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 served as a member of the Metropolitan conducting roster since 1998. Dedicated to the next generation of opera singers, Colaneri concurrently serves as Artistic Director of Opera at Mannes School of Music at The New School in New York City. Colaneri served as Artistic Director of the West Australian Opera from 2012-2014.

This 2016 – 2017 season, Maestro Colaneri leads productions of Puccini’s La bohéme and Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie at the Glimmerglass Festival during July and August. In March, he debuts at the Atlanta Opera with Don Pasquale. He also leads the Opera Department at the Mannes School of Music at The New School in Greenwich Village in their two fully staged opera productions. Recent highlights include productions of Bernstein’s Candide and Verdi’s Macbeth at the Glimmerglass Festival, returning to the Metropolitan Opera for Puccini’s Tosca and Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, and guest conducting Northern New Jersey’s premier string orchestra, Arco Ensemble. 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 Den Norske 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 at the Metropolitan 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 the Toshiro Mayuzumi opera Kinkakuji: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

A stalwart champion of young artists and audience outreach from the beginning of his career, Mr. 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.

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.

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. As Artistic Director of the Opera Program at Mannes School of Music in New York, Mr. Colaneri guides emerging artists as they prepare for the demands of professional careers. He frequently gives master classes with apprentices at companies such as Opera North and Chautauqua Opera and has been 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 Colaneri  initiated fully-staged productions, which he conducts. 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.”

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 for New York City Opera. Mr. Colaneri resides in the New York City area with his family.  

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