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Richard Farnes



English conductor Richard Farnes made his Royal Opera debut in 2002 conducting Simon Boccanegra and has since returned to conduct Il trovatore. In the 2019/20 Season he conducts Death in Venice and Don Carlo for The Royal Opera.

Farnes studied at King’s College, Cambridge, the National Opera Studio, the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He began his career working with Glyndebourne Festival, Scottish Opera and Opera Factory. He was Music Director of Opera North (2004–16), his many operas with the company including Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Giovanna d’Arco, Macbeth, La traviata, Don Carlos, Otello, Falstaff, Der fliegende Holländer, Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades, Manon, Werther, La bohème, La fanciulla del West, La rondine, Kát’a Kabanová, From the House of the Dead, The Secret Marriage, Peter Grimes, Albert Herring, Gloriana, The Turn of Screw, Death in Venice and the world premieres of Sawer’s Skin Deep and Holt’s The Nightingale’s to Blame. Further projects with the company include a highly praised series of concert performances of Der Ring des Nibelungen. Since leaving his position at Opera North his engagements have included La traviata (Glyndebourne Festival), Un ballo in maschera (Opera North), Falstaff (Metropolitan Opera, New York, Garsington Opera) and The Turn of the Screw (Garsington Opera).

Farnes’s concert engagements include with such orchestras as London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia. His recordings include Bluebeard’s Castle and Don Carlos for Chandos with Opera North. Awards include ‘Achievement in Opera’ at the 2014 UK Theatre Awards and a 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award.

News and features

Watch: How to play an operatic tyrant

6 February 2017
Watch: How to play an operatic tyrant

The cast and creative team of Verdi’s Il trovatore on what makes the opera's score and characters so impactful.