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Richard Bonynge AC CBE Commandeur de L’ordre National des Arts et des lettres

Though famous as a conductor, Richard Bonynge originally trained as a concert pianist. After studying at the Sydney Conservatorium under Lindley Evans, who accompanied Melba on her last Australian tour, he won a scholarship for the Royal College of Music in London and left for England in 1950. Although his piano studies continued, Bonynge found himself drawn to opera - especially the bel canto repertoire - and over the next few years made intensive studies of this art. He gained experience accompanying for well known singing teachers and in voice training, as well as coaching other singers.

His debut as a conductor came in 1962 with the Santa Cecilia orchestra, and in the same year made his first recording - Handel's Alcina. Success in the concert hall and recording studio secured his reputation and his career as conductor was established.

By reviving and recording many rare operas and ballets, as well as making discs of orchestral music and vocal recitals, Bonynge has built up an impressive recording legacy. He has also produced several important critical editions - his version of Les Contes d'Hoffman, for example, is generally regarded as the most successful. His performing aim is to remain as close to the composer's intentions as possible, and to bring together the finest artists for the job. Indeed, Bonynge's influence on singers is enormous: he has a knack for discovering and developing young singers, and his understanding of the voice has earned him enormous respect from those who have worked with him.

Bonynge has conducted throughout the world (see below) and was Musical Director of the Sutherland-Williamson Grand Opera (1965), Artistic Director of Vancouver Opera (1972-75), and the Musical Director of Australian Opera (1976-86). He was awarded a CBE in 1977, the AO in 1989, and made Commandeur de l'Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres in 1989.

Richard has conducted at most of the world's great opera houses including Metropolitan, NY; Covent Garden, Paris, Barcelona, San Francisco, Chicago, Hamburg, Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Munich, Edinburgh, Florence, San Carlo, Naples, Rome, Moscow, St Petersburg, Madrid, Warsaw, Krakow, Toronto, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Dallas, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Seattle, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya.

His video opera and ballet recordings include more than fifty complete operas. You may like to read a full list of Richard Bonynge's Opera & Ballet Repertoire

Melba congratulates Maestro Richard Bonynge, founding patron of the Melba Foundation and esteemed Melba Recordings artist, on his appointment Companion of the Order of Australia in the 2012 Australia...
Melba Foundation supporters were treated to a lively and candid conversation between conductor Richard Bonynge and Michael Shmith, opera critic and senior writer with The Age, at The Opera Centre in...
Conductor Richard Bonynge keeps a schedule that would challenge a man half his age. The 77-year-old trots the globe conducting opera and ballet, makes records and undertakes scholarships. Though...
Conductor and Opera lover Richard Bonynge takes part in a new adventure, that of the Melba label, as Australian as the Soprano it takes its name from. Very tall, slim, elegant and relaxed, Richard...
Cheryl Barker has sung Cio-Cio-San in so many productions, it is virtually the strikingly beautiful Australian soprano's calling card. Puccini is the core of her repertoire, which will be extended...
JF: Richard Bonynge , our first guest. World class conductor, worked with some of the finest musicians, singers, orchestras and operas around the world. Visiting Melbourne to promote a new CD that's...

Richard Bonynge AC CBE

Discography

Here Richard Bonynge is working for the first time with admired Australian soprano Cheryl Barker. Surprising though it may sound...
A selection of rare 19th Century British lyric opera arias by Balfe, Sullivan and Wallace from the Richard Bonynge Archive...
A fascinating collection of rare French and Italian opera arias, shining a light on the creative ferment at the beginning of the...
This world premiere recording of La somnambule by Ferdinand Hérold offers the first chance for music lovers and balletomanes to...
Here Richard Bonynge is working for the first time with admired Australian soprano Cheryl Barker. Now re-released in Super Audio...
In a treat for lovers of Massenet’s sumptuous music, soprano Rosamund Illing performs arias showcasing a wide range of Massenet’s...
Also available as VHS Narrated by Richard Bonynge, this 55 minute documentary on the life and music of Jules Massenet (1842-...
Rare Italian, French and English opera arias from the Richard Bonynge Archive. The last recording to be made by Deborah Riedel.