Winner of the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Conductor of the Year Award, Richard Farnes was Music Director of Opera North from 2004 until 2016, where his productions ranged from The Marriage of Figaro and Verdi’s Giovanna d’arco to premiere productions of David Sawer’s Skin Deep and Simon Holt’s The Nightingale’s to Blame.
In 2011, Richard Farnes and Opera North started an ambitious project – unique staged concerts of Wagner’s Ring cycle. Complete cycles took place throughout 2016 in Leeds, Salford, Nottingham, Gateshead and London. Most recently for Opera North he conducted The Flying Dutchman in various UK venues. He has also made recordings with Opera North of both Bluebeard’s Castle and Don Carlos for Chandos’ ‘Opera in English’ series. Other companies with which he has worked include Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, New Israeli Opera, English Touring Opera, and Birmingham Opera Company.
Richard Farnes’ concert engagements have included the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, and the Cambridge University Music Society.
Recent concerts have included a performance of British music with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for ‘MacMillan month’ (celebrating the music of Sir James MacMillan). After these concerts in Adelaide, he works with the Bournemouth Symphony in Poole and Exeter.
Richard Farnes read Music at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was organ scholar, and went on to study at the National Opera Studio, Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music, where he conducted the first British production of Rossini’s Journey to Reims. At the Royal Academy he won both the Henry Wood and Philharmonia Chorus conducting scholarships, and was awarded a European Community Youth Orchestra Scholarship in 1988 for his contribution to the orchestra as its keyboard player.