“Richard Bonynge, is a name that is stated in hushed tones throughout the Opera World for his great knowledge of voice, style, and for the sheer breadth of knowledge he has about opera and its glowing history. Maestro Bonynge is renowned for being a superb and thorough scholar of the highest order and integrity, bringing musical treasures otherwise unknown but for his presentation and research. I grew up literally following he and his legendary wife, the incomparable, truly legendary voice, Joan Sutherland. I was privileged to hear first hand the combination of genius and magic that happened in the oepra house and how the public understood the rare alchemy and embraced them to their hearts never to let go. They shaped everything I know or feel, or love about the rigors of Bel Canto and to have this great Maestro here with us for this inaugural year of this academy is a personal dream come true, and I am sure he will ignite in many artists here a love, respect and excitement for the music. I am very thrilled to see you again and I intend to bathe in the fantastic way you think about music, how you bring it gloriously to life, and the electric quality you give to the love you have for it…. Benvenuto Maestro!!!” from Aprile Millo
Throughout his illustrious career, Richard Bonynge has conducted in the world’s leading opera houses in Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand and Asia. He has received world-wide acclaim as a scholar of bel-canto opera and is celebrated for leading the renaissance of eighteenth and early-nineteenth century musical theater, such as Les Huguenots (Meyerbeer), Semiramide, Sigismondo (Rossini), La Fille du Régiment, Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena, Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti), Esclarmonde, Le Roi de Lahore, Thérèse (Massenet), Medea (Pacini), Orfeo (Haydn), I Masnadieri (Verdi).
Richard Bonynge is acknowledged as a leading scholar of bel canto opera, 19th century French opera and 19th century ballet music.
His repertoire consists mainly of 18th century opera, the great bel canto repertoire, 19th century French opera, 19th century ballet and many operettas.
Richard Bonynge has conducted at most of the world’s great opera houses including The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, La Scala Milan, Metropolitan Opera New York, Chicago Lyric Opera, Gran Teatre Del Liceu Barcelona and Sydney Opera House.
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.
Among his most recent performances in the theatre have been La Traviata in Athens, I Capuleti ed I Montecchi and Roberto Devereaux in London, Norma, Lucia, La Scala di Seta, Signor Bruschino, Roméo & Juliette,Lakmé, Il barbiere di Siviglia in Australia, Lucia, Norma, Faust and La Sonnambula in the United States, La Favorite in Barcelona, I Lombardi in Buenos Aires and Semiramide (Meyerbeer) at the Wildbad Festival, Germany.
In 2011 Richard Bonynge returned to Athens with La Scala for performances of Maria Stuarda and to London for Belisario (Donizetti) for Chelsea Opera Group and Don Pasquale for Opera Holland Park.
In 1977 he was created Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and awarded the Order of Australia (AO). In 1989 he was made Commandeur de l’Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres and in 2007 Socio d’onore della R.Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna.
His discography reflects the eclecticism of his music interests. He has recorded over 50 complete operas as well as the three Tchaikovsky ballets, three Delibes ballets and numerous lesser known ballets by Adam, Minkus, Burgmuller, Auber, Drigo, Offenbach. He recorded several recital discs with Sumi Jo, Jerry Hadley, Deborah Riedel, Rosamund Illing, Cheryl Barker and Elizabeth Whitehouse. His recent recordings are Le Domino Noir (Auber), Le Toréador (Adam), Der Czarevich, Das Land des Lächelns, Paganini, Giuditta (Lehar),Cendrillon (Nicolo), Orfeo (Haydn), Die Herzogin von Chicago and Die Czardasfürstin(Kálmán), British Opera Arias (Balfe, Wallace, Sullivan), Sacred and Profane Arias(Massenet), Puccini Arias (Puccini), La Somnambula (Hérold), Verismo Arias andTchaikovsky & Grieg piano concertos with Simon Tedeschi and the Queensland Orchestra. Video recordings include Les Huguenots, La Fille du Régiment, Adriana Lecouvreur, Die Lustige Witwe, Les Dialogues des Carmélites, Norma, Die Fledermaus, Lucrezia Borgia,Lucia di Lammermoor, Lakmé, Il Trovatore, Die Zauberflöte and Die Czardasfürstin.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Richard Bonynge studied at the NSW Conservatory of Music and the Royal College of Music. He served as Music Director of the Sutherland-Williamson Grand Opera Company in 1965 (Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane), as Artistic Director of the Vancouver Opera from 1974-77 and Music Director of The Australian Opera from 1976-86. Maestro Bonynge’s accomplishments as conductor and musical scholar were recognized when Queen Elizabeth II, during her Silver Jubilee Celebration in 1977, made him a Commander of the British Empire. In the summer of 1989, the French government honored him with the rank of “Commandeur de l’Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres”.
“Singers and orchestra all performed superbly under the baton of veteran bel canto specialist Richard Bonynge.” – Don Pasquale, Opera Holland Park, The Oxford Times, June 29, 2011
“…the work had more or less vanished until Richard Bonynge prepared the new performing edition that he conducts on this recording…; altogether it’s a real rarity that’s a must at bargain price for anyone interested in 19th-century opera.” – CD Review, Wallace: Lurline on Naxos, The Guardian, June 24, 2010
“Keeping everything impressively under control was conductor Richard Bonynge. This was a sentimental though entirely appropriate return for the great bel canto specialist. Our Vancouver Opera orchestra was his innovation many decades ago. One hopes that working with it after all these years gives Bonynge a much-deserved sense of lasting accomplishment. Today it is a reliable, disciplined pit orchestra, whose sensitive support of the singers ensured the evening’s success.” – Norma, Vancouver Opera, The Vancouver Sun, November 29, 2009
“Opera Holland Park’s outstanding new production will hopefully secure the work a place in the regular repertoire. The conductor is Richard Bonynge, the director Lindsay Posner: both are strong on the sense of psychological malaise that lurks beneath the work’s brilliant, if unsteady surface. Bonynge’s sense of pacing is immaculate, so that every arpeggio and rhythmic figuration betrays someone’s strained mental state. ” – Roberto Devereux, Opera Holland Park, UK, The Guardian, June 5, 2009
“Conducting, Richard Bonynge shows his decades of experience in his authoritative but understated support for his singers, and a well-crafted blend in the ensemble.” – Roberto Devereux, Opera Holland Park, UK, The Times, June 4, 2009
“Under leading bel canto expert Richard Bonynge, the score crackles throughout.” – Roberto Devereux, Opera Holland Park, UK, The Stage Review, June 3, 2009