Sad news: Met archivist has died

Sad news: Met archivist has died


norman lebrecht

January 23, 2016

We are very sorry to learn of the sudden death on Friday of Robert Tuggle, Director of Archives at the Metropolitan Opera for more than 34 years. He was 83, still at work on the day of his death.

Before reaching the Met, Bob worked in the education department of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, starting in 1957 when he was 24 years old. He knew all there was to know about opera history in New York.

Bob was one of the friendliest faces in an often crabby organisation. We worked together happily on researching Gustav Mahler’s brief period at the Met.

He had been working for some years on a biography of Kirsten Flagstad.

robert tuggle
photo: Met archives

UPDATE: First appreciation here.


  • Southern Gal says:

    He died on January 21st.

  • Martin Bernheimer says:

    He was unique: smart, kind, tough, a rare font of information, seemingly modest, and not known — bless him — to suffer fools, gladly or otherwise. A huge, sad loss.

  • A Met Fan says:

    Indeed, Bob did not suffer fools, which is one reason why the current regime treated him and his department in a less than respectful manner. Constant in his mission, Bob worked diligently to record, preserve, disseminate, and interpret Met history for researchers, musicians, and fans around the world. The Met owes him a great, great deal of gratitude and his memory a tremendous amount of respect. He loved the Met and all that it stood for. Everyone who loves opera is a little richer for Bob’s intellect, wisdom, devotion…and humor. RIP

  • Webster Young says:

    He did indeed stand out as helpful among Met personnel. He not only helped me verify that scenic backdrops in my possession were from the Met’s 1928 Manon, he also helped me find an appropriate restorer without my asking.

  • Annika E. Åsen says:

    As you know Robert Tuggle had a special place in his heart for Kirsten Flagstad. He was such a dear dear help to us here in Norway. One can not properly express enough in just a few words, but if you like here is our small tribute to Mr. Tuggle:

  • Steve Groves says:

    So So Sad to hear of the passing of Mr Robert Tuggle.
    I had the honour of meeting him in person in the UK last July.He had his non opera hat on at that time donning his Dr Christopher Dresser hat.I am sure that if the passion he showed for the work of Dr Dresser was reflected in the rest of his Life the World has lost a great scholar.
    It was a pleasure to meet you Cranach.From Childofcastor a fellow collector and an ebay friend.

  • Marjan Kiepura says:

    Bob Tuggle was a scholar and a gentleman. He was an authority in his field and a direct connection to glorious and important times in opera now past. Bob will be greatly missed by many people. I was privileged to know him through his extensive knowledge of my parents, Marta Eggerth and Jan Kiepura.

    Rest in peace, dear Bob.

    Marjan and Jane Kiepura