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Ferenc Bónis

(b Budapest, Jan 1, 1892; d Budapest, Nov 4, 1935). Hungarian director, composer and critic . He studied composition with Koessler and Viktor Herzfeld at the Budapest Academy of Music (1906–11) and later taught at the Fodor Conservatory (1912–19) and at the Budapest College of Music (1919–25). He also wrote music criticism for various daily newspapers in the Hungarian capital from 1919 to 1925. From August 1925 until his early death he was artistic director of the Royal Hungarian Opera House in Budapest. His tenure brought consolidation and higher artistic standards to the institution between the two world wars. By engaging young artists (János Ferencsik as co-répétiteur, later conductor, and Kálmán Nádasdy and Gusztáv Oláh as directors), he ushered in a new phase in the history of the opera house. Radnai engaged the leading Italian conductor Sergio Failoni as chief conductor for the Wagner, Verdi, Bartók and Kodály repertory. He was as eager to produce the works of contemporary Hungarian composers (Jenő Ádám, Bartók, Ernő Dohnányi, Hubay, Kodály, Kósa, Albert Siklós, Tivadar Szántó, Leó Weiner) as those of earlier masters of Hungarian music (Erkel, Liszt, Mosonyi) and of his foreign contemporaries (Debussy, Falla, Hindemith, Malipiero, Milhaud, Ravel, Respighi, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, Zandonai). In revitalizing the design and production side, establishing discipline during rehearsals and performances, and educating a young and gifted generation of singers, Radnai created one of the most successful chapters in the history of Hungarian opera. He also contributed knowledgeable studies of works by Gounod, Erkel, Poldini and Goldmark to the literature of operatic analysis....