Opera Scotland

Mario Bernardi Suggest updates

Born Kirkland Lake, Ontario, 20 August 1930.

Died Toronto, 2 June 2013.

Canadian conductor and pianist.

Mario Bernardi is one of the most important figures in the development of music in Canada during the second half of the twentieth century. In Britain, he spent five years from 1963 on the music staff at Sadler's Wells, conducting a range of operas in London and on tour.

He studied initially in Italy, at Treviso then at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory in Venice. He continued his training at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. He spent an initial period as a concert pianist before making his debut as a conductor in 1957 with the Canadian Opera Company.

After an interlude based in London, he returned to Canada, founding the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa in 1968. He was appointed the orchestra's Musical Director from 1971 and became its Conductor Laureate in 1997. He was also associated with the Calgary Philharmonic from 1984 to 1992 and was Principal Conductor of the CBC Radio Orchestra from 1983 to 2006.

The principal souvenir of his years in Britain is a delightful recording of the Sadler's Wells Opera production of Hansel and Gretel, with an excellent cast including Patricia Kern and Margaret Neville in the title roles.

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