Critical Acclaim

Daland, Der Fliegende Holländer (Princeton Festival)

"The smaller roles were well cast, with the bass Richard Bernstein a firm-voiced Daland." (Click here for full review.)
— Zachary Wolfe, nytimes.com, 6/27/2013

"What successfully overrode all that was the solid vocal preparation and heartfelt projection of character and meaning - yes, via the words. Richard Bernstein found unexpected humor (while singing well) in the character of Daland, the middle-class counterpoint to the life-and-death conflict unfolding under his clueless nose, as the doomed ship's captain contends with Erik, the faithful swain of Daland's daughter, Senta." (Click here for full review.)
— David Patrick Stearns, philly.com, 6/25/2013

"Both principal male characters were sung by Met regulars; baritone Mark Delavan and bass Richard Bernstein took charge of their roles and the tension between their characters with clear vocal and dramatic strength clearly gained from years on opera’s major stages. Much of this opera revolves around the sea, and as the Norwegian sea captain Daland, Mr. Bernstein vocally rolled with the undulating orchestral accompaniment and visual effects of the tossing waves" (Click here for full review.)
— Nancy Plum, towntopics.com, 6/26/2013

"Norwegian sea captain Daland, (firm-voiced bass-baritone Richard Bernstein) offers the Dutchman his daughter as a spouse. Well-balanced duets contribute to the musical pleasures of the show. The Dutchman and Daland in Act One, with their varying voice ranges, emphasize the complex masculinity of the opera." (Click here for full review.)
— Elaine Strauss, princetoninfo.com, 6/26/2013

"Richard Bernstein as Daland, the father, wisely ignored Wagner’s wish that this role downplay the obvious potential for humor in a broadly written character who happily arranges his daughter’s marriage to a perfect stranger - and one of highly dubious antecedents at that - in return for a chest of treasure. Mr. Bernstein, whose singing was among the best in the production, also brought a welcome note of comic relief to an otherwise doom-filled scenario. " (Click here for full review.)
— Tobias Grace, outinjersey.net

Tiresias, Oedipus Rex (Cincinnati May Festival)

"Vocally impressive, as well, [was] Richard Bernstein as Tiresias" (Click here for full review.)
— Janelle Gelfand, cincinnati.com, 5/18/2013

Superintendent Budd, Albert Herring (Los Angeles Opera)

"Always an LA Opera favorite, Richard Bernstein's basso, as the Superintendent of Police, adds heft to the pomposity of any occasion" (Click here for full review.)
— Karen Weinstein, culturevulture.net, 3/18/2012

It was good to see Richard Bernstein (Police Superintendent Budd) back on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion’s stage and, as usual, there was another fine performance from this virtuoso bass. (Click here for full review.)
— Jean Strauber, The Van Nuys News Press, 3/5/2012

"A number of the singers are, in fact, quite fine. Bass Richard Bernstein, in the role of a local police officer, is a particular stand-out.
— Jonathan Leaf, Edge, 2/28/2012

"… and a hilariously booming Richard Bernstein (Police Superintendent Budd) lay it on thick but provide splendid ensemble singing."
— Mark Swed, LA Times, 2/26/2012

"… and Richard Bernstein as a terrifically bluff and deep-voiced constable. Altogether wonderful ensemble singing."
— Donna Perlmutter, Blogdowntown, 2/28/2012

"All cast members are exceptional including … policeman (Richard Bernstein's Superintendent Budd." (Click here for full review.)
— Christie Grimstad, ConcertoNet, 2/25/2012

Raimondo, Lucia di Lammermoor

"Richard Bernstein is appropriately stiff, he's a Scottish Presbyterian chaplain after all, and one who is torn between his duties as spiritual guide and family retainer. His delivery of the stirring melody of his aria, "Al ben de'tuoi qual vittima" was as strong as any I've heard (and I've heard Ramey, Plishka, Raimondi and countless others."
TOPIX Starry Vere July 2, 2009

