Russell Patterson, the horn player who co-founded Lyric Opera of Kansas City and was its director for 40 years, has died aged 85.
Here’s how it all began:
In the fall of 1957, a young conductor, Russell Patterson proposed to transplant the European opera-theater pattern to a more or less typical American setting. A number of local opera buffs welcomed the idea, but there were many qualms including: Would Kansas City accept opera so unorthodox by the prevailing national standards without stars or spectacular stage investitures? Friends told them it could not be done. The company has been proving the friends wrong ever since….
Today, the Company has a budget over $5,000,000 and in 2007 purchased three buildings in Kansas City’s East Crossroads neighborhood, to become new production, office and rehearsal space. The Company moved it’s performances to the state-of-the-art Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts during the Lyric’s 2011-2012 season.