In advance of our concert with him at the Queen Elizabeth Hall tomorrow night, Enrique answers our burning questions…

What/when was your big breakthrough?
It was in 2002, when I discovered my house in Tuscany. I left Milan behind and with it the big city routine, and found a completely new way of life: countryside, nature, starry skies, fields…

What do you fear the most?
I fear a future of misunderstanding between people, religions and politics that may lead to wars. I fear a lack of communication.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
The one of my personal angel…

What – or where – is perfection?
Perfection is nowhere. We are the kingdom of the imperfection – and it’s great!

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
I love Neo from the movie The Matrix – a figure who tries to explain the drama of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. He comes pretty close I think!

What’s your favourite ritual?
To enjoy a portion of dark chocolate before conducting a concert!

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
Claudio Abbado. I worked with him as child soloist at Scala, and since I was 8 I have admired his way of working – the way he builds a sincere way of relating to and involving all the artists he works with. “Humanitas” is at the centre of the music, and too often this is forgotten.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
I would like to pilot a plane, but I also love archaeology. I’d love to be able to restore masterpieces of the past: fresco paintings, old books…

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Today’s jazz of Norah Jones or Stacey Kent

What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
The complete involvement and passion of OAE in the process of creating the music from rehearsals to concert.

Should the classical music world work harder to attract a wider audience?
Yes, for sure. The fact is that during the Romantic period and XX Century the classical music world was intellectualized more and more, and today I think it sometimes seems that going to a classical concert is a sort of ‘cultural test’. My feeling is that we have to come back to classical music as entertainment, as pure pleasure for everybody. Of course, the next step is then to help people understand what they are listening to.