Monday, April 6, 2015

Seattle Opera Salutes ANDREW PORTER

Andrew Porter (1928-2015), the fantastically erudite critic, translator, and director, passed away on Friday. Read the wonderful celebrations of his life and work at NPR, The New York Times, and of course at the New Yorker, where his 20 years as staff music critic taught many Americans how to listen.

Porter also taught the city of Seattle what Wagner’s Ring was all about in the early years. Each summer between 1975 and 1983, Seattle Opera presented the Ring both in the original German and in Porter’s famous and brilliant English singing translation. Thanks to KUOW, which broadcast many of those English-language performances, excerpts survive testifying to Porter’s genius as translator, musician, and man of the theater.

Speight Jenkins, who was a music critic in New York before he became Seattle Opera’s General Director in 1984, was a friend and admirer of Andrew Porter’s. Says Jenkins, “Andrew Porter represented the best in music criticism. He was thoughtful, interested in opera everywhere, and in all kinds of opera. His discoveries about Don Carlos have added much to the Verdi lexicon. His contributions in general to music criticism are too many to be enumerated. I had the pleasure of working with him when he directed La forza del destino at Seattle Opera. He worked with intensity and strove very hard to create a Forza exactly as Verdi did it in its first performances at La Scala.”

Explore photos of Seattle Opera’s 1984 La forza del destino HERE.

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