Obituary: Arts Administrator Marianne Flettner Dies, Aged 87

By Logan Martell

San Diego Opera has confirmed the passing of Marianne Flettner on Dec. 6, 2020. She is remembered for her service to the arts through the course of over fifty years.

Born in Frankfurt Germany on August 9, 1933, Flettner lived in the forest outside the city in order to avoid bombings during the war. After graduating from Hessel Business College, she worked for several years as a secretary before she moved to America in 1961.

After arriving in New York, Flettner joined the Metropolitan Opera under General Manager Rudolph Bing, working as a secretary from 1963 to 1974. She would spend the next five years as assistant company manager in the rehearsal and touring division, before making the decision to move back to California to serve as Artistic Administrator for San Diego Opera.

“She loved opera and all the people who worked so hard to bring its magic to life,” said General Director Ian D. Campbell. “She was friend, confidant, cheerleader, and den mother to singers, conductors, and stage directors, doing everything she could to help them deliver the best performances, regardless of the stresses they experienced. As artistic administrator she worked closely with me for 30 years. She understood my artistic goals and taste very well, giving me valuable advice when needed. No artistic director could have asked for a more supportive, yet appropriately critical eye, on artistic planning.”

Flettner would retire from the company in 2014 but remained a guest of rehearsals and performances as she shared her enthusiasm and support. She is survived by her sister Charlotte Rordan, and several nieces and nephews.