"one of America’s most versatile and gifted bass-baritones, Richard Bernstein… As the black-clad – and black-hearted – confessor Raimondo, he – Bible in hand – makes the corruption of the church palpable. And he does this with a composed reserve that moves the figure beyond caricature."
— Wes Blomster Daily Camera 6/29/09

"Bass-baritone Richard Bernstein…as the misguided chaplain, Raimondo…possesses an appealing bass-baritone voice with a big, resonant lower register that fits this role well."
— Kyle MacMillan Denver Post 6/29/09

Orville Mason, An American Tragedy

"Richard Bernstein, as the D.A., showed off a dark, commanding bass-baritone."
— Alex Ross, The New Yorker 12/26/05

"The bass-baritone Richard Bernstein proves a stentorian district attorney at Clyde's murder trial."
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times 12/3/05

"The bass-baritone Richard Bernstein was solid as the District Attorney."
— Jay Nordlinger, The New York Sun 12/5/05

"The prosecutor Orville Mason was sung with wicked detail by bass-baritone Richard Bernstein, a fine singer."
— Willa J. Conrad, Newark Star-Ledger 12/5/05

"Richard Bernstein brings avid conviction to a dog-with-bone prosecutor, Orville Mason."
— Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times 12/5/05

"Richard Bernstein as the prosecuting attorney was riveting."
— John Rahbeck, Opera-L 12/3/05

Méphistophélès, Faust

"Richard Bernstein's rich bass-baritone had devilish seductiveness (appropriate for Méphistophélès). His character also functions to hold the plot together, and Bernstein made it look easy."
— David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer 10/12/04

Leporello,Don Giovanni

(The following seven reviews are of Mr. Bernstein's debut and success in France, at the Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse in January and February 2005.)

"The great ovation went to the Leporello of the American Bass-baritone Richard Bernstein. His sense of comedy is definitely superb."
— Christian Merlin, Le Figaro 01/31/05

"The style and energy of Leporello are very much present in Richard Bernstein's interpretation of the character; he is excellent onstage."
— Marie-Aude Roux, Le Monde 2/10/05

"While at his side, Richard Bernstein as Leporello, as lively and crafty as one could wish, steals the girl from him and tears around the stage. The voice is powerful and sweeping, with the conviction and insolence that is sometimes missing in his master, but the actor possesses a natural stage presence. The obvious pleasure he takes in acting is the same as the irresistible attraction that Leporello feels in following his master's bad behavior. The other side of the coin, this sparkling and charismatic Leporello, as dapper and seductive as the devil, only makes his master seem more colorless."
— Laurent Marty, ResMusica.com 2/1/05

"And with Richard Bernstein's Leporello, this Don Giovanni is flanked by an expert valet. A reflection of his cowardly master, and his equal in substance, this Leporello shows us a subtle singer, sparkling with finesse and talent. His catalogue aria is sung with a superb mixture of cunning and distinction."
— Laurent de Caones, L'Opinion Independente 2/18/05

"Leporello, his companion, is no longer his double or his conscience, but rather his jester. The American Richard Bernstein, who sang with a sonorous tone and a never-ending comic verve, makes the role a daunting quasi-hero."
— Caroline Alexander, Opéra/Classique 2/9/05

"A true double of Don Giovanni, Richard Bernstein is a Leporello in the world-class traditions of comedy and drama."
— Gérard Mannoni, altamusica.com 1/28/05

"Richard Bernstein is an excellent Leporello with clear diction. He establishes his character dramatically as well as vocally by separating himself clearly from the ensembles in which he takes part."
— Alain Zürcher, L'Atelier du Chanteur 1/30/05

Past Leporello reviews from around the world:

"The dynamic, robust-voiced bass-baritone Richard Bernstein brought more danger and volatility to the role of Leporello, the Don's hapless servant."
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times 12/30/02

"Perhaps it was Richard Bernstein's star turn as Leporello. Indeed, Bernstein's big bass-baritone filled the hall and his acting was full of big gestures."
— Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com 1/03

