Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Seattle Opera salutes the life and work of Lincoln Clark, who passed away at the age of 90 at his Edmonds home last week. Between 1975 and 1984, Clark directed almost everything Seattle Opera put onstage, from frothy comedies like La Cenerentola and rarities like Le roi de Lahore to our groundbreaking first production of Wagner’s RING.

Lincoln Clark with Chorus Master Hans Wolf at a reception for the 1982 production of Die Fledermaus, in which Clark directed such Hollywood luminaries as Werner Klemperer (“Colonel Clink”), Paul Sorvino, John Reardon, and Buddy Hackett. Seattle Opera, photo
Clark’s multifaceted early career prepared him well for his job as Seattle Opera’s resident stage director. After studies at UCLA and with Lotte Lehmann at the Music Academy of the West, he won a Fulbright fellowship to the Bavarian State Music Academy in Munich, which led to a three-year contract as a leading tenor with the Hannover State Opera. Guest engagements followed in the opera companies of Hamburg, Braunschweig, Karlsruhe, and Munich, as well as roles in music films and television.

In 1974, he received a National Opera Institute grant to study directing under George London, Italo Tajo, and Georges Hirsch at Seattle Opera. He made his debut in the 1975/76 season directing Der Rosenkavalier. Of that production, Opera News noted: “Clark in particular deserves warm praise for interweaving the drama of the principals with the lively but discreetly understated activities of Hofmannsthal’s rich cameo characters.”

Patricia Wells (Masha) and Lincoln Clark (Dr. Dorn) in The Seagull (West Coast Premiere), 1976 . Photo by Des Gates
During his first season with the company, Clark also sang the tenor role of Dr. Dorn in the 1976 production of The Seagull, by Thomas Pasatieri. After George London built Seattle’s RING 1 from 1972 to 1975, Clark restaged it each subsequent summer, 1976 to 1983.
Shirley Lee Harned (Pauline), Patricia Wells (Masha), John Reardon (Boris), Lincoln Clark (Dr. Dorn), Leon Lishner (Shamrayeff), and Dolores Strazicich (Irina Arkidina) in The Seagull (West Coast Premiere), 1976. Photo by Des Gates
Clark continued to direct and to teach until recently. The Seattle Times has more details of his career; in accordance with his wishes, no funeral or public memorial is scheduled.


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