Richard was born in Lancashire, and studied at St John’s College, Cambridge, and at the Royal Academy of Music.
Recent engagements include Pangloss Candide with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl, Mr Walter After Life in the Holland Festival, with L’Opéra National de Lyon and at the Barbican, Playing Away in Bregenz and St Pölten, French Ambassador Of Thee I Sing, General Snookfield Let ‘Em Eat Cake and Barabashkin Paradise Moscow at Opera North and in Bregenz, Baron Zeta The Merry Widow, Lesbo Agrippina and Ko-Ko The Mikado at ENO, The Mayor Jenufa for Opera Holland Park, Lord Chancellor Iolanthe with the San Francisco Symphony, Don Jerome The Duenna for English Touring Opera, The Tell-Tale Heart at ROH2, Salad Days at The Riverside Studios and the Judge Trial by Jury for RTE in Galway and Dublin.
He began his operatic career with the English Music Theatre Company and Opera Factory, and is now much sought after, particularly in music theatre, contemporary opera and, of course, as a comedian in the more standard repertoire. He has worked at all the major British opera houses, including performances of The Pirates of Penzance (Major-General), The Mikado (Ko-Ko) and Die Fledermaus (Frank) for English National Opera: at Opera North, he created the role of Stan Stock in Benedict Mason’s Playing Away: for Welsh National Opera and at Covent Garden he sang Jack Point The Yeomen of the Guard: for Garsington Opera he has sung Don Magnifico La Cenerentola (also at Iford), and at Grange Park The Lord Chancellor Iolanthe and Don Inigo Gomez L’Heure Espagnole, and Andrea Chenier at Opera Holland Park. As a member of the D’Oyly Carte since 1988, he has sung many of the Savoy Operas, as well as Orpheus in the Underworld and La Vie Parisienne. For Music Theatre Wales he created the role of King Arthur in their première of Lynn Plowman and Martin Riley’s ‘adventure’ Gwyneth and The Green Knight.
Productions abroad have included Donizetti’s L’Ajo nell’imbarazzo in Batignano; Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King in Gelsenkirchen, Milan, Helsinki, Strasbourg, Stavanger and Paris. He sang Mason’s Chaplinoperas with the Ensemble Modern in Germany, Portugal, Holland and Austria, and with the Ensemble Intercontemporain in New York and Paris. He gave world première performances of Param Vir’s Snatched by the gods and Broken Strings for De Nederlands Oper in Amsterdam and Munich, and subsequently for Opera Transparant in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Rouen. He has sung Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon with the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris, and Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre at the Salzburg Festival and The Châtelet, Paris. For the Reisopera in Holland he has sung in Peter Grimes, Reigen and The Mikado. He has made two visits to New York for performances of The Mikado with City Opera, and has also performed Ko-Ko in Vancouver and Penang. He has sung The Sorceress Dido and Aeneas in Bremen and Turin, and Les Noces in Brussels, and co-wrote a Gilbert and Sullivan entertainment An Acquired Taste for the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, which he performed with Wyn Davies and Janis Kelly.
Richard has enjoyed a long association with Diva Opera for whom he has appeared as Dr. Bartolo, Gianni Schicchi and Dulcamara; he has also directed and appeared in three operettas for the company, Trial by Jury, Die Fledermaus and Cox and Box, and given many Gala concerts.
Recordings include Eight Songs for a Mad King for Finnish TV and Channel 4, Turnage’s Greek for BBCTV and Decca, Bernstein’s Candide and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; also Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. Savoy operas include The Gondoliers and Iolanthe with the D’Oyly Carte; also The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore, The Yeomen of the Guard and Trial by Jury with Welsh National Opera under Sir Charles Mackerras. Other recordings include The Geisha, The Maid of the Mountains, Songs from the Shows of Lionel Monckton and Sullivan’s The Contrabandista for Hyperion, The Little Prince, a new opera by Rachel Portman for Sony, and Edward German’s Tom Jones for Naxos.
His involvement with the works of Gilbert and Sullivan has led him to create an entertainment, As a Matter of Patter, which he has performed at many venues in the UK, South Africa and the Middle East. Generally considered the leading patter man of his generation, he has appeared at the BBC Proms as The Duke of Plaza-Toro, the Lord Chancellor and Sir Joseph Porter; he has made many other appearances at Gala Concerts both in the UK and North America, most recently in New York, Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto and Winnipeg. In 2003 he took part in the Venetian premiėre of The Mikado at the Palafenice. He is a regular visitor to the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton each summer, and also the Spa Theatre in Scarborough.
Richard is a Vice-President of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, a Patron of the Bristol Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and in 2004 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.