"Don Giovanni is a celebration of male voices, especially Gino Quilico and Richard Bernstein, Don Giovanni and Leporello, who are not just excellent actors but also incredible singers. Leporello, as a part, is very sympathetic and when you have someone like Richard Bernstein doing it, Leporello becomes the audience's favorite. With his strong, effortless bass[-baritone] he can also be extremely entertaining. The man is a born comedian and is responsible for the funniest scene in the opera. He, dressed as Don Giovanni, is trying to imitate his master and seduce Donna Elvira. This is a very delicious moment. It's a great pleasure to hear these two men sing."
— Riitta-Leena Lempinen, Itä-savo 8/1/01

"Gino Quilico and Richard Bernstein have created a good team. Bernstein is humorous and does a wonderful job. His bass-baritone has the power that is needed here."
— Jussi Mattila, Savon Sanomat 8/1/01

"The best thing in this Los Angeles production of Don Giovanni is without question the male leads, Gino Quilico as Don Giovanni and Richard Bernstein as Leporello. They are both extremely talented and are the dramatic spine of the whole opera."
— Hannu-Ilari Lampila, Helsingin Sanomat 8/1/01

"Richard Bernstein’s well-gauged Leporello gave the watcher many facets of a complex being; he sang splendidly and got all his laughs without pushing."
— Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times 4/16/99

"Richard Bernstein takes every opportunity to make Leporello the comic star of the piece and sings with a clear, delightful tone."
— John Farrell, Pasadena Star-News 4/16/99

Leporello and Masetto,Don Giovanni
Concert performance, Bellingham Festival of Music, Bellingham, WA

"The concert's tale has heroes… Richard Bernstein, a Metropolitan Opera star and world-class Mozartian, was set to sing the role of the Don's servant, Leporello, just three days after the death of his father. Then, hours before the performance, bass Brian Box became too ill to sing the major role of Masetto. No problem. Bernstein simply sang both roles. Without a score. He even acted both parts out, keeping track of each character's distinct voice, physique and walk. All without missing a beat. As a spur-of-the-moment tour-de-force, his feat surpasses anything I've ever seen… The large audience responded with a riotous ovation."
— Jack Frymire, The Bellingham Herald 8/17/04

Olin Blitch, Susannah

"In many ways though, the seedy evangelist preacher Olin Blitch is the most compelling figure in the opera. For example, Friday night, bass-baritone Richard Bernstein sang Blitch sonorously and acted with conviction. His performance was vocally powerful and made the most of the character's extravagant emotional outbursts."
— Robert Finn, The Chautauquan Daily 7/26/04

"Richard Bernstein made much of the role of the Rev. Olin Blitch, the traveling evangelist who demands Susannah's repentance for what she hasn't done. His rich, seemingly bottomless bass was every bit as dark as it should be."
— Robert W. Pyler, The Post-Journal (Jamestown, NY) 7/22/04

Mustafà, L'Italiana in Algeri

"The Italian Girl?" That, according to the program, was the work on stage at the Central City Opera on Saturday. What the audience that packed the venerable mountain theater saw, however, was "The Algerian Hunk," bass-baritone Richard Bernstein as Rossini's Mustafà, Bey of Algiers, in a performance that made this the greatest opening night of recent decades at the CCO. Bernstein's portrayal of the vain and dim-witted Bey was the major factor in a production that explains why the CCO is rapidly moving into the front line of the country's summer opera companies. The front-runner among today's young American bass-baritones, Bernstein sang the Bey, Rossini's greatest comic role, as if it had been tailored to his knock-out combination of gifts as singer and actor.
— Wes Blomster, Boulder Daily Camera 6/30/03

Bernstein, a regular performer at New York's prestigious Metropolitan Opera, soared vocally and mugged uproariously in this role as Mustafà, the Bey of Algiers. His powerful and expressive voice and consummate acting skills made him the unintended center of the action in this production.
— Brad Weismann, Colorado Daily 7/1/03

