Pappano was born in Epping, Essex. Pappano's family had relocated to England from Castelfranco in Miscano near Benevento, Italy in 1958, and at the time of his birth his parents worked in the restaurant business. His father, Pasquale Pappano, was by vocation a singing teacher.
When Pappano was 13 years old, he moved with his family to Connecticut, United States. After musical training in piano, composition, and conducting, he became a rehearsal accompanist at the New York City Opera by the age of 21.
A pianist as well as a conductor, he attracted the attention of fellow pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, and became his assistant at the Bayreuth Festival. He worked in Barcelona and Frankfurt, and served as an assistant to Michael Gielen. His first conducting appearance at Den Norske Opera was in 1987, and he became music director there in 1990.
In 1992, Pappano became music director of La Monnaie, the Belgian Royal Opera House, a post he held until 2002. In 1999, he was named the music director of the Royal Opera House (ROH), Covent Garden effective with the 2002-2003 season. At Covent Garden, Pappano and Kasper Holten, the ROH Director of Opera, share responsibility for production. His current ROH contract is through 2013. Pappano is the youngest conductor to lead the orchestra of the ROH, accompanying both the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet.
Pappano has also been principal guest conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2005 he became music director of the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
Pappano is married to Pamela Bullock, an American vocal coach. He visits his family in Connecticut and Georgia on holidays.
Pappano records regularly for EMI Classics. His commercial recordings include the following releases:
- Philippe Boesmans: Wintermärchen
- Jules Massenet: Manon, Werther
- Giacomo Puccini: Il Trittico, La Bohème, La Rondine, Tosca, Madama Butterfly
- Gioachino Rossini: Stabat Mater, William Tell
- Giuseppe Verdi: Don Carlo, Il Trovatore, Messa da Requiem
- Richard Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
- Hugo Wolf: Lieder, with tenor Ian Bostridge
- Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 & Cello Concerto
- Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphony No.2
- Jessica Duchen, "Balancing Act", Opera News Feb. 2012 p.18-22 http://www.operanews.com/Opera_News_Magazine/2013/2/Features/Balancing_Act.html]
- Anna Picard (2006-12-03). "Antonio Pappano: Local hero". The Independent. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
- Rupert Christiansen (2002-09-02). "High octane, high hopes". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
- Peter Conrad (2003-02-23). "Lightning conductor". The Observer. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
- Rupert Christiansen (2008-09-08). "Antonio Pappano: the unstoppable maestro". The Observer. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
- Neil Fisher (2009-09-26). "Antonio Pappano on the Royal Opera and Tristan und Isolde". The Times. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2011.
- "Sir Antonio Pappano receives prestigious ISM Distinguished Musician Award". Incorporated Society of Musicians. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
Maeckelbergh, Lucrèce, Antonio Pappano: Con Passione. Snoeck, 2006 (ISBN 9053495274).
- Full biography at IMG Artists
- Antonio Pappano biography at Royal Opera House Covent Garden
- Pappano recordings on EMI Classics
- Antonio Pappano - A Film by János Darvas
|Music Director, Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels
|Music Director, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden