Damiano Binetti, (born in 1968) is an Italian conductor, composer and tenor based in Prague and Malta. He is the artistic director of the Prague Madrigalists, the chamber ensemble within the Czech Philharmonic, and also the artistic director for the Theatre of Silesia in Opava in the Czech Republic. Binetti was also the principal conductor and music director of the Prague Mozart Chamber Orchestra, a position held until 2006.
In 1999 he was honoured with a prestigious Ivan Lukacic award as the head of the Prague Madrigalists, during the International Baroque Festival In Varazdin, Croatia. In 2005 he received a prestigious Thalia award for the production of Norma by Vincenzo Bellini at the National Theatre of Prague.
Today he is co-founder of Malta Arts Events, which is dedicated to organising events such as concerts, plays, musicals, operas, dance shows and exhibitions, both in Malta and overseas.
Early life and education
Damiano Binetti was born in Italy, where he studied at the Music Conservatory Niccolò Piccinni in Bari and graduated with honours. Under the guidance of soprano Anna Maria Balboni, he studied singing and became actively interested in the operatic repertoire. Under the tutelage of Maestro Piero Bellugi, Binetti began studying orchestral conducting.
In 1991 he moved to Prague, where he won a scholarship and enrolled at the Faculty of Music (HAMU) taking courses in composition and conducting. His training was mentored by Czech Orchestra directors Frantisek Vajnar, Radomil Eliska, Joseph Kuchynka and Jiri Belohlavek. Concurrently, Binetti also participated in Helmuth Rilling's courses on the interpretation of the music of J. S. Bach. During the same period he joined the prestigious ensemble of the Prague Madrigalists, the chamber ensemble of the Czech Philharmonic, as a tenor.
Binetti obtained a master's degree in Conducting in 2000.
Binetti caught the critics’ eye when he was unanimously appointed music director for the Prague Madrigalists. He was subsequently appointed music director of the Mozart Chamber Orchestra, a position held until 2006.
In 1996, Binetti was invited to conduct at the International Festival Tibor Varga in Sion, Switzerland. This was the first of many occasions. In the same year he took part in the Music Festival of Wallonia in Belgium.
As the artistic leader of the Prague Madrigalists, Damiano Binetti bases his interpretations on ancient instruments, along the basic lines of the typical rendition of ancient music. Considerable research has led Maestro Binetti to rediscover works of the early Bohemian Baroque, forgotten in the historical archives of the Czech Republic, without neglecting the masterpieces of the masters of ancient Italian music. Binetti’s interpretations also include the symphonic repertoire and alongside this, the operatic repertoire with particular emphasis on Italian bel canto.
In 1999 he was honoured with a prestigious Ivan Lukacic award as the head of the Prague Madrigalists, during the International Baroque Festival In Varazdin, Croatia.
In 2003, Binetti became artistic director for the National Theatre of Silesia in Opava in the Czech Republic. Under his direction, important projects were brought to fruition, such as the Mozart trilogy - from Ponte, alongside the cycle set on the path of the important works of Bellini and Donizetti. Based on the experience of ancient and lesser-known music, Binetti revives a special relationship with some almost forgotten operatic works taken from the Italian repertoire of the 18th century. These include works from the Neapolitan school - Piccinni, Cherubini, Capotorti and recent operatic works by Poulenc, Martinu and Janacek.
As principal conductor of the Mozart Chamber Orchestra, he conducted a large part of the Mozart repertoire, including the Requiem in D minor, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and the more important symphonic works. During this period Maestro Binetti conducted in concert halls most representative of the Czech Republic, including the Dvorak Hall at the Rudolfinum and the Smetana Hall at the Obecni Dum in Prague.
Since 1998 he has collaborated with the following orchestras: • Suk Chamber Orchestra of Prague • Hradec Kralove Philharmonic • Prague Dvorak Symphony Orchestra • Marienbad Symphony Orchestra • Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra • Chamber Orchestra of Venice • Prague Symphony Orchestra – FOK • Slovak National Philharmonic Orchestra in Kosice • Czech National Orchestra • Malta National Philharmonic Orchestra • Chamber Orchestra in Shanghai • Symphonic Orchestra in Zagreb.
He has conducted concerts in Europe and Asia, participating in prestigious international festivals such as • the Prague Spring • Landshut Musik Sommer • Settembre Musica in Turin • Festival C. Monteverdi in Cremona • Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan • Varazdin International Baroque Festival • the Summer Festival in Dubrovnik • the Art and Music Festival in Cividale del Friuli • Tibor Varga in Sion • Festival de Wallonie in Belgium • GOG in Genoa • Bruckner Festival in Linz • the Music Festival in Nanning – China • the Opera Festival in Seoul Korea.
He has worked in collaboration with prestigious theatres such as: • Teatro Monumental in Madrid, Spain • Teatro Regio in Parma • RAI Auditorium in Rome and Turin • Piccolo Teatro in Milan • Teatro Victoria Eugenia in San Sebastian, Spain • National Theatre in Malta • Slesian Opera in Bytom, Poland • Polish National Opera in Kraków • Opera House in Seoul.
Since 2010 he has worked as the chief opera conductor and music consultant for opera programmes at the Manoel Theatre in Malta, conducting new music productions such as: Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti, Il Trovatore, I Pagliacci by Leoncavallo and Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, Mozart's Clemenza di Tito.
Maestro Binetti is also the author of an orchestration of Puccini's Madama Butterfly for ballet, performed with great acclaim from critics in Prague, with choreography by Robert Balogh. He is also the author of a ballet version of Cinderella, with the music of Gioacchino Rossini, held in the Opera Houses of Kraków and Lodz in Poland, and presented later in Vienna and in Edinburgh. Since 2009 he has been an honorary member of the jury of the International Competition for opera singers, A. Dvorak of Montreal in Canada.
Binetti has also recorded numerous works, from opera to symphony. Among his many collaborations, the more important ones include projects with Czech Radio and Television, RAI - Italian Radio and Television, Radio Bremen in Germany, Deutsch Bayerisch Radio in Monaco, Belgium National Radio, Croatia Television and Radio France International.
• Alfredo Catalani - La Wally • Amilcare Ponchielli - Gioconda • Antonín Dvořák - Rusalka, Jakobín • Bedřich Smetana - Prodaná nevěsta, Dalibor • Bohuslav Martinů - Veselohra na mostě, Alexander Bis • Camille Saint Seans - Samson et Dalila • Gaetano Donizetti - Lucrezia Borgia, Lucia di Lammermoor, Rita • Georges Bizet - Carmen, Les pescheurs de perles • Giacomo Puccini - Bohéme, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Tabarro, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Manon Lescaut, Turandot • Gioacchino Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, Guglielmo Tell, L'italiana in Algeri • Giuseppe Verdi - Nabucco, La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto, La forza del destino, Machbet, Otello • Leoš Janáček - Jenúfa, Káťa Kabanová • Ludwig van Beethoven - Fidelio • Nino Rota - Il cappello di paglia di Firenze • Pietro Mascagni - Le Maschere, Silvano, Cavalleria Rusticana • Sergej Rachmaninov - Aleko • Vilém Blodek - V studni • Vincenzo Bellini - Norma, Romeo e Giulietta • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, La Clemenza di Tito, La finta giardiniera
• Antonín Dvořák - Simfonie n. 6, 7, 8, 9 Slovanské tance • Bedřich Smetana - Má vlast • Dmitri Shostakovich - Jazz suite, Simfonie n. 5, 7, 9 • Franz Schubert - Simfonie n. 3, 4, 5, 6 • Giacomo Puccini - Messa di Gloria • Gioacchino Rossini - Stabat Mater, Petite messe Solennelle • Gustav Mahler - Simfonie n. 1, 5 • Ludwig van Beethoven - Simfonie n. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 • Modest Musorgskij - Pictures at an Exhibition, Night on Bald Mountain • Piotr Iljič Čajkovski - 1812, Capriccio italiano, Simfonie n. 4, 5, 6 • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Simfonie, Piano Concerts, Violin Concerts, Requiem.