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Sir Richard Bonynge

Sir Richard Bonynge

Born 1930, Sydney, Australia, studied at the NSW Conservatorium of Music, the Royal College of Music, London and with Herbert Fryer a pupil of Busoni. He was appointed Musical Director of the Sutherland-Williamson Grand Opera Company in 1965 (Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane), Artistic Director of the Vancouver Opera, 1974-77 and Musical Director of The Australian Opera, 1976-86. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by Her Majesty The Queen in Great Britain in 1977, the AO in 1983 and in 2012 the AC (Companion of the Order of Australia), awarded Commandeur de l’Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres, Paris in 1989, and made “Socio d’onore”, R. Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna, 2007. In 2009 he was awarded the Sir Bernard Heinze Award for service to music and in 2010 the Patron’s Award given by Dame Beryl Grey within the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards at Covent Garden for services to ballet. He married the late soprano Joan Sutherland in 1954 and has one son. 

Richard Bonynge is acknowledged as a scholar of bel canto opera, 19th-century French opera and 19th-century ballet music. He has conducted at most of the world’s opera houses, in Great Britain, in the United States, Canada, Argentina, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

His repertoire consists mainly of 18th-century opera, the great bel canto repertoire, French 19th-century opera, 19th-century ballet and opera, the operas of Mozart and Handel, and many operettas. He has revived many operas which were not at the time included in the repertoire: Les Huguenots (Meyerbeer), Semiramide, Sigismondo (Rossini), La Fille du Re?giment, Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena, Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti), Esclarmonde, Le Roi de Lahore, The?re?se (Massenet), Medea (Pacini), Orfeo (Haydn) and I Masnadieri (Verdi).

He has recorded over 50 complete operas as well as the three great Tchaikovsky ballets, three Delibes ballets and countless relatively unknown ballets of Adam, Minkus, Burgmuller, Auber, Drigo and Offenbach. He has recorded several recital discs with Renata Tebaldi, Sumi Jo, Jerry Hadley, Deborah Riedel, Rosamund Illing, Cheryl Barker, Elizabeth Whitehouse and Yvonne Kenny. His latest recordings are Le Domino Noir (Auber), Le Tore?ador (Adam), Der Czarevich, Das Land des La?chelns, Paganini, Giuditta (Lehar), Cendrillon (Nicolo), Orfeo (Haydn), Die Herzogin von Chicago and Die Czardasfu?rstin (Ka?lma?n), British Opera Arias (Balfe, Wallace, Sullivan), Mozart’s Flute with Jane Rutter, Sacred and Profane Arias (Massenet), Puccini Arias (Puccini), La Somnambule (He?rold), Verismo Arias and Tchaikovsky & Grieg piano concertos with Simon Tedeschi and the Queensland Orchestra, Lurline (Wallace), Piano music with Rosemary Tuck (Wallace), British Opera Overtures (Balfe, Loder, Wallace) and Massenet Songs. He has also made videos of Les Huguenots, La Fille du Re?giment, Adriana Lecouvreur, The Merry Widow, The Dialogues of the Carmelites, Norma, Die Fledermaus, Lucrezia Borgia, Lucia di Lammermoor, Lakme?, Il Trovatore, Die Zauberflo?te and Die Czardasfu?rstin.

Among his most recent performances in the theatre have been La Traviata and Maria Stuarda in Athens, I Capuleti ed I Montecchi and Roberto Devereux, Belisario and Don Pasquale in London, Lucia in South Africa, Norma, Lucia, La Scala di Seta, Signor Bruschino, Rome?o & Juliette, Lakme?, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Sonnambula in Australia, Lucia, Norma, Faust and La Sonnambula in the United States, Norma in Canada, La Favorite in Barcelona, I Lombardi in Buenos Aires, and Semiramide (Meyerbeer) in Germany.