Richard Bonynge

Biography

Born: September 29, 1930  
Conductor Richard Bonynge began his studies at the New South Wales Conservatorium in Sydney as a piano student of Lindley Evans, a former accompanist of renowned Australian soprano Nellie Melba. At 14, Bonynge performed the Grieg piano concerto, an impressive beginning to an even more magical career. He later continued his studies at the Royal College of Music with pianist Herbert Fryer, in London. This institution frowned upon his desire to add Read more conducting to his course load as, effectively, a second major area of study. Consequently, Bonynge forfeited his scholarship and continued his education privately. Also, having developed a serious interest in vocal technique, Bonynge began serving as accompanist to soprano Joan Sutherland. This relationship led to the couple's marriage in 1954, perhaps the most remarkable such professional union to date. It was at this point that the young musician transferred his attention to research of the bel canto operatic repertoire.

His debut on the podium in 1962 was uniquely sudden: the conductor of the Saint Cecilia Orchestra in Rome canceled due to illness and his replacement was struck by an automobile, leaving only Bonynge to take the podium. He began, still without formal training, to conduct Sutherland's performances, beginning with Gounod's Faust in Vancouver and Bellini's La Sonnambula in San Francisco, both in 1963. After his Covent Garden debut in 1964 with a performance of Bellini's I Puritani, Bonynge and his wife returned to Australia the next year. There he assumed the position of music director of the Sutherland-Williamson International Grand Opera Company.

In 1966, Bonynge had his Metropolitan Opera debut with Sutherland performing the title role in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. As his reputation and career blossomed, the conductor enjoyed continued success when he was named artistic director of the Vancouver Opera, a position he held from 1974-1978. Concurrently, Bonynge acted as music director of the Australian Opera from 1975-1986. In 1977, he was awarded the Commander of the British Empire. In 1983 he was given the same honor in his native Australia, and in 1989 the French government gave him the rank of Commandeur de l'Ordre National de Mérite.

Bonynge championed a revival of the vocal ornamentation that had been customary during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This period was dear to Bonynge, who has carefully studied the operas of Bellini as well as French opera of the period, and has composed cadenzas used by many singers (including Sutherland). One of the world's premiere opera conductors, Bonynge has directed the masterpieces of the genre at the leading opera houses worldwide. His list of recorded operas is no less impressive and includes many works (including a number of nineteenth century ballet scores) previously not familiar to opera connoisseurs, such as those by Delibes, Graun, and Massenet. Most of these recordings feature Sutherland.

At Joan Sutherland's last performances, Bonynge conducted in front of audiences in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. After she had left the stage for the last time, Bonynge continued his acclaimed career without pause. He remains one of opera's most important figures and is an important supporter of Australian singers and of the young artists' program at the Australian Opera, established during his tenure as music director. Richard Bonynge, with unquestionable devotion, gives his full attention to the world of opera. Bonynge has said, "I did not choose music, music chose me." One might observe, then, that opera chose a tireless and devoted champion. Read less

Browse 1-17 of 17 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    The Early Recordings Of Joan Sutherland
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 100815 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  April Cantelo,  Raymond Nilsson,  Dennis Brain  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Fulvio Vernizzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Goldsborough Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    The Early Recordings Of Joan Sutherland
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 815 Release Date: 06/10/2014  
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  April Cantelo,  Raymond Nilsson,  Dennis Brain  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Fulvio Vernizzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Goldsborough Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    William Vincent Wallace: Chopinesque / Rosemary Tuck
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572776 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Vincent Wallace
    Performer:  Rosemary Tuck,  Richard Bonynge
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tait Chamber Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Massenet Edition [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001693202 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Régine Crespin,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Michèle Command,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Kazimierz Kord,  Richard Bonynge,  Julius Rudel,  Enrique Diemecke  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $107.49
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  • 5.
    William Wallace: Celtic Fantasies  / Rosemary Tuck
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572775 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Vincent Wallace
    Performer:  Rosemary Tuck,  Richard Bonynge
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  • 6.
    Balfe: Songs And Ballads Rediscovered
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 7359 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Balfe
    Performer:  Sally Silver,  Richard Bonynge
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  • 7.
    Dame Joan Sutherland - Complete Decca Studio Recitals  [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619502 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Nadine Sautereau,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Richard Conrad,  Ambrose Gauntlett  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $99.98
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  • 8.
    Wallace: Opera Fantasies And Paraphrases / Rosemary Tuck
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572774 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Vincent Wallace
    Performer:  Rosemary Tuck,  Richard Bonynge
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  • 9.
    Romantic Trios - Sutherland, Tuckwell, Bonynge
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421552 Release Date: 11/10/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luigi Denza,  Auguste Panseron,  Conradin Kreutzer,  Otto Nicolai  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Bonynge,  Barry Tuckwell,  Dame Joan Sutherland
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  • 10.
    Romantic Trios / Sutherland, Tuckwell, Bonynge
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4429098 Release Date: 02/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luigi Denza,  Auguste Panseron,  Conradin Kreutzer,  Otto Nicolai  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Bonynge,  Barry Tuckwell,  Dame Joan Sutherland
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  • 11.
    Canzoni Italiane - Italian Songs / Tebaldi, Bonynge
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436202 Release Date: 09/17/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Pietro Cimara,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Bonynge,  Renata Tebaldi
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  • 12.
    Gliere: Coloratura Concerto, Harp Concerto, Etc / Sutherland
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 430006 Release Date: 04/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Reinhold Gliere,  Alexander Grechaninov,  Igor Stravinsky,  César Cui  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Osian Ellis,  Richard Bonynge,  Josef Sivo
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Horst Stein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Serate Musicali - Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonynge
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000765402 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Domenico Cimarosa  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Richard Bonynge
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  • 14.
    The Golden Age Of Covent Garden / Sutherland, Vickers, Et Al
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 222 Release Date: 11/23/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Louis Spohr,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Bonynge,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  James Pease,  Jon Vickers  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
    CD: $21.99
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  • 15.
    Close Encounters With Great Singers - Joan Sutherland
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1232 Release Date: 05/11/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Léo Delibes,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Huguette Tourangeau,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Richard Bonynge
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  John Pritchard,  Nello Santi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  National Orchestra Monte Carlo  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 16.
    Sutherland - The Art Of Joan Sutherland
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4254 Release Date: 02/03/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Charles Gounod,  Gioachino Rossini,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Richard Bonynge
    On sale! $39.95
    DVD: $37.99
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  • 17.
    Joan Sutherland - Home Sweet Home
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 425048 Release Date: 02/16/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Vincent Wallace,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Henry Bishop,  Michael Balfe  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Tina Bonifacio,  Alexander Murray,  Richard Bonynge
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Light Opera Chorus,  New Philharmonic Orchestra
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