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Richard Armstrong

Richard Armstrong was born in Leicester and was an organ scholar at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge before joining the music staff of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 1966 where he worked with Georg Solti on the Ring, with Carlo Maria Giulini on La Traviata and with Otto Klemperer on Fidelio. He moved from the Royal Opera House to Welsh National Opera, where he was Music Director from 1973 to 1986, with whom he launched a pioneering series of Janácek productions and conducted a Ring cycle which was presented at Covent Garden. Returning as a guest conductor he has conducted From the House of the Dead, the world premiere of Peter Maxwell-Davies’ The Doctor of Myddfai, and Falstaff . In 1982 Richard Armstrong made his debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Billy Budd, and has returned since then for Andrea Chenier, Un ballo in maschera, and Don Carlos. At English National Opera he has conducted Salome, Aida, Wozzeck and the UK premiere of Schnittke’s Life with an Idiot.
From 1993 to 2005 Richard Armstrong was Music Director of Scottish Opera, for whom he has conducted many productions including I due foscari, Katya Kabanova, Salome, Fidelio, Mary Stuart, La traviata, Il trovatore, Turandot, From the House of the Dead, La Bohème, Hansel and Gretel, Peter Grimes, and highly acclaimed performances of Tristan und Isolde, Der Rosenkavalier and Parsifal. Between 1993 and 2004 Scottish Opera appeared annually at the Edinburgh International Festival, culminating in a complete Ring.

Overseas operatic engagements include Frankfurt, where he was, for two seasons, Principal Guest Conductor, Geneva, Théâtre de Champs Elysée in Paris, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Amsterdam, Rome, Lisbon, Brussels, Nice, Canada, Australia, Stuttgart, Berlin, Toulouse, where he conducted Werther with Roberto Alagna, Eugene Onegin for the Canadian Opera Company, and Los Angeles where he conducted Peter Grimes, Tristan und Isolde and Tosca. His discography includes recordings with Elisabeth Södeström, Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu, Deborah Voigt and Thomas Hampson.
In 1993 Richard Armstrong was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for Services to Music, and was knighted in the 2004 New Year’s honours. In 1996 he became an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and in 1997 he received a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for his commitment to Scottish Opera.

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