Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.
The collection includes several hundred personal and business letters; documents ranging from private matters, such as his divorce papers from his first wife Pauline Curley, to professional matters, such as his multiple opera contracts; photographs from his childhood and family, a large number of promotional portrait photographs, some featuring him in costume for various opera roles; a collection of programs; publications, mainly dealing with opera companies; annotated opera vocal scores and songs; seven scrapbooks containing mainly newspaper clippings; audiovisual materials; testimonials; and posters and newspaper clippings. Packet contains opera snakes (oversize).
Baritone Richard Bonelli was born Richard Bunn in Port Byron, New York on Feb. 2, 1889. His voice teachers were Arthur Alexander in Los Angeles, and Jean de Reszke and William Valonat in Paris. His operatic debut was as Valentin in Gounod's Faust at the Brooklyn Academy in 1915. From 1922-24 he toured the U.S. with the San Carlo opera company. After touring in Europe with the Max Sauter Company in 1925, he was engaged at the Theatre Gaite Lyrique in Paris. That same year he was to join the Chicago Opera Company, remaining there until 1931. Between 1926 and 1942 he was a frequent guest at the San Francisco Opera, and was also a member of the Metropolitan Opera from 1932-45. After retiring from the stage he dedicated himself to voice pedagogy and was a much-appreciated teacher. He taught at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and at the Music Academy of the West. Richard Bonelli died in Los Angeles on June 7, 1980.