Obituary: Former Met Manager Stephen A. Brown Dies

By Francisco Salazar

Former Met stage manager and director Stephen A. Brown has died.

Born in London, Brown worked with the Metropolitan Opera for nearly 40 years and retired in 2017. Prior to his career at the Met, he earned his degree from the Royal College of Music and a diploma in Stage Management from the London Opera Center and also worked for a number of major international companies, including the Bolshoi Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, and the Kirov Opera.

When he began his career at the Met he oversaw an $85 million dollar budget and the scheduling for the Artistic Department.

In a statement obtained by Slippedisc, Peter Gelb said, “I’m sorry to report the sad news that Stephen Brown, our much beloved Company Manager from 1997 to 2017, and before that a highly respected Met Stage Manager from 1979 to 1997, died on July 5 from a recently diagnosed illness.”

He continued, “Opera was Stephen’s passion, and he put his vast knowledge to work in a Met career that lasted almost four decades until his retirement in 2017. As a gifted stage manager, Stephen exercised the immense responsibilities of that job with confidence, tact, and humor. As Company Manager, Stephen’s familiarity with our productions and his ability to direct our artistic forces earned him the respect and admiration of the entire company. Artists and fellow staff members alike relied on Stephen’s leadership and deeply valued his support. Outside of his work at the Met, Stephen had an impressive resumé as a director of theatrical productions and as a stage manager for theater and ballet companies in addition to his operatic work. He frequently wrote and lectured authoritatively about opera and often served as a panelist on the Met’s Opera Quiz during the Saturday Matinee Radio Broadcasts. Stephen grew up in London and graduated from the Royal College of Music. Before moving to New York, Stephen worked as a stage manager and company manager for the UK’s Royal National Theater under Sir Peter Hall.”

The General Manager added, “Stephen had a particular love of Wagner’s operas and an encyclopedic knowledge of their performance history. Among many other productions, he was stage manager for the Met’s historic Otto Schenk Ring cycle in the 1980s. Among his Met colleagues, Stephen had a reputation as a lively raconteur, and he would regularly relate backstage anecdotes that astounded and amused. Though he retired in 2017, Stephen remained a vibrant presence at the Met. We extend our condolences to his wife, Leslie, daughter, Sasha, and to all his family and countless friends and admirers. Memorial services in New York and London will be announced at a later date.”