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