Richard Bonsall, New Zealand's boy soprano, began his training as a soloist with the New Zealand Boys Choir and continued with the Belmont Singers of Auckland. Richard won the Junior Vocal Championships at the Auckland Competitions three times and in 1969 also won the Children's Vocal Championships at the North Shore Competitions. In 1970 he won the North Shore Mardi Gras Junior Talent Quest. Radio broadcasts and two appearances on television's "On Camera" added to Richard's experience, culminating in his success on Chris Bourn's national television programme, "Studio One: 1970."
For his years, Richard has also had considerable stage experience, having taken the lead roled in a number of productions: Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Emporer and his Nightengale, The Bride of Seville (adapted from Rossini's Barber), Pinocchio and the Children's Crusade. Richard's interest in music is very wide in scope and will be perpetuated beyond his soprano years in his playing of piano, oboe and clarinet.
Richard gained a BA in Japanese Language and Music while at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. In 1977 he was awarded a diploma in Japanese Language and Literature by the Osaka University of Foreign Studies and in 1979 an MA in Japanese Language and Ethnomusicology by the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts.
Since that time, Richard has had a wealth of experience in senior business management and now lives in New York with his wife and two sons.
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Richard Bonsall Sacred and secular songs performed by what some have called the finest treble voice ever recorded. A selection of tracks from two of Richard Bonsall's previous three LPs. Richard has a very mature, rich, warm voice even throughout its range, with easy production, secure intonation, a ringing top, well-controlled medium vibrato, exemplary diction, phrasing & expression. "Whistling Gipsy Rover" is given a stunning performance. (BJP) Total time 67 min.
Richard Bonsall The Choir of Saint Mary's Cathedral Auckland
with RICHARD BONSALL (Boy Soprano) and Kenneth Weir (Organ), directed by Peter Godfrey, recorded in 1970. Richard sings on tracks 3,5,6,7.
The choristers of St Nicholas' College Chislehurst feature by popular request in their famous 'Brother James' Air and O Lovely Peace. Master Thomas Criddle's amazing voice has excited much comment by reviewers and singing teachers. ----------------
This disc is quite remarkable for the wide range of vocal qualities and styles displayed, spanning a period of nearly 60 years. The two tracks by John Gwilym Griffith (new to CD) are alone worth the price of the disc, being sung with exquisite tone, style and feeling. Walter Lawrence, the New York choirboy, shows us in a track from 100 years ago, an amazingly easy vocal mastery of coloratura in "Rejoice Greatly" (Messiah), despite the slightly hurried tempi necessary to fit the (abridged) aria onto a 4-minute disc. The French song on his other track is another example of excellent technique and breath control. Thomas Criddle again shows a very attractive, pure, clear voice and good style in his May 1943 items. Frank Bird (also newly on CD), sounding younger than his 15¼ years, is a fine example of the English parish choirboy between the wars.
Other tracks are perhaps not quite as pleasurable, but rewarding in their own way as historically illustrative. Michael Lumb and John Evans-Pugh sing in an over-refined or "precious" manner now outdated and probably not to most tastes. Robin Fairhurst lacks the necessary "steel" in his voice and has less than ideal breath control, while Raymond Kinsey (so prized in volumes 4 & 5) here sounds tired in a laboured account of Gounod's "Ave Maria". Mansel Squire's rendering of "I know that my Redeemer liveth" (Messiah) is rather curious: worryingly hesitant and inexpressive, without the progress from conviction in the opening lines, through triumph to awe and wonder at Divine grace, which the very best singers bring to the piece. He is not helped by an uninspiring organ accompaniment. One can only assume that limited studio time precluded a re-take.
In summary, with a total playing time of 76 minutes this is a valuable document for those interested in the singing styles of boy soloists (both choristers and entertainers) since the earliest days of recording and the disc bears repeated careful listening.
Order directly from Stephen Beet to avail of the special price: Each CD is £10 plus postage.
The Better Land set of six CDs is £55 plus postage. (This includes a copy of Mr. Beet's book "The Better Land - In search of the lost boy sopranos." Please contact Mr. Beet StephenRBeet@gmail.com. PayPal address: firstname.lastname@example.org Prices quoted in Euro and other currency on request.
As well as chapters on Iwan Davies, Derek Barsham, and Denis Wright, amongst others there are also chapters under the following headings: The Temple Boys, The Manchester Boys, The Music Hall Boys, The Fleeting Boys, and The Broadcast Boys.
This book is available directly from the author: Contact StephenRBeet@gmail.com
Price £10 plus postage
This book is available for the cost of postage and packing only if the set of six The Better Land CD albums is ordered.