Opera Producer —
SARAH CALDWELL WAS BORN IN 1928 in Maryville, Mo. In 1947, she conducted her first opera, Ralph Vanghn-William’s “Riders to the Sea” at Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts.
In 1952, Caldwell became the head of the opera department at Boston University. For the next 40 years, she devoted herself to introducing opera to her city, bringing Boston the finest new and standard work while inspiring others to share her passion for opera. She became known for her creative staging and inspired direction. Always an innovator, Caldwell incorporated laser, black lights and film into her productions, making the action break the stage and penetrate fully into the house.
She conducted the U.S. premieres of Paul Hindemith’s “Mathis der Maler,” Roger Session’s “Montezuma,”Peter Maxwell Davies’s “Taveerner,” Luigi Nano’s “Introlleranza” and Aaron Schoenberg’s “Moses und Aron.” She also has championed the expansion of the standard opera repertoire, staging such rarely performed works as Prokofiev’s “War and Peace,” Berge’s “Lulu,” Rameau’s “Hippolyte et Arice” and Charpentier’s “Louise.”
Caldwell has promoted international artistic exchange by organizing festivals of Russian music in Boston and American music in the former Soviet Union. Since 1993, she has been the principal guest conductor for the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia, and has maintained an extensive orchestral conducting schedule, appearing on the podium of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony and Washington D.C.’s National Symphony Orchestra.
Sarah Caldwell passed away March 24, 2006.