Maestro Antonio Pappano is knighted for his services to opera in the UK.

Antonio Pappano, music director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has been knighted in the New Year Honours List.

Pappano was “astonished but hugely honoured by this news.

“I am so grateful to the Royal Opera House for providing me with a platform to make music and drama with a world-class orchestra and chorus communicating our passion for this amazing artform,” he said.

The London-born Italian maestro made his conducting debut at Covent Garden in 1990 in La Bohème, with seven different tenors in 14 performances. He was appointed Music Director in 2002.

Royal Opera House chief executive Tony Hall has praised Pappano for his “huge contribution to the musical life of this country, opera in particular”.