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Bernardi, Mario (Egidio)

opera conductor music conducting

Bernardi, Mario (Egidio), Canadian conductor of Italian descent; b. Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Aug. 20, 1930. He studied piano, organ, and composition with Bruno Pasut at the Manzato Cons, in Treviso (1938–45), and took his examination at the Venice Cons. (1945). He was a student of Lubka Kolessa (piano) and Ettore Mazzoleni (conducting) at the Royal Cons, of Music of Toronto (1948–51) before completing his conducting studies with Leinsdorf at the Salzburg Mozarteum (1959). He began his career as a church organist and concert pianist, and also was a coach and conductor with the Royal Cons. Opera School in Toronto (from 1953). In 1957 he made his debut as an opera conductor with Hansel una Gretel with the Canadian Opera Co. in Toronto. In 1963 he made his first appearance at Sadler’s Wells Opera in London, where he became its music director in 1966. In 1967 he made his U.S. debut conducting La Bohème at the San Francisco Opera. In 1969 he became the founding music director of the National Arts Centre Orch. in Ottawa, a position he held until 1982. He led it on various tours of Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. From 1971 to 1982 he also was artistic director of its notable successful opera festival. In 1983 he became principal conductor of the CBC Vancouver Orch. He also was music director of the Calgary Phil, from 1984 to 1993. On Jan. 19, 1984, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. conducting Rinaldo . He also appeared as a guest conductor of the Vancouver Opera, Calgary Opera, Montreal Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, St. Louis Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and at London’s Covent Garden, as well as with various North American and European orchs. During the 1997–98 season, he conducted Canada’s National Youth Orch. on a coast-to-coast tour. In 1972 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and in 1998 he received the Jean E. Chalmers National Music Award.

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