Roberto Saccà is one of the best-known and best-loved tenors of our time. For over two decades he has been singing on the stages of the world’s major opera houses, opposite such illustrious partners as Cecilia Bartoli, Natalie Dessay, Anna Netrebko, Renée Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa, Brigitte Fassbaender, Edita Gruberova, Vesselina Kasarova, Patrizia Ciofi, Emily Magee, Joyce DiDonato and Juliane Banse; and under the baton of Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Georges Prêtre, Seiji Ozawa, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Bernard Haitink, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Daniel Harding, Daniele Gatti, Antonio Pappano, Christian Thielemann, Franz Welser-Möst, Semyon Bychkov, Christopher Hogwood and Ingo Metzmacher.
Throughout his musical life, Roberto’s German-Italian roots have enabled him to span two worlds.
His Sicilian heritage led him as a student to the popular Italian bel canto tradition. Television viewers of the late 1980s may remember his inspiring renditions of Italian folksongs in the style of Mario Lanza.
Later student years were influenced by the exploration of his German side. His teacher at the time, Aldo Baldin, introduced him to the Passions and Cantatas of J.S. Bach, thereby laying the musical foundations for a career as an opera and concert singer.
Zurich Opera Years (1995-2003)
As his voice developed further, he moved away from the mainstream and began a fruitful collaboration with Alexander Pereira and Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Zurich. His big international break came in 1995 with Joseph Haydn’s L’ANIMA DEL FILOSOFO opposite Cecilia Bartoli. In the following years Zurich Opera became the heart of his artistic activities.
It was in Zurich in 1996 that he sang the title role in the world premiere of Herbert Willi’s opera SCHLAFES BRUDER. There he went on to enjoy considerable success in productions such as Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI and COSI FAN TUTTE, and Rossini’s BARBER OF SEVILLE.
Also worthy of mention are acclaimed performances of L’ELISIR D’AMORE with Anna Netrebko and THE MAGIC FLUTE at San Francisco Opera.
In 2000 he sang Mozart’s ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL together with Natalie Dessay at the Grand Théâtre de Genève.
Freelance Years (2003-2008)
His first encounter with Richard Strauss was in DAPHNE under Christian Thielemann at Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2002/2003. His role as Leukippos provided a fascinating opportunity to immerse himself in an extended vocal Fach.
In the same year he toured Japan, performing Puccini’s LA BOHÈME and GIANNI SCHICCHI, and Ravel’s L’HEURE ESPAGNOLE under Seiji Ozawa.
There followed numerous acclaimed tours, notably to the USA, where he made his debut at Carnegie Hall, New York, and the Kennedy Center, Washington with Renée Fleming, under the direction of Semyon Bychkov.
A personal highlight was his participation in the reopening of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice in 2004. He performed in the inaugural concert under Riccardo Muti, and sang Alfredo in the new production of LA TRAVIATA under Lorin Maazel. This was broadcast on television worldwide, and later released on DVD.
Another outstanding personal success was his portrayal of Bacchus in Richard Strauss’s ARIADNE AUF NAXOS at Zurich Opera in late 2006. Next came new productions of Henze’s L’UPUPA (the role of the Demon) at Hamburg State Opera, and LA CLEMENZA DI TITO at Berlin State Opera.
As a leading Mozart tenor, Roberto Saccà performed widely in Mozart Year 2006, including IDOMENEO in Barcelona, LA CLEMENZA DI TITO in Berlin and Madrid, LUCIO SILLA at the Salzburg Festival and in Venice, DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL in Turin, COSI FAN TUTTE in Vienna, and LA CLEMENZA DI TITO in Zurich.
He went on to appear in new productions as Duca in RIGOLETTO at the Teatro Regio Torino, Baron Lummer in INTERMEZZO at Zurich Opera, as well as in MANON at Marseille Opera, and LA TRAVIATA at the New National Theatre, Tokyo.
Rare Gems of the Opera Repertoire (2008-2011)
In the seasons 2008-2011 which followed, he dedicated himself more and more to the expansion of his Fach, and achieved huge personal success in several debut roles. At Zurich Opera: Florestan in FIDELIO, Manolios in THE GREEK PASSION, the Kaiser in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, and Fritz in DER FERNE KLANG, and the title role in Britten’s PETER GRIMES at Dusseldorf Opera. Deserving of particular mention are his title role in Prokofiev’s THE GAMBLER at the Royal Opera House in London under Antonio Pappano, his Walter in Weinberg’s THE PASSENGER at the Bregenz Festival 2010, and his title role in Hans Pfitzner’s PALESTRINA at Hamburg State Opera.
Roberto Saccà opened last season at Hamburg State Opera with a repeat production of PALESTRINA, and then proceeded to Zurich Opera for a new production of the same work, and for his debut of Stolzing in DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG. He went on to sing his first Don José in a new production of CARMEN in Antwerp, followed by the same role at Deutsche Oper Berlin, and gave performances of Bruckner’s TE DEUM in Tel Aviv and Salzburg under Zubin Mehta.
2013 and 2014 are marked by a repeat production of ARIADNE AUF NAXOS at Hamburg State Opera, a new production of IDOMENEO at Frankfurt Opera, and the role of Stolzing in a new production of DIE MEISTERSINGER in Amsterdam and at the Salzburg Festival 2013.
Then follows DIE MEISTERSINGER in Zurich, a title role debut in a new production of LOHENGRIN in Dusseldorf, his New York Metropolitan Opera debut and first Matteo in Richard Strauss’s ARABELLA, and ARIADNE AUF NAXOS at the Royal Opera House in London.
Beyond the Opera
Roberto Saccà is also in great demand on the concert platform. To name but a few engagements: Schumann’s SCENES FROM FAUST, Haydn’s CREATION under Adam Fischer, Beethoven’s MISSA SOLEMNIS in the Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Rome under Antonio Pappano, Verdi’s REQUIEM in Moscow under Teodor Currentzis, and performances of Beethoven’s NINTH SYMPHONY in Oviedo under Lorin Maazel, in Zurich under Zubin Mehta, in Vienna and London under Christoph von Dohnanyi, and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Bernard Haitink.