Francesco Meli

Francesco Meli is one of the most fascinating and sought-after tenors in the world.

Born in Genoa in 1980, he began his singing studies at the age of 17 at the Conservatorio Paganini, continuing with Vittorio Terranova and going on to gain recognition at several competitions for opera singers, including the Caruso, the Zandonai and the Tosti.

He made his debut at La Scala at the age of just 23 in Dialogues of the Carmelites, conducted by Riccardo Muti, and has returned there over the years to perform in Otello, Idomeneo, Don Giovanni, Maria Stuarda and Der Rosenkavalier. To date, Meli has appeared in 18 productions at La Scala. In 2004, he made his debut as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, a role that he went on to sing in numerous theaters.

Meli has a repertoire of more than 50 roles and has performed under the world’s most eminent conductors, including Riccardo Chailly, Myung-Whun Chung, Fabio Luisi, Riccardo Muti, Gianandrea Noseda, Antonio Pappano, Daniele Rustioni and Yuri Temirkanov.

Since 2009, Meli has gradually turned his attention from bel canto roles toward dramatic opera. After performances in I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata, Simon Boccanegra and Werther in Parma, he debuted in the major Verdi roles. In 2013, the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth, he sang in Simon Boccanegra, I due Foscari, Ernani and in Nabucco at the Rome Opera and in Salzburg under Riccardo Muti; Ernani at the New York Metropolitan; Macbeth, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Muti; Simon Boccanegra in Vienna and at Teatro La Fenice; Un ballo in maschera in Parma, Rome, the Arena in Verona and La Fenice; Il trovatore at La Fenice and in new productions in Salzburg, Covent Garden, Amsterdam and Monte Carlo; I due Foscari in Los Angeles, Covent Garden and La Scala; Giovanna d’Arco in Salzburg and at La Scala to inaugurate the season; Don Carlo at La Scala; Aida at the Salzburg Festival, conducted by Muti, and in new productions of Carmen in Madrid and Covent Garden. He has on three occasions inaugurated the season at La Scala, and he sang at the opening concerts for the Turin Olympics and for EXPO 2015 in Milan, both broadcast by RAI.

In 2019, during the Easter Festival at Baden-Baden, Meli performed for the first time with the Berlin Philharmonic, singing in the Verdi Requiem, conducted by Muti.

His most recent engagements include Simon Boccanegra in London, Genoa and Vienna; Ernani and La traviata at La Scala; the Verdi Requiem, conducted by Muti in Tokyo, Baden-Baden and at the Salzburg Festival; Aida at La Fenice and in a concert performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Muti. When La Scala closed in February 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, he was engaged in Il trovatore, another of his signature roles, in which he was due to celebrate his 50th performance that month.

He resumed stage activity in summer 2020 with a concert performance of Un ballo in maschera at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in concerts with piano accompaniment at the Teatro Municipale in Piacenza, La Scala, La Fenice, Festival della Valle d’Itria, Parco Archeologico Scolacium and in concert with orchestra at the Arena di Verona.

In August, he sang in the Verdi Requiem, conducted by Zubin Mehta at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and then with the Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala, conducted by Riccardo Chailly, in the cathedrals of Milan, Bergamo and Brescia. In October, he was Radamès in a concert performance of Aida at La Scala. On Dec. 5, he sang in a concert performance of I due Foscari at the Opéra de Monte Carlo.

In 2021, he completed an extended tour in Japan of concert performances and as Cavaradossi in Tosca at the New National Theatre in Tokyo. Engagements this year include concerts and operas at Teatro alla Scala, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Arena di Verona, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro Municipale di Piacenza, Teatro San Carlo, Bayerische Staatsoper and Teatro La Fenice. On Dec. 7, he will sing Macduff in Macbeth to inaugurate the 2021-22 season at Teatro alla Scala and will return there later in the season to perform one of his signature roles, Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera.

Since March 2021, he has been artistic director and one of the tutors at the newly created Academy of Advanced Professional Training for opera singers at Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice.

In 2013, he won the Abbiati Award for his performances of Verdi; he also has won the Maschera d’oro, the “Opera Star” International Opera Award, the Zenatello Award at the Arena in Verona, the Orazio Tosi Award, the Carlo Alberto Cappelli Award, the Pertile Award, the Lugo Award, the Prandelli Award, the Mascagni Award, the Tiberini d’oro Award, the ISO d’oro and the Labò Award.

Since February 2020, he has been an ambassador for the Renata Tebaldi Museum in Busseto, Italy.