Death of a Met conductor

Death of a Met conductor


norman lebrecht

October 04, 2020

The American conductor Richard Woitach, a staff conductor at the Metropolitan Opera for two decades, has died after a long illness at the age of 84.

He was a regular recital accompanist for Jon Vickers and recorded an iconic Nonesuch release, The Unknown Kurt Weill, with Teresa Stratas.

Woitach is survived by his wife, the soprano Jeryl Metz, and their children.



  • Greg Bottini says:

    Very sad news.
    Apart from his conducting accomplishments, Woitach was regularly heard on the MET’s intermission features.
    And that “Unknown Kurt Weill” with Stratas has been one of my favorites ever since I bought it on LP.
    Farewell, Maestro….

  • Jon says:

    I was just listening to his incredible performance of VW’s “Bright is the Ring of Words” with Jon Vickers:

    May they both rest in peace.

  • Trudy Kane says:

    He was also a sweetheart, on top of his brilliance and many gifts. RIP……

  • Jeryl Metz Woitach says:

    Richard Woitach was born in 1935, was 85 when he died. His two sons are from his first marriage.

    • Suzanne says:

      Ms. Woitach, sincerest condolences on your loss. I was acquainted with Maestro when he used to play the piano question at the Met Opera Quizzes in the 80s-90s (I believe). He was a joy to be around and to listen to, always good-humored and with a wealth of funny/interesting stories.

    • Lucy Nell says:

      I am So sorry for our loss!!! I want to see you again! The books are so many portals for my flight in this multiverse. I love you.

    • Michael J. Celeste says:

      Hello Jeryl, I just wanted to say that Dick has been very much on my mind all Fall. Also, I apologize for not being in touch, but I just recently found a message on Messenger, from you, and I didn’t know how to find it before, being a computer idiot. I still have a phone recording from Dick years ago and will miss him greatly. I consider him one of my best friends from school days–3 of us called our little group “The Fat Boys” (Dick, Dick Schoonover and me). We did a lot of laughing together. The memories flood back and they are all so good. Thank you for taking such good care of him. –Mike Celeste.

  • Susan Iadone says:

    I would just like to mention that Mr. Woitach’s first wife, Terry Woitach (a fine violinist), is the mother of their two sons,
    Paul (Joan) and Karl (Sheila). He is also survived by his grandchildren, Michael Woitach (son of Paul) and Tallulah and Lukas (children of Karl).

  • michael celeste says:

    Dick was a close classmate of mie at Johnson City, NY, and he was one terrific person, probably the most successful grad to ever come out of JC. We were bandmembers and many times he entertained us on the piano. I treasure our time together and you couldn’t find a more humble genius.
    My condolences to the family, especially Jeryl, who was such a help to Dick.

  • Rev William Dinga says:

    I knew Richard’s mother, Esther, who was organist in my home parish in Endicott, NY – and I remember when his father, Peter, died, in the mid-60’s – Blessings and Peace Richard.