Seattle names a street after opera boss

Speight Jenkins Way, a one-way stretch of Fourth Avenue North, between Republican and Mercer streets, has been unveiled, honouring the formative General Director of Seattle Opera from 1983 to 2014, putting it on the world map.

Speight pronounced himself ‘thrilled.’

Now Salzburg needs a Gerard Mortier Platz and Munich a Sir-Peter-Jonas Strasse. And why did Covent Garden never push for a David Webster or Garret Drogheda Road?

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  • Well deserved. Speight had an amazing run in Seattle, with generally superb casting, terrific production values, and excellent choice of conductors who weren’t generally household names but great musicians – Hermann Michael, Stefan Minde, and an early-career Jiri Belohlavek. I wish his choice of operas had been a little more adventurous; even he admitted regret not doing Wozzeck and Die Frau, among others. On the other hand he brought Janacek to Seattle well before it was fashionable.

    But let’s not forget his illustrious predecessor, Glynn Ross, who truly put Seattle on the world operatic map, staging the Ring in 1975 when doing so was far beyond what anyone would have expected from our little corner of the world, and when American Ring productions outside the MET were virtually unheard of.

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