Richard Bernstein, bass-baritone, made a zestful account in the role of Mustafà, the lecherous Bey of Algiers. As with Rossini's fondness for the mezzo range voice, so does Rossini have a fondness for basso cantante, and Bernstein splendidly demonstrated that quality. That, with his zany leers and uninhibited account of the comic role, gave a real boost to the evening.
— Glenn Griffin, Denver Post 7/2/03

Leading the trio is Richard Bernstein's gregarious Mustafà, sung with power and acted with unbridled energy.
— Marc Shulgold, Rocky Mountain News 7/2/03

Marco, A View from the Bridge

"The illegal immigrant Marco's monologue ("A Ship called Hunger") and his challenges to Eddie are set to music like iron. Bass-Baritone Richard Bernstein, new to the show, made Marco a pillar of intense song and white-hot emotion.
— Leighton Kerner, Opera News 3/03

"&hellip and the robust-voiced bass-baritone Richard Bernstein as the dutiful Marco was excellent."
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times 12/7/02

"Richard Bernstein as Marco has great intensity."
— Howard Kissell, New York Daily News, 12/7/02

"Marco, the opera’s other strong male and Eddie’s downfall, manages, in bass-baritone Richard Bernstein’s portrayal, to be the character we relate best to; he sings and acts with brute force when needed and makes us feel for the plight of his sick, poor family back in Sicily."
— Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com, 12/02

Sancho Panza, Don Quichotte

"Richard Bernstein as Sancho Panza brought to his role the necessary ballast to balance the airy elocutions of his fellow knight-errant. He sang beautifully."
— Sumi Hahn Seattle Times 3/1/11

"Richard Bernstein’s Sancho Panza was a good complement, funny, loyal and every action filled with details. It was a telling portrait"
— R.M, Campbell The Gathering Note 2/28/11

"Richard Bernstein was an excellent Sancho Panza a combination of superb acting, singing, and great comic timing. He and Cavallier had a strong dramatic dynamic going between them."
— Helene Ballet Allert! 3/6/11

"There were plenty of moving moments, especially the death scene between David Pittsinger and his decidedly un-comic Sancho, strongly sung and acted by Richard Bernstein, the sharper countor of his voice providing ample contrast to his master."
— Christopher Norton-Welsh, Opera magazine, 12/02

"Making his Austrian stage debut as Sancho, Richard Bernstein stole Viennese hearts and virtually every scene in which he appeared. His dark, powerful sound and youthful charm were at their best in his Act II tirade, 'Comment peut-on penser du bien de ces coquines?' "
— Larry L. Lash, Opera News, 11/02

"Richard Bernstein acts marvelously and impresses with his heroic baritone."
— Grit Korentschnig, Kurier, 7/18/02

"The true hero of the evening was the loyal companion: Richard Bernstein is very impressive as Sancho Panza."
— U-Express, 7/18/02

"Richard Bernstein makes a sympathetic, humorous and deeply human Sancho Panza."
— Brigitte Suchan, Wiener Zeitung, 7/18/02

"Impressively, Richard Bernstein sang a quite spirited Sancho Panza."
— Karlheinz Roschitz, Krone, 7/18/02

"Richard Bernstein as Sancho Panza sings his role with a fresh quality and with great humanity."
— Stefan Musil, Die Presse, 7/18/02

"Among the excellent singers, first place must go to Richard Bernstein as the adaptive servant Sancho Panza."
— Derek Weber, Salzburger Nachricten, 7/18/02

Laurent, Thérèse Raquin (World Premiere)

"The cast members immerse themselves fully in this fevered tale. Richard Bernstein as Laurent veers convincingly from charmer to murderer to infuriated spouse, always with commanding vocalism."
— Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News November 2002 Editor's Choice review of world premiere recording (Chandos CHAN 9659)
NOTE: This recording was selected by Opera News as one of the Top Ten full-length opera recordings of 2002.

