Obituary: Edward Berkeley, opera program director at Aspen Music Festival, 76

Opera song

Berkeley was born in New York and went on to become artistic director of the Willow Cabin Theater Company and director of the Aspen Opera Theater Center where he conducted classics and championed new operas including “Eliogabalo” and “Giasone” by Cavalli and new works by Bright Sheng, Augusta Read Thomas, Michael Torke, Mark-Anthony Turnage, HK Gruber and Bernard Rand.

He has also conducted the New York premieres of plays by Derek Walcott, Israel Horovitz, Terence McNally, Leonard Melfi, Louise Page and Tennessee Williams. He has also staged the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Houston Grand Opera, the Library of Congress, the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Old Globe Theater, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony and the festivals of Spoleto and Ravinia. Most notably, he directed the cover of the Tony-nominated play “Wilder, Wilder, Wilder” in 1993.

Berkeley also taught Shakespeare at Circle in the Square Theater School and Pace University. He has also been a visiting professor for the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera and a visiting professor at Carleton College, Princeton University and Williams College. He became a faculty member at The Juilliard School in 1987.


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