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Richard Greager (Tenor)

Born: November 5, 1946 - Christchurch, New Zealand

The New Zealand-born tenor, Richard Greager, received his early training in Christchurch, and continued his studies in Australia. After winning three major Australian competitions, including the Sydney and Melbourne Sun-Aria contests, he moved to London in 1972.

Subsequently Richard Greager became in 1975 a junior principal at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; later principal lyric tenor with the Scottish Opera and the Hanover State Opera. In sang widely in Germany, notably in Dortmund, Wiesbaden, Karlsruhe and Bonn. From 1980 he was a principal artist with The Australian Opera, as the Painter in Lulu, Edgardo (opposite Joan Sutherland's Lucia), Peter Grimes, Lensky, Don José and Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw). He gave guest appearances at the Grand Théâtre Geneva as Peter Quint, the Painter and the Negro in Lulu (Jeffrey Tate conducting) and Edgardo; Opéra de Lyon as Huon in Oberon; Season 1988-1989 as Rodolfo at Melbourne and Covent Garden; Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus for Scottish.

His roles over these years included Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Painter in Lulu, Alfredo in La Traviata, Edgardo in Lucia Di Lammermoor with Dame Joan Sutherland, the Duke in Rigoletto, the title role in Peter Grimes, Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Don José in Carmen, Peter Quint in Turn Of The Screw, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, the Duke of Mantua, Fenton and Ernesto. Other roles include Tonio in La Fille du Régiement, and Werther.

More recent international appearances have included the roles of King Arthur in the world première of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Gawain (1991) and Monostatos in The Magic Flute for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Pong in Turandot in Taiwan; Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw for Cologne Opera and in Schwetzingen (1988-1989 season); Rodolfo in La Bohème for the Scottish Opera; Roger in Love in the Age of Therapy, a new work by Paul Grabowsky and Joanna Murray-Smith for OzOpera and the 2002 Melbourne Festival; the title role in Oedipus Rex for the Lyric Opera of Queensland; and the Captain in Barrie Kosky's acclaimed production of Wozzeck for Opera Australia in Sydney and Melbourne. For this role he won the 2001 Australian Green Room Award for Best Supporting Male Singer.

In New Zealand, Richard Greager has sung the roles of Valzacchi in Der Rosenkavalier, Herod in Salome, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and Tikhon in Katya Kabanova for the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, Cavaradossi in Tosca, the title role in Peter Grimes, Don José in Carmen and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni for Wellington City Opera, Gustavus in Un Ballo in Maschera for both Wellington City Opera and Canterbury Opera and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for Canterbury Opera. He has also sung Pong in Turandot, Dr Caius in Falstaff, Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Guillot de Morfontaine in Manon, Torquemada in L'Heure Espagnol, Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi and Macduff in Macbeth for NBR New Zealand Opera.

Throughout his career, Richard Greager has been a popular guest artist for symphony orchestras in New Zealand and Australia. He has sung Sergei Rachmaninov's The Bells with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Froh in Das Rheingold with Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Concerts in New Zealand include Benjamin Britten's War Requiem and L.v. Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with Auckland Philharmonia, and Froh in Das Rheingold, Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet and Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, a Three Tenors Concert in Lombardi Amphitheatre at Hawkes Bay, Schubert's Schwanengesang and Messiah in Wellington, B. Britten's Les Illuminations with Dunedin Sinfonia and Verdi Requiem and The Tower Concerts for Opera New Zealand. Additional concerts include L.v. Beethoven Symphony No 9 with Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Ralph Vaughan WilliamsSerenade To Music with Wellington Sinfonia, Opera in the Paddock and The Bells for Royal Melbourne Philharmonic.

Recent engagements include Roger in Love in the Age of Therapy for OzOpera at the Sydney Festival, Prince Shuisky in Boris Godunov for New Zealand Opera, Herod in Salome in the Sydney Winter and Melbourne Spring seasons for Opera Australia and Mime in State Opera of South Australia’s 2004 production of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. In 2006 Richard Greager sang the roles of Vanderdendur, Governor and Ragotski in a semi-staged concert of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide for Perth International Arts Festival and also Herod in Salome in concert under the baton of Simone Young for Brisbane Festival. In November he sings Herr Vogelsang in a concert performance of Der Schauspieldirektor with Auckland Philharmonia.

"Richard Greager's portrait of Grimes must be one of the finest of an illustrious career, beautifully catching the complexity of the tormented fisherman...powerfully lyrical in moments like the Great Bear and Pleiades aria, and wrenching in the final mad scene: one felt the expressive weight of every note of Britten's line" (William Dart Music in New Zealand September 1995)

Source: Opera in Paddock Website (November 2006); International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2008)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Richard Bonynge


G.F. Handel: Opera Alcina, HWV 34 [Oronte]

Links to other Sites

Richard Greager - Tenor (Opera in Paddock)


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