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Leading artists salute conductor Richard Bonynge at 90

September 29, 2020

by Rosemary Tuck

As conductor Richard Bonynge turns 90, singers and dancers pay tribute in a Tait Tuesdays at Home concert.

Gala Concert Poster

When Richard Bonynge gave me a list of artists whose voices he would like to hear in his 90th birthday concert, recorded in the Exhibition Hall at London’s Australia House, I hadn’t expected every one of them to jump on board so keenly. But jump they did! The result is both spectacular and overwhelming.

The great soprano Yvonne Kenny dusted off her vocal chords to come out of retirement and pay tribute; bel canto soprano Helena Dix, still recovering from her bout with Covid, performed a heart-rending Casta Diva from Norma, one of Dame Joan Sutherland’s greatest roles; and coloratura soprano Emma Matthews, all the way from Perth, sent her exquisite O quante volte by Bellini, a role she had worked on with the great man himself.

Two superb young singers from New Zealand, baritone Benson Wilson and tenor Filipe Manu, delivered a stunning duet from The Pearl Fishers, and soprano Valda Wilson, from Munich, contributed with a very lively Meine Lippen, die küssen so heiß from Lehár’s operetta Giuditta. Catherine Carby (mezzo-soprano) and Waynne Kwon (cello) featured in Massenet’s glorious Élégie, while my own contribution was Liszt’s beautiful Gondoliera for solo piano—a musical postcard from Venice, Richard’s favourite city.

Additionally, there were two fabulous spots from the world of ballet. Stars from the Royal Opera House presented the Wedding Pas de Deux from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, while Calvin Richardson appeared in his own magical choreography for Saint-Saёns’ emotive Dying Swan.

In a Proms-like interval interview, broadcaster David Mellor, singer Yvonne Kenny and producer John Copley passionately underlined Richard’s considerable contribution to the world of music, with the whole event offering a rare and candid glimpse into Richard’s varied and unique roles, both in front of and behind the scenes.

All the money received from ticket sales for the concert and from the sales of a beautiful new book, Chalet Monet, will go towards a good cause; and each ticket purchased will allow a full six months’ viewing of the concert after its exciting premiere on 29 September. All proceeds will go to the Tait Memorial Trust, who are both presenting the event and creating an important new scholarship in the Maestro’s name which will help support young musicians of notable talent.

Tickets can be bought online here any time over the next six months.

The concert will be broadcast at the following times:

Tait Tuesdays at Home 
Tuesday 29 September – 9pm AEST | 8pm NZST | 7pm BST | 8pm USA EDT | 8pm USA PDT

Yvonne Kenny (soprano), Filipe Manu (tenor), Benson Wilson (baritone), Rosemary Tuck (piano), Catherine Carby (mezzo-soprano), Waynne Kwon (cello) and dancers Fumi Kaneko and Reece Clarke, first soloists of the Royal Ballet, perform in Richard Bonynge’s 90th birthday tribute concert

View Richard Bonynge Biography & Discography


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