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Biography

Acclaimed by audiences and critics around the world, Saimir Pirgu is considered as one of the artists whose rapid rise on both the opera and concert world provides him with a profile as one of the most known singers in the international lyric world.

Praised for his dramatic and earnestly felt interpretations, he is defined "one of the most beautiful voices that can be heard today" (Seen and Heard International), "one of the world's most important interpreters of lyric tenor roles" (Opera Today), "A star ascending" (Opera Now). "His singing sounds spontaneous and unforced, graced by an intuitive play of light and shade and a silken touch" (The New York Times), "his technique is superb, and the lyric quality of his voice is so beautiful" (Plácido Domingo), "the sky is the limit for him" (The New York Sun).

Born in 1981 in Elbasan, Albania, at a very young age he started the study of music and was granted a diploma in Violin at sixteen in his native city and at the age of twenty-one in Voice from the Conservatory Claudio Monteverdi in Bolzano (Italy) under the guidance of Vito Maria Brunetti who is still his teacher to this day. While a student he had an important opportunity to meet Luciano Pavarotti who worked with him and made it possible for Mr. Pirgu to polish the most important roles in his repertoire. The friendship and mentoring continued until the last days of the great tenor's life.

In September 2013 Saimir Pirgu was recognized with the prestigious "Pavarotti d'Oro Award".

In 2009, he was honored with the Franco Corelli Prize bestowed by the Theater of the Muses in Ancona, for his interpretation of the role of Alfredo in "La Traviata".

In 2008, Saimir Pirgu was chosen by Woody Allen to sing the role of Rinuccio in the Los Angeles Opera's Gianni Schicchi. This was Mr. Allen's opera directorial debut.

In 2002 he won first prize at two important competitions: the Caruso and Tito Schipa, both of which signalled that, for this young tenor, a world career was commencing.

At only the age of twenty-two he was discovered by, as well as chosen by, Claudio Abbado to sing the role of Ferrando in Così fan tutte in Ferrara and, in the summer of 2004, at the Salisburg Festival with Philippe Jordan conducting; he became the youngest artist in the history of the Festival to ever make a debut in a principal part.

Following that, an important collaboration commenced with the Vienna State Opera where, among the various productions which he took part, he has distinguished himself in "L'Elisir d'Amore" for which he receives the prestigious prize "Eberhard Waechter Medal", given to promising young artists.

Significant debuts followed which have given him the opportunity to appear regularly in all the most important Opera houses of the world, under the batons of the foremost conductors of the day.

On the occasion of his return to the Metropolitan Opera during the Verdi Year to portray Alfredo in La Traviata, in March of 2013, a fully comprehensive article about Mr. Pirgu and his career appeared in The New York Times, entitled "Tenor from the Dark Side of the Moon".

The most recent seasons have been marked by foremost successes all round the world, amongst them: "La Bohème" at Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, "The Magic Flute" at La Scala in Milan, "La Traviata" at the New York Metropolitan and San Francisco Operas, at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, and also at the Bayerische Staatsoper, "L'Elisir d'Amore" at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, as well as at the Vienna Staatsoper, "La Clemenza di Tito" at the Paris National Opera, "Lucia di Lammermoor" with the Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera and Hamburg Opera, "Werther" at the National Opera in Tirana, "Rigoletto" at the Arena in Verona and at the Zurich Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Bavarian State Opera, "Idomeneo2 at the Styriarte Festival in Graz, "Macbeth" at the Maggio Musicale in Florence, "Iolanta" and "Francesca da Rimini" at the Theater an der Wien, I Due Figaro at the "Teatro Colón" in Buenos Aires, "Don Giovanni" at the Vienna State Opera and also for the first production ever at the Arena in Verona, which was directed by Franco Zeffirelli.

Equally praised for his concert appearances, he is widely acknowledged for his interpretations of the Verdi Requiem, foremost being at the Salzburg Festival with Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic, at the Musikverein in Vienna and in Munich with Mariss Jansons and the Orchestra of the Bayerische Rundfunk, with Antonio Pappano and the Accademia of Santa Cecilia orchestra. Other notable recent concert and symphonic engagements include: Rossini's "La Petite Messe Solennelle" at the Musikverein in Vienna and at the Théâtre des Champas Elysées in Paris with Daniele Gatti, the New Year's Concert 2013 at the Theater La Fenice in Venice , Dvořák's "Stabat Mater" in Graz at the Styriarte Festival with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Berlioz's "Messe Solennelle" at the Musikverein with Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic. Mr. Pirgu has also been heard at the Auditorium Lingotto in Torino with Claudio Abbado, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with Peter Schneider and the Vienna Philharmonic, at the Santa Cecilia Auditorium in Rome with Vladimir Jurowski, with the Chicago Symphony and Riccardo Muti and in several occasions with the Haydn Orchestra and Gustav Kuhn, with whom, in 2006, he made his first CD (Universal), "Angelo casto e bel", an anthology of opera arias.

Since 2013 Saimir Pirgu has been an ambassador for Down Syndrome Albania, a foundation for helping those children afflicted with the disease.