He was Principal Conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (Radio- Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart) and the Schwetzingen Festival, for nine years (1989- 1998) then Music Director of Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera from 2000 to 2009. From 2004 to 2008, he also was Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
More recently (2012), he was appointed principal conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, a post that he held until 2016, then becoming “Chef Honoraire” for life and being awarded Monégasque citizenship by H.S.H. Prince Albert II.
Maestro Gelmetti particularly treasures the Italian and French operatic repertory of the 19th and 20th Century, including revivals of rarely performed works and world premieres. In Pesaro, he has conducted numerous productions at the Rossini Opera Festival: Tancredi, La Gazza Ladra, Otello, Maometto II, receiving the “Rossini d’Oro” award with Guillaume Tell (World Premiere of the complete opera in the original French, lasting over 5 hours.
With the Rome Opera House he conducted, among others, the World Premiere of Marie-Victoire (1914, never performed) and La Fiamma (1933) by Ottorino Respighi; Sakúntala (1921) by Franco Alfano, Iris (1898) by Pietro Mascagni. He particularly treasures Mozart, having conducted Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro (He was awarded the “Best Conductor of the Year” prize by Opernwelt), Così Fan Tutte and Die Zauberflöte.
Other lyric works that he conducted: Falstaff at the Opéra de Monte -Carlo; Guillaume Tell at the Rossini Festival, the Opernhaus Zürich, in Monte-Carlo and in Paris; La Forza del Destino in Parma; Les Vêpres Siciliennes in Naples; Turandot in Tokyo; Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Toulouse; Francesca da Rimini, Amica and Das Rheingold in Monte-Carlo; I Due Foscari in Toulouse ; Un Ballo in Maschera and La Traviata in Trieste; La Fanciulla del West in Liège. Rossini’s Stabat Mater in Sarajevo; Rossini’s Otello. Again in Trieste for Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Requiem; Verdi’s Requiem in Rome and Taranto. Most recently, he conducted La Cenerentola, directed by Carlo Verdone, for Rada Film Productions.
However, Maestro Gelmetti does not deserve to be labelled a “lyric conductor” since he also regularly conducts symphonic concerts at Europe, America and Asia’s most prestigious venues, his repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary. He has led the most renowned Orchestras, in Germany (Berlin, Bonn, Hamburg, Stuttgart, München, Köln, Dresden, Leipzig); in France (Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lyon) in Spain (Madrid, Bilbao), in Italy (practically all), plus the Czech Philharmonic, the Wiener Philharmoniker, the London SO, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Copenhagen, Oslo… He also appears on podiums in China, Qatar, Oman.
In Japan, he has often performed both lyric and symphonic repertoires, conducting the NHK, Yomiuri and Japan Philharmonic Orchestras. He was awarded the Tokyo critics’ prize “Best Performance of the Year” with Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 in 1997. In 2006, he led a triumphal “double-tour”, presenting with Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera and also leading the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in concerts with music by Ravel and Tchaikovsky.
His discography, recorded mostly for EMI but also for SONY, RICORDI, FONIT, DECCA, TELDEC AND AGORÀ, shows the extent and complexity of his repertoire, including several operas by Rossini, Puccini and Mozart; Ravel orchestral music; Mozart Symphonies; and selected works by Stravinsky, Berg, Webern, Varèse and Rota. Recent releases include Bruckner’s Symphony nr. 6 and Rossini’s Stabat Mater.
Maestro Gelmetti has also composed: In Paradisum Deducant Te Angeli, premiered by the Orchestra and Choir of Teatro dell’Opera in Rome and later performed in London, Munich, Frankfurt, Budapest, Sydney and Stuttgart; Algos for big orchestra, premiered in 1997 by the Münchener Philharmoniker; Prasanta Atma, commissioned in 1999 to celebrate his revered Teacher Sergiu Celibidache (1912-1996). In 2000, the Teatro Comunale in Bologna commissioned a Cantata della Vita for choir, cello solo and orchestra.
He has also staged several operas: Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cenerentola, L’Isola Disabitata (by Haydn), Così fan Tutte, Tosca, Gianni Schicchi / Suor Angelica, Cavalleria Rusticana, la Traviata, Il Corsaro, Tristan und Isolde, most times directing and conducting at the same time. He has been teaching orchestral conducting at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena since 1997 and at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.
Gianluigi Gelmetti was named “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” in France, “Commandeur de l’Ordre du Mérite Culturel” in Monaco and “Cavaliere di Gran Croce” by Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.