"Yet Mr. Picker could not have asked for a more able and willing cast. Mr. Bernstein sang with burnished sound and gave a vividly physical performance. In the scene depicting his wedding night to Thérèse, he threw himself about the stage, stripped to the waist, sweating, fully conveying the bodily manifestations of Laurent's guilt."
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times 12/11/01

"… the excellent young bass-baritone Richard Bernstein is particularly well suited to Laurent, whom Zola described as a character generating an immediate animal and sexual attraction."
— Renaud Machart, Le Monde (Paris) 12/5/01

"The most impressive singer on stage, however, is bass-baritone Richard Bernstein as Laurent. His pipes rate highly in terms of both clarity and power."
— Punch Shaw, Fort Worth Star-Telegram 12/1/01

"When Thérèse refuses to make love on their wedding night, [Bernstein] cultivates a mounting, ear-pleasing rage. Paired in duet, Fulgoni and Bernstein present a formidable picture of evil."
— Cynthia Greenwood, Dallas Observer 12/6/01

Figaro, Le nozze di Figaro

"The American Figaro is the best Figaro we have had in years. Every gesture that he has is solid because it comes from the core of an innate sense of comedy. The man is born for the stage, and brings also on top of that a beautiful bass voice as well. A brilliant debut!"
— Beate Kayser, Tageszeitung 4/3/01

"Richard Bernstein, an alumnus of L.A. Opera’s excellent resident artist program, sings Figaro, as [he did] in 1997. He has, in that brief interval, gone on to a worldwide career and emerged as a singing actor of remarkable resource."
— Alan Rich, Daily Variety 1/18/01

"Richard Bernstein made his impressive debut as Figaro here in 1994. He has only gotten stronger and freer in the role, a consistently galvanizing force on stage. He has the comic elements refined and securely under control."
— Chris Pasles, Los Angeles Times 1/18/01

"… bass-baritone Richard Bernstein, who had earned plaudits in the same role when he stepped into the ailing Bryn Terfel’s big shoes [at Lyric Opera of Chicago and on another occasion at the Met], gave a spirited and polished performance, his voice secure and resonant."
— Diana Burgwyn, Opera Now March/April 2000

"Richard Bernstein offered a Figaro who engagingly takes life as it comes, his singing dark and easy, his smile wide."
— Paul Griffiths, The New York Times 12/21/99

"The limber, athletic Mr. Bernstein has a robust and virile voice, with an especially rich lower range. The essentially plush character of his voice never faltered."
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times 11/23/98

"As Figaro, bass-baritone Richard Bernstein gives a consummate portrayal, channeling his character’s lighthearted and mercurial emotions with every inch of his body. His singing, meanwhile, is deliciously placed – as round and handsome as it is technically strong."
— Mark H. Beers, Philadelphia Weekly 11/12/99

"Into the breach strode [Bryn] Terfel's cover, the young American bass-baritone Richard Bernstein, who not only saved the day but introduced a talent of splendid promise whom Lyric [Opera of Chicago] will want to bring back soon, next time via the front door. An experienced Figaro, Bernstein fit into the ensemble so smoothly that one would not have known anything was amiss in this spirited and loving revival of the much-admired Peter Hall production."
— John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune 2/13/98

"Richard Bernstein has the right combination of stage panache, intelligence and self-confidence, with a voice full of poise and ease."
— R.M. Campbell, Opera 4/98

Colline, La bohème

…Richard Bernstein's seemingly effortless sonority and authority as Colline…
(The 1,125th Metropolitan Opera performance of Puccini's La bohème, 2/19/03)
— Leighton Kerner, Opera News 6/03

(After a comparison with the production of La bohème currently running on Broadway, in which the entire cast wears body mikes.) "None of the supporting cast needed miking. Richard Bernstein's Colline could have won a few converts to the joys of an operatic voice."
— Anne Midgette, The New York Times, 2/22/03

