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Warwick Braithwaite

Born in New Zealand, Warwick Braithwaite entered the Royal Academy of Music in London when he was twenty. Three years later in 1919 he joined the O’Mara Opera Company as a conductor: henceforth opera was to be the principal focus of his professional career. The O’Mara Company had been formed by the Irish tenor Joseph O’Mara and was active touring the United Kingdom between 1912 and 1924; Braithwaite moved on from it in 1922 when he joined the British National Opera Company as a répétiteur and conductor. He spent a year at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, where he came into contact with Bruno Walter; and after returning to the United Kingdom took up the post of music director for the BBC’s new radio station in Cardiff, remaining with the corporation until 1932. While in Wales he was also conductor of the Cardiff Musical Society and of the National Orchestra of Wales from 1928 to 1931. In 1932 he returned to London as a conductor of the Vic-Wells (later Sadler’s Wells) Opera Company where he worked closely with Lawrance Collingwood, the company’s chief conductor. With Sadler’s Wells Braithwaite conducted new productions of Fra Diavolo, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Don Carlos.




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