Richard Alan Bonynge
29 September 1930
Epping, New South Wales, Australia
|Occupation||Conductor and pianist|
|Spouse(s)||Dame Joan Sutherland (1954–2010, her death)|
Richard Alan Bonynge AC, CBE ( // BON-ing) (born 29 September 1930) is an Australian conductor and pianist. He is the widower of Australian dramatic coloratura soprano Dame Joan Sutherland. Bonynge conducted virtually all of Sutherland's operatic performances from 1962 until her retirement in 1990.
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers by the use of gesture." The primary duties of the conductor are to interpret the score in a way which reflects the specific indications in that score, set the tempo, ensure correct entries by ensemble members, and "shape" the phrasing where appropriate. Conductors communicate with their musicians primarily through hand gestures, usually with the aid of a baton, and may use other gestures or signals such as eye contact. A conductor usually supplements their direction with verbal instructions to their musicians in rehearsal.
The word coloratura is originally from Italian, literally meaning "coloring", and derives from the Latin word colorare. When used in English, the term specifically refers to elaborate melody, particularly in vocal music and especially in operatic singing of the 18th and 19th centuries, with runs, trills, wide leaps, or similar virtuoso-like material. Its instrumental equivalent is ornamentation. It is also now widely used to refer to passages of such music, operatic roles in which such music plays a prominent part, and singers of these roles.
A soprano[soˈpraːno] is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261 Hz to "high A" (A5) =880 Hz in choral music, or to "soprano C" (C6, two octaves above middle C) =1046 Hz or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody. The soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto, and dramatic soprano.
Bonynge was born in Epping, a suburb of Sydney, and educated at Sydney Boys' High School before studying piano at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and gaining a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, where his piano teacher was Herbert Fryer.He gave up his music scholarship, continuing his private piano studies, and became a coach for singers. One of these was Joan Sutherland, whom he had accompanied in Australia. They married in 1954 and became a duo, performing operatic recitals until 1962. When the scheduled conductor for a recital of operatic arias became ill and the replacement conductor was involved in a car accident, Bonynge stepped in and, from that time on, he conducted virtually all of his wife's performances.
Epping is a suburb of Sydney, in the Australian state of New South Wales, 18 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of the City of Parramatta. Epping is located in the Northern Suburbs and Greater Western regions of Sydney.
Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,131,326, and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.
The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings.
His debut as an opera conductor took place in 1963 in Vancouver, where he conducted Faust . The same year, also in Vancouver, he conducted Norma for the first time, starring Sutherland and Marilyn Horne.He also conducted the English Chamber Orchestra in many recordings.
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the most populous city in the province, the 2016 census recorded 631,486 people in the city, up from 603,502 in 2011. The Greater Vancouver area had a population of 2,463,431 in 2016, making it the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada. Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada with over 5,400 people per square kilometre, which makes it the fifth-most densely populated city with over 250,000 residents in North America behind New York City, Guadalajara, San Francisco, and Mexico City according to the 2011 census. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada according to that census; 52% of its residents have a first language other than English. Roughly 30% of the city's inhabitants are of Chinese heritage. Vancouver is classed as a Beta global city.
Faust is an opera in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Part One. It debuted at the Théâtre Lyrique on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris on 19 March 1859, with influential sets designed by Charles-Antoine Cambon and Joseph Thierry, Jean Émile Daran, Édouard Desplechin, and Philippe Chaperon.
Norma is a tragedia lirica or opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice Romani after the play Norma, ou L'infanticide by Alexandre Soumet. It was first produced at La Scala in Milan on 26 December 1831.
By doing some research and reading up on Massenet and Italian bel canto composers, Bonynge discovered Massenet's own statement about his opera Esclarmonde being his "best achievement." This filled Bonynge with curiosity, even more because Esclarmonde had sunk into almost total oblivion and had hardly been performed at all since the end of the 19th century. He obtained a tattered vocal score of it in Paris, and subsequently bought the full orchestral score from an auction in New York City. Although Sutherland was initially skeptical about Esclarmonde, Bonynge became an enthusiast of the work and eventually convinced her that she should perform the role of Esclarmonde herself. The San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera premieres of Esclarmonde took place in 1974 and 1976 respectively.
Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet was a French composer of the Romantic era best known for his operas, of which he wrote more than thirty. The two most frequently staged are Manon (1884) and Werther (1892). He also composed oratorios, ballets, orchestral works, incidental music, piano pieces, songs and other music.
Bel canto —with several similar constructions —is a term with several meanings that relate to Italian singing.
Esclarmonde is an opéra in four acts and eight tableaux, with prologue and epilogue, by Jules Massenet, to a French libretto by Alfred Blau and Louis Ferdinand de Gramont. It was first performed on 15 May 1889 by the Opéra-Comique at the Théâtre Lyrique on the Place du Châtelet in Paris.
In 1977 he was the founding Music Director of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra,when he conducted Le roi de Lahore staged there (in which his wife also took part).
