Richard Bonynge | Biography


Richard Bonynge
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).
In recent seasons he led performances of La Traviata in Athens, I Capuleti ed I Montecchi in London, Norma, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Scala di Seta, Signor Bruschino, Roméo & Juliette in Sydney, Lucia, Norma and Faust in the United States, La Favorite in Barcelona, I Lombardi in Buenos Aires and Semiramide (Meyerbeer) at the Wildbad Festival, Germany.
Mr. Bonynge’s extensive career includes innumerable performances with his wife, Dame Joan Sutherland, culminating in her farewell engagements in opera and recital throughout the world. The two artists also toured the United States with the Sydney Symphony in celebration of Australia’s Bicentennial, with concerts at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and the United Nations.
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 and Tchaikovsky & 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”.