"Richard Bernstein gave a strong performance as Colline."
— Ronald Blum, Associated Press, 2/20/03

"The hard-working supporting ensemble included Richard Bernstein, …an uncommonly lyrical Colline."
— Martin Bernheimer, Los Angeles Times, 9/11/93

"Richard Bernstein brought resonant solemnity to Colline's adieu to his overcoat."
— Valerie Scher, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/11/93

Escamillo, Carmen

"Richard Bernstein was an Escamillo in the grand style whose appearance exhibited an exciting profusion of vocal dynamism."
— Jacques Fournier, Opéra International 12/98

"As the flamboyant Escamillo, Richard Bernstein was every inch the self-assured, sexually confident bullfighter. He sang with not only resonance but a touch of humor, a sense of the power of his personality and a sense that it fit him well."
— John Farrell, Pasadena Star-News 9/11/98

"The singer who simply takes charge of the stage is Richard Bernstein. Not every bass-baritone knows how to seize the moments. Bernstein does that, and more; he has us hanging on his every note and flamenco flourish and at his every appearance."
— Barbara Zuck, The Columbus Dispatch 11/22/96

Alidoro, La Cenerentola

"Alidoro, the prince’s tutor, appears as a beggar and works like a sorcerer-free agent to bring the love couple together. Richard Bernstein, a rich, lyric bass-baritone with a light touch, has sung in Atlanta several times before and is here among the most compelling on stage."
— Pierre Ruhe, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution November 16, 2008

"Richard Bernstein’s elegant singing understates Alidoro's command perfectly."
— Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times 10/11/2000

"Richard Bernstein’s Alidoro was incisive and penetrating."
— Charles H. Parsons, Opera 1/2001

Guglielmo, Cosí fan tutte

"Richard Bernstein brought comic suavity and baritonal gold to the excesses of Guglielmo. It comes as no surprise that, after five years with the company and a deserved high place there, he is being sought elsewhere."
— Donna Perlmutter, [Los Angeles] Daily News 2/29/96

"Alongside the splendid ‘international’ participants, local hero Richard Bernstein, the sturdy, energetic Guglielmo, more than held his own. He has moved steadily from local small parts to a Metropolitan Opera debut to a busy worldwide schedule."
— Alan Rich, Daily Variety 2/29/96

Title role, Don Giovanni

"Richard Bernstein offered dark-toned reliability along with detail-conscious vocal characterization. One of his greatest contributions was his acting ability. From his entrance, the bass-baritone created an electricity that lasted until the moment of his inevitable demise. His lasciviousness held a carefree virility, at once repulsive and attractive."
— Susan Bliss, Los Angeles Times 3/18/97

"Bernstein's Don Giovanni was an intense, energetic, insolent aristocrat. Combining his powerful, warm, expressive bass-baritone with a compelling, focused stage presence, Bernstein convincingly spun sexual charm and danger together."
— Pam Dixon, The Orange County Register 3/28/97

Four Villains,Les contes d’Hoffmann

"…Richard Bernstein (whose unusually resonant bass-baritone dominates the opera) as the succession of villains personifies evil."
— Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press 6/6/01

"Bass-baritone Richard Bernstein brings a suave malevolence to the various dark figures that hound the poet (Hoffmann)’s life."
— Lawrence B. Johnson, Detroit News 6/4/01

Beethoven Symphony #9

"Admirably, management didn't scrimp on the soloists. Bass-Baritone Richard Bernstein contributed a stirring solo in the fourth movement."
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle 5/12/03

"Bass-baritone Richard Bernstein was commanding…"
— John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune 7/12/98

"Richard Bernstein easily soared above both chorus and orchestra."
— Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times 7/13/98

Leonard Bernstein Tribute/Lincoln Center Festival

"Whitman’s To What You Said made the strongest impression, in an excellent reading by Richard Bernstein… In Dybbuk, Bernstein again sounded especially strong."
— James R. Oestreich, The New York Times 7/2/98