Login failed. Please try again.

Article Published: 19 Apr 2022

In Memoriam: Spring 2020

John Moriarty

John Moriarty, the vocal coach, collaborative pianist, conductor, stage director, and educator, died on January 5 at age 91. Moriarty was artistic director of Central City Opera from 1982 through 1998 (and artistic director emeritus until his death), first joining the company in 1978 to create the artist training program that would become the Bonfils- Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program. During his time at CCO, Moriarty also conducted four separate productions of Douglas Moore and John Latouche’s The Ballad of Baby Doe and the world premiere of Henry Mollicone and William Luce’s Gabriel’s Daughter in 2003. Moriarty began his six-decade career in opera at The Santa Fe Opera, where he also laid the foundation for that company’s young artist program. In addition to his leadership of CCO, Moriarty conducted and directed opera productions throughout the United States and served as an artistic administrator for Lake George Opera (now Opera Saratoga) and Wolf Trap Opera. He conducted on recordings of The Ballad of Baby Doe and Handel’s Tamerlano, and served as pianist on an album of French songs with Carole Bogard. Moriarty graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1952 and began teaching at his alma mater 13 years later. During his 36 years at NEC, Moriarty built the conservatory’s opera department into a world-renowned training program, acting as chairman of the department from 1989 until his retirement in 2001. His book Diction: Italian, Latin, French, German...the Sounds and 81 Exercises for Singing Them has been the standard textbook on singers’ diction for American conservatories since its publication in 1975 and has never been out of print.

Maria Ewing

Maria Ewing died on January 9 at age 71. Renowned for a singular voice that defied easy classification and her daring performances, Ewing began her career as a lyric mezzo-soprano, making her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cherubino in 1976. Over two decades, Ewing sang at the Met 96 times, including in the house premiere of Poulenc’s Dialogue of the Carmelites as Blanche de la Force in 1977 and in the premiere of her then-husband Sir Peter Hall’s production of Carmen — one of her signature roles — in 1986. Also in 1986, Ewing famously sang another one of her iconic roles, Strauss’ Salome, at Los Angeles Opera in a production by Hall that later appeared at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Covent Garden; the latter was telecast and released commercially on DVD. Throughout her career, Ewing sang both mezzo-soprano and soprano roles, including the title roles in Tosca, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Pelléas et Mélisande, and L’incoronazione di Poppea; Dorabella in Così fan tutte; the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos; and Marie in Wozzeck. Ewing was the mother of English actress and director Rebecca Hall.

American composer Roger W. Ames died on January 6 at age 77. His oratorio A Requiem for Our Time, set to poetry by Anne Carson and texts from the Latin Mass, was nominated for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Ames was a dedicated music educator who served as chair of music theater at the Hartt School, resident teaching artist at Central City Opera, and composer-inresidence and director of vocal music at Great Neck North High School in Great Neck, New York, for nearly three decades. A prolific composer, Ames wrote full-length and one-act operas and musicals, large-scale choral works and oratorios, song cycles, art songs, works for young voices, and many arrangements. Along with Clifford Brooks, Ames authored OPERA America’s Music! Words! Opera! book and curriculum series.