Words that could have been spoken only by a musical prodigy… as Richard Bonynge certainly was.
Photos courtesy of Maestro Bonynge
He started playing the piano at a very early age, astonishing his parents with his seemingly innate knowledge of music. When they realized their only child, then barely five years old, was something special, they decided to have him professionally trained. At age 12 he won a scholarship to the Conservatory where he studied with Lindley Evans, who was an accompanist for the famed Australian soprano Nellie Melba. By his early teens, he knew the basic orchestral repertory and at age 14 played Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Sydney Symphony.
When one day the opera class found itself without an accompanist, young Richard, whose knowledge of opera was at the time rather limited, was asked to come to the rescue. He did such a good job he was asked to become a regular accompanist. And such was the beginning of Richard Bonynge’s fascination with the art of singing and his love affair with opera – a world he would share for the rest of his life with the now legendary Joan Sutherland. It is an affair that burns with the same fervor to this very day.
LISTEN to MAESTRO RICHARD BONYNGE:
On the international careers of Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge
an excerpt from an interview conducted in 2010 by MOFFATT OXENBOULD, Artistic Director of Opera Australia from 1984 to 1999, on the eve of the Maestro’s 80th birthday shortly before the passing of Dame Joan Sutherland. Interspersed with the commentaries are excerpts from selected recordings relevant to the topic of discussion.