Born in 1981 in Albania, the tenor Saimir Pirgu studied singing with Vito Brunetti. He has won prestigious international competitions such as the Enrico Caruso in Milan and the Tito Schipa in Lecce. Soon afterwards he made his début as Belfiore in Il viaggio a Reims at the Rossini Opera Festival of Pesaro, where he also sang Alì in Adina. In 2004, only 22 years old, he made his début in Così fan tutte as Ferrando, under the baton of Claudio Abbado in Ferrara. In summer 2004 he made his début at the Salzburg Festival in Così fan tutte. Since then he has appeared as a guest in the most important opera houses around the world, including Berlin, Vienna, Munich, Hamburg, Zurich, Madrid, Rome, and Bologna, in operas including Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, L’elisir d’amore, Falstaff, and La traviata. He made his Covent Garden début as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and sang Giocondo’s Il burbero di buon cuore in Madrid, appearing in Lisbon in Rigoletto. He has enjoyed a successful collaboration with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Daniele Gatti, Seiji Ozawa, Franz Welser-Möst, and Gustav Kuhn.