Richard Bonynge

Last updated

Richard Bonynge
Richard Bonynge and Pretty Yende.jpeg
Tenor Colin Lee, soprano Pretty Yende, Bonynge, mezzo-soprano Violina Anguelov and baritone George Stevens at a concert performance of Lucia di Lammermoor in Cape Town in April 2013
Born
Richard Alan Bonynge

(1930-09-29) 29 September 1930 (age 90)
Occupation Conductor, pianist
Years active1962–present [1]
Spouse(s)Dame Joan Sutherland (1954–2010, her death)

Richard Alan Bonynge AC , CBE [2] ( /ˈbɒnɪŋ/ 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.

Contents

Biography

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. [3] [4] 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, [5] Bonynge stepped in and, from that time on, he conducted virtually all of his wife's performances.

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. [6] He also conducted the English Chamber Orchestra in many recordings. [7]

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. [8]

In 1977 he was the founding music director of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, [9] when he conducted Le roi de Lahore staged there (in which his wife also took part). [10]

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 [11] ).

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 . [12] 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.

His recordings also include some works with no operatic or balletic associations, such as the Harp Concerto in E-flat by Reinhold Glière, with harpist Osian Ellis.

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). [13] [14]

He lives in Les Avants, Switzerland and also maintains a home in Sydney. [1] [15]

Videography

Honours

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 . [3] In 2009, Bonynge was awarded the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award. [16]

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." [1] [2]

Related Research Articles

Opera Australia Principal opera company in Australia

Opera Australia is the principal opera company in Australia. Based in Sydney, its performance season at the Sydney Opera House accompanied by the Opera Australia 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.

Joan Sutherland Australian soprano

Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, was an Australian dramatic coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s through to the 1980s.

Marilyn Horne American operatic mezzo-soprano

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, the Kennedy Center Honors, and has won four Grammy Awards.

Louis Quilico Canadian opera singer (1925–2000)

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. 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.

<i>Esclarmonde</i>

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.

Alberto Remedios was a British operatic tenor, especially noted for his interpretations of Wagner's heldentenor roles.

Margreta Elkins

Margreta Elkins AM was an Australian mezzo-soprano. She sang at The Royal Opera and with Opera Australia and other companies, but turned down offers to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, Bayreuth and Glyndebourne. She recorded alongside sopranos such as Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland.

Spiro Samuel Malas was a Greek-American bass-baritone opera singer and actor.

Michael Robert Garth Lampard is an Australian opera singer, conductor and composer born in Hobart, Tasmania.

Orchestra Victoria is a full-time salaried orchestra based in Melbourne, Australia, and wholly owned subsidiary of The Australian Ballet. Founded in 1969, the orchestra is now a principal performance partner for The Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, and larger productions of Victorian Opera.

Huguette Tourangeau Canadian mezzo-soprano.

Huguette Tourangeau, was a French-Canadian operatic mezzo-soprano, particularly associated with the French and Italian repertories.

Pierre Duval (singer)

Pierre Duval was a French-Canadian operatic tenor who had an active international career during the 1960s and 1970s. Possessing a warm lyrical voice with a considerable amount of flexibility and stamina, Duval sang mostly roles from the standard French and Italian repertories. He particularly excelled in bel canto works, notably singing opposite such lauded bel canto interpreters as Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills, and Montserrat Caballé during his career.

Isobel Buchanan is a Scottish operatic soprano.

Bernadette Eileen Cullen is an Australian dramatic mezzo-soprano who has performed in Australia, Europe and Asia.

Richard Conrad was an American singer, voice teacher, and impresario whose voice at times inhabited both the tenor and baritone ranges. He sang in opera, cabaret and musicals. He is perhaps best known for his 1963 recorded collaboration with Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne, conducted by Richard Bonynge, known as The Age of Bel Canto.

James Olds (bass) Australian bass (born 1986)

James Andrew Olds is an Australian bass. He holds a Masters of Music in Performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and currently performs with Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House.

Philip Booth is an American operatic bass who is chiefly associated with the basso profundo repertoire. Now retired from performance, he was particularly active with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City where he gave more than 400 performances from 1975–1995.

Paul Terracini is an Australian composer, conductor, and educator.

John Longmuir (tenor)

John Longmuir is a Scottish-born Australian tenor. Known primarily for operatic roles he is also in demand on the concert platform and has appeared as a judge on channel seven's music competition show 'All Together Now'. Noted for his "generous voice, bright ringing vocal quality and legato phrasing" His operatic studies took place at the Australian Opera Studio. In 2019 John received his first Helpmann Award nomination, for his role as the Captain in Berg's Wozzeck, for Opera Australia.

Alasdair Kent Musical artist

Alasdair Kent is a British-Australian operatic tenor, principally known for his interpretations of the Italian bel canto of Rossini and Bellini, and Mozart. In 2016, Richard Bonynge presented him with the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation Bel Canto Award. After his European debut with the Rossini Opera Festival in 2017, his international career has seen debut performances around Europe and the United States, usually in the roles of Rossini.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Burke, Kelly (26 January 2012). "Companion piece for Bonynge completes rare double". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  2. 1 2 "Bonynge, Richard Alan". It's an Honour, Commonwealth of Australia. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  3. 1 2 "Richard Bonynge AC CBE". Melba Recordings. 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  4. "Richard Bonynge: The artist as a young man". FainFaire. 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  5. "Richard Bonynge: Maestro of bel canto". FainFaire. 2010. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  6. Vancouver Opera – History: mainstage productions
  7. "English Chamber Orchestra: Conductor: Richard Bonynge". Arkiv Music.com. 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  8. Sutherland, Joan (2 November 2006). "Interview with Dame Joan Sutherland" (telephone, web transcript). Interviewed by Purdy, Christopher. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  9. Until that moment Vancouver Opera company used Vancouver Symphony Orchestra musicians to play in the pit
  10. Vancouver Opera – History: VOO and Chorus
  11. "Database search: Bonynge". The Metropolitan Opera Archives. 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  12. "Richard Bonynge, conductor: Biography". Colbert Artists. June 2011. Archived from the original on 16 January 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  13. "Our artists: Conductors". Opera Australia. 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  14. "Richard Bonynge, Conductor: Schedule". Operabase. 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  15. Kelly, Patricia (December 2005). "Bonynge looking to his Irish roots". Opera~Opera. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  16. "Maestro Richard Bonynge chosen for 2009 Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award" (Press release). University of Melbourne. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 21 March 2015.