Richard LewisLeft - Richard Lewis

Opera Queensland’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Chris Mangin, welcomes Australian-born Richard Lewis as the company’s newly appointed Chorus Master. Richard joined the company this week and is already in rehearsals with the Opera Queensland Chorus preparing for the upcoming production of Nabucco.

“It is a great delight to welcome Richard to Opera Queensland. I am certain that our Chorus, which is regarded as one of the best in Australia, will continue to grow under his leadership, following in the tradition of his predecessors, James Christiansen and the late John Dingle,” Chris said.

Richard brings with him considerable experience as a chorus master and conductor, having worked extensively in Scotland and Europe for over 10 years, the last five of which have been with Edinburgh Grand Opera. He is delighted to be able to work in Australia, particularly in Brisbane, where he spent part of his early youth.

“I’m very excited to be back in Australia and to have this opportunity to work with such a highly regarded ensemble. Continuing the work of my predecessors and maintaining this Chorus’ high standard of performance is an exciting challenge, and I’m looking forward to commencing with one of Verdi’s greatest chorus operas,” Richard said.

Richard will divide his time between Australia and Scotland, working in Brisbane for Opera Queensland’s season from May to October, and then returning to Scotland and Europe for the remainder of the year.

Born in Sydney, Richard divided his schooling between Australia and Scotland. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and in 1998 received his Master of Music from The University of Edinburgh. His experience as a chorus master goes back to his university days when he first took over the Chamber Choir at The University of Edinburgh during his post-graduate year. He was a repetiteur and conductor at the National Opera Studio in London and the Nationaltheater Mannheim (in Germany), where he worked on some 18 productions. He has been the assistant to internationally renowned conductor Adam Fischer and has worked with both the Dutch Opera Chorus and the Danish Radio Chorus and Sinfonietta on numerous productions.

Richard has conducted productions of Turandot, La clemenza di Tito, Aida, Nabucco and the Scottish première of The Saint of Bleecker Street (for Edinburgh Grand Opera) and Carmen (for Opera on a Shoestring in Glasgow). Other engagements include assistant conductor on Lucio Silla (for Dutch Opera), Così fan tutte (at the 2006 Saltzburg Festival) and La clemenza di tito (with the Danish Radio Sinfonietta), assistant musical director on Eugene Onegin (for Scottish Opera) and assistant conductor and chorus master on Der Ring des Nibelungen (with the Budapest Radio Orchestra).

He was also assistant conductor and played harpsichord on recordings of Lucio Silla, Mitridate, Idomeneo and Il re pastore, all with the Danish Radio Sinfonietta under the baton of Adam Fischer. He is also the creator of Opera Galactica, a comic spoof of the Star Wars trilogy, which he originally wrote as an education piece for Opera on a Shoestring. It was subsequently picked up by Universal Arts and became a big hit at the 2001 Edinburgh Festival. The production has toured extensively for the last six years.

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