Richard Bonynge AC CBE
Richard Bonynge was Musical Director of the Sutherland-Williamson Grand Opera Company in Australia in 1965, Artistic Director of the Vancouver Opera, 1974-77 and Musical Director of The Australian Opera, 1976-86. In Great Britain in 1977 he was awarded the CBE by Her Majesty, The Queen, and in the same year became an Officer in the Order of Australia, AO. In Paris in 1989, he was awarded the title Commandeur de l’Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres and in 2007 was made “Socio d’onore”, R. Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna. In 2009 he was awarded the Sir Bernard Heinze Award in Australia for service to music and in London in 2010, Dame Beryl Grey gave him the Patron’s Award within the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for services to ballet.
His significant recording career includes more than 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 many recital discs with Dame Joan Sutherland, Renata Tebaldi, Marilyn Horne, Sumi Jo, Jerry Hadley, Luciano Pavarotti, Deborah Riedel, Huguette Tourangeau, Rosamund Illing, Cheryl Barker, Elizabeth Whitehouse and Yvonne Kenny.
Highly regarded as both scholar and aficionado, he has written countless articles on opera, its composers, great interpreters, the art of bel canto, ballet, theatre and antiques. For Craftsman House Press he has written four books – The Joan Sutherland Album (with Dame Joan Sutherland) ,1986, Joan Sutherland, Designs for a Prima Donna ,1985, A Collector’s Guide to Theatrical Postcards, 1988 and Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge with The Australian Opera, 1990.
For Opera Australia he has conducted more than fifty operas – several of them in different productions in many seasons. He has made video/DVD recordings of Australian performances of The Magic Flute, Norma, La Fille du Régiment, Lucrezia Borgia, Lucia di Lammermoor, Il Trovatore, Les Huguenots, Lakmé, Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow, The Gipsy Princess, Adriana Lecouvreur and The Dialogues of the Carmelites, together with two Gala Concerts recorded in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House with the Elizabethan Sydney Orchestra and soloists Dame Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne and Luciano Pavarotti.
In recent seasons Richard Bonynge has conducted Norma, I Capuleti e I Montecchi, La Scala di Seta, Il Signor Bruschino, Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Lucia di Lammermoor, Lakmé and Roméo et Juliette in Australia; Norma, La Sonnambula, Lucia di Lammermoor and Faust in the United States; Norma in Canada; I Capuleti e I Montecchi and Roberto Devereux in Great Britain; La traviata in Greece, Meyerbeer’s Semiramide in Germany; I Lombardi in Argentina and La Favorite in Spain.
During 2010 Richard Bonynge’s 80th Birthday will be celebrated in Gala Concerts in London in June and Sydney in July. He currently lives in Switzerland and is still performing, recording and judging major competitions.