US opera chief dies, aged 51

Awful news from San Antonio.

Mark Richter, former artistic director of Alamo City Opera, has died. His death has been confirmed by music director Kristin Roach.

More here. 


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  • People like Mark do heroic work against terrible odds. San Antonio with a population of 1.5 million is the 7th largest city in the USA, but it ranks 530th in the world for opera performances per year.

    The money goes elsewhere. The city has one of the largest concentration of military bases in the US. It is known as Military City, USA. Bases include Lackland Air Force Base, Brooke Army Medical Center, Randolph Air Force Base, and Fort Sam Houston. The defense industry in San Antonio employs over 89,000 and provides $5.25 billion to the city’s economy.

    Needless to say, little of that money goes to the arts. (The situation in San Diego regarding culture vs. militarism is remarkably similar.) When Americans are confronted with these realities, they often go into initial contortions of denial, and then sheepish silence.

    Hopefully people like Mark will ultimately prevail with a more sane view of the world.

  • I knew Mark very well when I lived and worked in San Antonio, 2000 – 2002. He did an amazing job building up Lyric Opera, only to be treated shabbily by their board of directors. Ultimately, the company closed down. In typical fashion, Mark then started a new company! I am devastated to learn of his passing. RIP my friend. You fought the good fight and you will be sorely missed.

    William Osborne is quite right about San Antonio. It’s the 7th largest city in population but ranks 182nd in per capita income.

  • To clarify, San Antonio may be the 7th largest city in the U.S. on a technicality–if you consider only the population within the city limits, which are drawn very wide–but it is more like the 24th largest U.S. metropolitan area, which is the metric that matters.

    That being said, Mark Richter’s love of opera combined with his amazing ability to get things done despite formidable odds against him brought some great performances to San Antonio. His untimely death is a great loss to the arts community.

  • Why is this so? Politicians know that they can get votes if they can create unskilled jobs for low income people. The military employs a lot of civilians as well as recruits a lot of low income young people. In fact, it is called the “poverty draft (conscription) because many young people feel forced into the military because they cannot obtain other jobs. There are a lot more unemployed young people than there are classical music lovers in places like San Antonio.
    Economic conservatives, who believe that arts funding is not a legitimate function of government, (or as the Trump administration would say “non essential) are not at all sheepish about this

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