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Sarah Caldwell 1924-2006
 


Country : Maryville, Missouri
Profession : Opera director, Impresario
Date of birth : 1924-03-06
Date of death : 2006-03-23
Cause of Death : Heart Failure

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Sarah Caldwell (March 6, 1924March 23, 2006) was a notable American opera conductor, impresario, and opera company director.

Life

Caldwell was born in Maryville, Missouri, and grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She was a child prodigy and was giving public performances on the violin by the time she was 10 years old. She graduated from Fayetteville High School at the age of fourteen.

Caldwell graduated from Hendrix College in 1944 and attended the University of Arkansas as well as the New England Conservatory of Music. She won a scholarship as a viola player at Berkshire Music Center in 1946. In 1947, she staged Vaughan Williams' Riders to the Sea. For eleven (11) years she served as the chief assistant to Boris Goldovsky.

Caldwell moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1952 and became head of the Boston University opera workshop. In 1957 she started the Opera Company of Boston where she staged a large mix of operas, establishing a reputation for producing difficult works under pressure. She was also known for putting together interesting variations of standard operas.

In 1976, Caldwell became the first female conductor of the Metropolitan Opera. She appeared with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Also in 1976 she directed John LaMontaigne's U.S. Bicentennial opera "Be Glad Then America" with Odetta (Muse for America), Donald Gramm (various patriots), Richard Lewis (King George III) and the Penn State University Choir and the Pittsburgh Symphony.

She also directed one non-musical production, the 1981 Lincoln Center staging of Shakespeare's Macbeth, presented on cable TV in 1982. It starred Philip Anglim and Maureen Anderman, with a then-unknown Kelsey Grammer in the supporting role of Ross.

In 1975 Caldwell received a D.F.A. from Bates College. In 1996 she received the National Medal of Arts. She has been inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame.

She died, aged 82, at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, from heart failure.

Studio Discography

  • Donizetti: Don Pasquale (Sills, Kraus, Titus, Gramm; Caldwell, 1978) EMI

Videography

  • Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia (Sills, H.Price, Titus, Gramm, Ramey; Caldwell, Caldwell, 1976) [live]

 

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