Earlier this month, the opera world sadly absorbed the news of the death of Elijah Moshinsky. Born in Shanghai in 1946 to parents who had fled Russia then moved to Melbourne where he began his education, Elijah made a brilliant and influential international career as a director of opera in particular but also theatre and film. Having graduated from Monash University, he won a scholarship to Oxford. There he directed a production of As You Like It ; an effective audition piece when it was seen by the general director of Covent Garden, Sir John Tooley who offered Elijah a post as staff producer.
In 1975 he directed his first production for the ROH, a ‘stripped-down’ Peter Grimes: an enormous success. His international career never looked back. There were numerous productions at the Garden, the Met, Chicago, Moscow, Florence and in Australia, the first in 1976, a co-production for the Adelaide Festival and The Australian Opera of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck. Many wonderful productions followed: in 1978 the first and best of our stagings of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then Il Trovatore, Boris Godunov, The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, La Traviata and Don Carlo. Happily, several of these are still in the company’s active repertory. Five of his nine productions for the Met are still active; similarly, at the Garden where music director, Antonio Pappano said: ‘I gained so much understanding from him and will be forever grateful. I miss him.’ So will Australia.
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