The New York Times
A Metropolitan Opera company member since his debut in 1995, acclaimed bass Richard Bernstein has appeared with the MET in 468 performances and over 125 international live broadcasts to date, which also include 18 Live in HD performances which were live performances broadcast in cinemas worldwide. He has also sung leading roles with companies around the country and around the world during his career of 30 years.
“The dynamic, robust-voiced bass, Richard Bernstein, brought more danger and volatility to the role of Leporello...
In 2019-20, bass Richard Bernstein celebrated his silver anniversary with the Met, his artistic home. Highlights of the season included the Met premiere and sold-out run of Akhnaten by Philip Glass to great critical acclaim performing the role of Aye which was also broadcast around the world as part of the Met’s Live in HD series. In addition, Mr. Bernstein sang in Macbeth, Wozzeck and Die Zauberflöte during this milestone season for him with the company.
In 2021, due to the shortened season, Mr. Bernstein will return to the Metropolitan Opera to perform in three productions, which include two additional Live in HD broadcasts. He will be performing as the 2nd Armoured Man in Julie Taymor’s production of Die Zauberflöte, and the 2nd Prison Guard in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Ivo van Hove's production off Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie. Both operas will be part of the Live in HD series and conducted by the Metropolitan Opera’s brilliant Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Richard will also reprise his signature role of Zuniga in Sir Richard Eyre’s spectacular production Carmen.
The 2018-19 season featured many notable performances for Mr. Bernstein at The Metropolitan Opera. Highlights include his role debut as Pistola in Falstaff, along with roles in Carmen, La fanciulla del West, and Dialogues des Carmélites. Rounding out the season, Mr. Bernstein performed at the prestigious Bravo!Vail festival, where he sang Angelotti in Tosca with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Other key recent performances include the bass soloist part in Beethoven’s magisterial Ninth Symphony with the New Jersey Choral Society, and a return to his touchstone role of 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 Metropolitan Opera, 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. 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.
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.
"With his strong, effortless bass, he can also be extremely entertaining. The man is a born comedian..."
- Riitta-Leena Lempinen, Itä-savo
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. He has had the privilege of working with some of the most important conductors of the day, including: Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, James Conlon, Christoph Eschenbach, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Andrew Davis, Donald Runnicles, Patrick Summers, and Fabio Luisi.
Besides his full performance schedule, Mr. Bernstein enjoys teaching private voice students in New York and New Jersey. He also regularly judges regional and district auditions for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and gives master classes while touring.
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.