Vancouver Opera is the second largest performing arts organization in British Columbia and the largest opera company in western Canada. Its mainstage performances occur in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, other venues in Vancouver and occasionally elsewhere in British Columbia. Vancouver Opera has one of only two professional opera orchestras in Canada. After many regular seasons with four mainstage productions a year, the company will see its first festival season in 2017. Vancouver Opera also runs a school touring and education program, and various community events.
Le roi de Lahore is an opera in five acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Louis Gallet. It was first performed at the Palais Garnier in Paris on 27 April 1877 in costumes designed by Eugène Lacoste and settings designed by Jean Émile Daran, Auguste Alfred Rubé and Philippe Chaperon, Louis Chéret, Jean-Baptiste Lavastre, Antoine Lavastre and Eugène Louis Carpezat.
Bonynge made his Metropolitan Opera debut on 12 December 1966, and his last performance there was on 6 April 1991. Most of those performances he conducted there between 1966 and 1987 were with Sutherland singing. From the 1960s until the early 1970s, his speciality was music of 18th and early 19th century, mostly in bel canto repertoire of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. Bonynge then gradually added also middle Verdi ( La traviata , Rigoletto , Il trovatore ), Offenbach ( Les Contes d'Hoffmann ), then also Massenet (Esclarmonde and Werther).
Gioachino Antonio Rossini was an Italian composer who gained fame for his 39 operas, although he also wrote many songs, some chamber music and piano pieces, and some works of sacred music. He set new standards for both comic and serious opera before retiring from large-scale composition while still in his thirties, at the height of his fame.
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer, who was known for his long-flowing melodic lines for which he was named "the Swan of Catania". Many years later, in 1898, Giuseppe Verdi "praised the broad curves of Bellini's melody: 'there are extremely long melodies as no-one else had ever made before'."
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century. Donizetti's close association with the bel canto style was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi.
Bonynge has recorded extensively in the ballet genre: Delibes's three ballets – La Source , Coppélia , Sylvia ; Riccardo Drigo's The Magic Flute and Le Réveil de Flore ; Jacques Offenbach's Le papillon ; Friedrich Burgmüller's La Péri; and Tchaikovsky's three ballets – Swan Lake , The Sleeping Beauty , The Nutcracker .One of Bonynge's most valuable contributions to ballet music is a 10 CD "Compendium of Ballet Rarities" which have been rarely recorded but are often performed by established ballet companies, such as several famous Pas de deux and ballets performed in operas.
Commencing in 2007, he has conducted a series of performances in a few opera houses around the U.S. (Florida Grand Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre), and now is mostly involved with the Opera Australia company ( Lucia di Lammermoor in August 2008, and in 2006 for Opera Queensland; I Capuleti e i Montecchi in Melbourne and Sydney in middle of 2009).
He lives in Les Avants, Switzerland and also maintains a home in Sydney.
His recordings also include some works with no operatic associations, such as the Harp Concerto in E-flat by Reinhold Glière, with harpist Osian Ellis.
Bonynge was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to music in 1977. In 1983, he was made Officer of the Order of Australia, and in 1989 a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres .In 2009, Bonynge was awarded the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award.
On 26 January 2012, Bonynge was promoted within the Order of Australia to Companion, for "eminent service to the performing arts as an acclaimed conductor and musical scholar, to classical singing and the promotion of opera, and through the collection and preservation of operatic manuscripts."
Opera Australia is the principal opera company in Australia. Based in Sydney, its performance season at the Sydney Opera House accompanied by the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra runs for approximately eight months of the year, with the remainder of its time spent in the Arts Centre Melbourne, where it is accompanied by Orchestra Victoria. In 2004, the company gave 226 performances in its subscription seasons in Sydney and Melbourne, attended by more than 294,000 people.
Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE was an Australian-born coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s through to the 1980s.
Marilyn Horne is an American mezzo-soprano opera singer. She specialized in roles requiring beauty of tone, excellent breath support, and the ability to execute difficult coloratura passages. She is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts (1992) and the Kennedy Center Honors (1995). She has won four Grammy Awards.
Louis Quilico, was a Canadian opera singer. One of the leading dramatic baritones of his day, he was an ideal interpreter of the great Italian and French composers, especially Giuseppe Verdi. He was often referred to as "Mr Rigoletto" in reference to the Verdi opera. During his 45-year-long career he shared performing credits with opera's greatest stars. He spent 25 consecutive years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. After his retirement from the stage in 1998 he continued to perform and record, most often with his second wife, pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, with whom he made four CDs. The couple also toured together extensively in concerts until Quilico's death in 2000 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Quilico received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts, in November 1999 for his lifetime contribution to classical music.
Simone Margaret Young AM is an Australian conductor. She was born in Sydney, of Irish ancestry on her father's side and Croatian ancestry on her mother's side. Young was educated at the Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College in North Sydney. She studied composition, piano and conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Alberto Remedios was a British operatic tenor, especially noted for his interpretations of Wagner's heldentenor roles.
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