Oleg Caetani is an opera and concert conductor. He finds these two aspects of his work equally important.
Caetani considers Nadia Boulanger to be the driving inspiration of his career. She discovered his talent, initiated him to music and gave him the philosophical approach to life, linked to Montaigne, that he still has today.
At the Rome Conservatory of Santa Cecilia he attended Franco Ferrara's conducting class and studied composition with Irma Ravinale. At the age of 17, he made his theatre debut with a production of Monteverdi's Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and other madrigals that he organized himself.
After studying all the Shostakovich Symphonies with Kiril Kondrashin at the Moscow Conservatory, he graduated with Ilya Mussin at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with the maximum of votes, conducting Shostakovich’s Fifth symphony. Winner of the RAI Turin competition and Karajan Competition in Berlin, he started his career at the Berlin State Opera “Unter den Linden” as repetiteur and assistant of Otmar Suitner. That experience in a great German opera house with all Wagner and Strauss works gave him a decisive turn to his repertoire.
Caetani’s deep experience, now of almost thirty years, in the opera repertoire by Verdi, Mussorgsky and Wagner (including several Ring productions) has influenced his approach to the great opera and symphonic works of the twentieth century.
The first opera Caetani has conducted at the age of 24 years old, was Eugene Oneghin in 1981, when graduating from St. Petersburg’s Conservatory. Since then Tchaikovsky has played an important role in his repertoire. He has conducted new productions of Orleanskaya Deva (Joan of Arch) in Strasbourg (first performance in France in 1998), The Queen of Spades (production by J.Schaaf ) in Stuttgart, and Nutcracker working with the Swiss architect Mario Botta in Zürich.
He recently recorded all Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies including Manfred (2008). The Financial Times wrote: "Do we need another set of Tchaikovsky symphonies? Having listened and re-listened to these live recordings, the answer is an emphatic yes. Caetani is not an indulgent Tchaikovskyan... he lets Tchaikovsky speak for himself: the contrapuntal rigour, the emotional tenderness, the occasional hint of hysteria within a classical structure... a treasure at any price".
After conducting “Oedipe”by Enescu as his first professional opera performance in 1983, Caetani has endeavoured to conduct the wonderfully original music of Enescu whenever possible. As a result, following his performances of Oedipe as opening of the 2009 Enescu Festival in 2009, he received the legion of honour of the Romanian Republic for performing Enescu’s music around the world. Caetani has also devoted himself to recording and conducting other less-known composers of the twentieth century such as Mossolov, Skalkottas, Dallapiccola, Xenakis, Pizzetti, Gerhard etc.
His recordings of Tansman’s Symphonies, released by Chandos, have won three Diapason d’Or in 2006 and 2008; his Gounod's Symphonies for CPO ( including the 3rd Symphony discovered by Caetani ) has also won a Diapason D'or in January 2015.
Since the studying time, Shostakovich’s music has a central role in his repertoire. Caetani translated the libretto of “The Nose“ from Russian into German for his production in Frankfurt in 1991; he conducted the Italian premiere of the operetta “Moscow Cheriomushki” in 2007 and has conducted many first performances of Shostakovich’s operas, concertos, ballets and suites all over the world as well as recording Italy's first complete cycle of Shostakovich symphonies with the Verdi Orchestra in Milan .The CDs have won several prizes: 10/10 from Classical Today in USA, ffff Télérama in France and Record Geijutsu in Japan.
He has been chief designate at the ENO in 2005, chief designate 2002-2005 of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the same orchestra during 2005-2009. Before that Caetani has been Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Weimar, First Kapellmeister of the Frankfurt Opera and GMD in Wiesbaden and Chemnitz.
Since 1999 Caetani has a particularly close relationship with the Verdi Orchestra and with them has also toured in South America (2003), Spain (2009) and has been for 3 concerts in Salzburg (Schumann Symphonic Cycle) in Feb.2016. In April 2008, he conducted the Verdi Orchestra in a concert presented by the Italian President to Pope Benedetto XVI in the Vatican which was recorded live for Eurovision TV.
In 2001 he made his debut at La Scala, Milan with Turandot, returning there in 2005 to conduct Otello. He opened the 2001 season of the Theatre of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with Don Pasquale.
Recent engagements have included Khovanchina, Vaughan Williams's Sir John In Love, Madama Butterfly, Boheme and Tosca, all at the English National Opera, The Flying Dutchman at the Rome Opera House, L’enfant et les sortilèges at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, La Voix Humaine coupled with The Bluebeard Castle, Don Carlos in Köln, Madama Butterfly in Berlin and Oslo, his debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Tosca, Lady Macbeth di Mzensk at Oslo Opera, Tosca at the Sao Paolo Opera House, Tosca and Turandot at the Mariinsky Opera House, The Prisoner by Dallapiccola with the Mariinsky Orchestra during the Stars White Nights Festival, Lady Macbeth of Mzensk in Helsinki, Les Pecheurs des Perles in Trieste and Otello in Weimar.
He regularly conducts orchestras such as Staatskapelle Dresden, Munich Philharmonic, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Gewandhausorchester, Wiener Symphoniker (with whom he has recorded “Poliuto” by Donizetti for Emi-Cbs), Bamberger Symphoniker, Orchestre National de Radio France, Mozarteum Orchester, Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, the RAI National Symphonic Orchestra, l’Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Orchestra of the Teatro Verdi di Trieste, Orchestre Philharmonique de Montecarlo, Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra, Spanish National Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra , Sydney Symphony, Yomiuri Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Berner Symphonieorchester, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Qatar Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra for a Festival Tchaikovsky/Caetani/ 2016 etc.
Forthcoming engagements are among different ones Così fan tutte in Trieste and many concerts with London Philharmonic Orchestra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Metropolitan Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, laVerdi Orchestra Milan and etc.