an annual series of Saturday Opera Seminars at New York University.

A graduate of New York University and Westminster Choir College, in Princeton, New Jersey, from which he received a Master of Music degree, and the 1994 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Joseph Colaneri began his professional music career as an organist and choral conductor. 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 Opera, before moving into the operatic and orchestral arenas. Mr. Colaneri began his career as a conductor with the New York City Opera (NYCO), a post he held for eleven years (1987-1998), and served as Music Director of NYCO’s touring arm, the New York City Opera National Company, from 1991-1998. From 1995-1996 Mr. Colaneri served as Acting Music Director of New York City Opera. Mr. Colaneri resides in the New York City area with his family.  

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