A Metropolitan Opera company member since his debut in 1995, acclaimed bass Richard Bernstein has appeared with the MET in over 110 international live broadcasts to date, and on January 27, 2018 he will sing his milestone 400th performance with the company. He has also sung leading roles with companies around the country and around the world.
This coming season marks his 23nd consecutive with the MET, as he sings in Die Zauberflöte –both the full-length opera in German and a family-friendly abridged version in English – Tosca, and Parsifal, while also covering roles Le nozze di Figaro, Elektra, Roméo et Juliette, and the American premiere of Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel (new production).
In addition, 2017-18 sees him sing Angelotti in Tosca with The Philadelphia Orchestra, perform the bass soloist part in Beethoven’s magisterial Ninth Symphony with the New Jersey Choral Society, and return to one of his touchstone roles: Leporello in Don Giovanni, at Chautauqua Opera.
Mr. Bernstein’s versatility is displayed in the diverse mix of repertoire he has performed and covered over the years with the MET, running the gamut from classic operas to contemporary works, in languages as varied as Czech, French, German, Italian, Sanskrit, Russian, and English. These include roles in Faust, Satyagraha, Das Rheingold, Siegfried, La bohème, Simon Boccanegra, Die Zauberflöte, Tosca, Hamlet, From the House of the Dead, Armida, Ariadne auf Naxos, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Ernani, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, War and Peace, Macbeth, A View From the Bridge, and Wozzeck.
Mr. Bernstein has also performed leading roles around the country and abroad. In particular, he has performed his signature roles of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) and Leporello (Don Giovanni) worldwide. In the 2014-15 season, Mr. Bernstein debuted the role of Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin at the Chautauqua Festival in July and August. The 2012-13 season saw him garner warm praise for his first leading Wagnerian role: Daland in Der fliegende Holländer at the Princeton Festival. That year also included successful debuts as Tiresias in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex (Cincinnati May Festival) and Herod in Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ (at Carnegie Hall). In 2011-12, he returned to LA Opera – the company of his operatic debut – to sing Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring under Maestro James Conlon’s baton. He made his July 2010 debut with Opera Fairbanks as Leporello, followed by a turn as Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro at the Ravinia Festival.
Other notable roles include Mephistopheles in Faust, Colline (La bohème), Sancho Panza in Don Quichotte, Mustafà (L’italiana in Algeri), Olin Blitch in Susannah, Frank Maurrant (Street Scene), Orest in Elektra, Alidoro (La Cenerentola), and Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor) for companies such as Seattle Opera, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Pacific, the Klangbogen Festival in Vienna, Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, and the Savonlinna Festival in Finland.
Mr. Bernstein’s repertoire boasts a number of contemporary American works. He created roles in two world premieres by composer Tobias Picker: Orville Mason in An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera, and Laurent in Thérèse Raquin at Dallas Opera. In addition, he sang the role of Marco in William Bolcom’s A View From the Bridge at both its Metropolitan Opera premiere in 2002-03 and at Washington Opera in 2007-08.
On DVD, Mr. Bernstein appears in the MET productions of La fanciulla del West (Deutsche Grammaphon), Simon Boccanegra and Salome (Sony), and Manon Lescaut (EMI); he also sings Zaretski in Decca’s Grammy-nominated release of Eugene Onegin (Best Opera Recording, 2009). He can be heard as Laurent on the CD of Tobias Picker’s Thérèse Raquin (Chandos Records).
Additionally, Mr. Bernstein has collaborated with a host of major American symphony orchestras ranging from the New York Philharmonic to the Chicago Symphony to the Philadelphia Orchestra, and has been a guest at many prestigious festivals, including the Lincoln Center, Spoleto, Ravinia, and Tanglewood Music Festivals. Mr. Bernstein also regularly judges regional and district auditions for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and enjoys teaching private voice students in New York and New Jersey and giving Master classes while touring.
He has had the privilege of working with some of the most important conductors of the day, including: James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, James Conlon, Christoph Eschenbach, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Andrew Davis, Donald Runnicles, Patrick Summers, and Fabio Luisi.
Born and raised in New York, Mr. Bernstein is a graduate of the University of Southern California. Upon graduation, he was invited to join the LA Opera’s Resident Artist program in its inaugural season and remained an L.A. company member for over ten years.