The Royal Opera House has announced that Speranza Scappucci will become Principal Guest Conductor of The Royal Opera. She will take up the position in September 2025, at the start of the 2025-2026 Season, becoming the first Principal Guest Conductor since 1997.
Scappucci conducted Verdi's Attila for The Royal Opera in 2022. The Observer wrote that her house debut was ‘the high point' of the concert which featured Ildar Abdrazakov, María José Siri, Simon Keenlyside and Ștefan Pop, alongside the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and members of the Royal Opera Chorus.
She will work across a wide range of works, especially the Italian repertoire. She will be working alongside Jakub Hrůša who begins his tenure as Music Director of The Royal Opera in September 2025.
Speranza Scappucci said,
I was thrilled to make my ROH debut with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House last summer. It was an immense joy to perform with such incredible musicians and singers, who display virtuosity combined with passion, making them unique in their excellence. I'm honoured to accept the position and look forward to being part of the Covent Garden family, working alongside Jakub Hrůša on a wide range of repertoire. Covent Garden is a house of great tradition, globally known for its world-class singers, conductors, and directors. I'm excited for what's ahead of me as part of this fantastic team.
Scappucci was a former pianist and coach, and has just completed the second series of a classical music programme on Italy's Rai TV, aimed at educating new audiences and demystifying the art form.
In this unique institution, I'm inspired by the sense of responsibility in supporting the future of opera. I'm passionate about working with young singers and musicians and I look forward to being part of the Royal Opera House's Learning and Participation outreach work.
Oliver Mears, Director of The Royal Opera, said,
We were tremendously impressed by the wonderful relationship she forged with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in 2022. Her warmth, matched with outstanding musicianship and breadth of repertoire, make her the perfect addition to the Covent Garden family.
From 2017 to 2022, Scappucci held the position of Music Director of Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège. As a guest conductor, she has worked with some of the world's leading companies – most recently making her debut with the Metropolitan Opera, New York (Rigoletto), Opéra national de Paris and Teatro alla Scala (I Capuleti e Montecchi).
Hrůša, Music Director Designate of The Royal Opera, added,
Speranza Scappucci's work in opera has always highly impressed me. She is an energising presence on the podium, inspiring the musicians and indeed everyone around her through her splendid passion, warmth, skill, and knowledge. I'm delighted that she will be a part of the team for the artistic work that lies ahead to fulfil The Royal Opera's future dreams and visions.
Scappucci has conducted at major international opera houses including Wiener Staatsoper, Liceu Barcelona, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Staatsoper Berlin, Semperoper Dresden, Opernhaus Zürich, Los Angeles Opera, and Canadian Opera Company. As a conductor of symphonic work, she has led the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, and Orchestre National de Lyon.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.