Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu made his San Francisco Opera debut at Tebaldo in 2012’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi; he is already ranked as one of the operatic world’s fastest-rising artists in a career just a decade old. With a voice of uncommon beauty and communicative skill, his assumptions of many of the most popular roles in the lyric repertoire have received critical and audience acclaim wherever he performs. Most recently he earned kudos for his debut at Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colón with Riccardo Muti as Count Almaviva in Mercadante’s I due Figaro, following concerts together in Salzburg; the two will be reunited this season for engagements in Chicago and Munich. Pirgu has appeared with many of the major opera companies and orchestras worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, where he returns this season as Alfredo Germont (La Traviata), a role he also sings in Naples and Zurich later this season. He is a frequent visitor to Milan’s La Scala; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden: Paris Opera; the Vienna State Opera, where he performs Nemorino (L’Elisir d’Amore) this season; and to Rome, Hamburg, Florence, and Madrid. This season he also performs a recital in Toulouse, and Zurich Opera audiences will see him as the Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto). His profile in the U.S. continues to rise, following successes at the Met; Washington National Opera, where he returns in 2014; the Ravinia Festival; and in Los Angeles and Santa Fe. Pirgu is already well-represented in the audio and video arenas.