Obituary: Leading Opera Director Graham Vick Dies at 67

By Francisco Salazar

English director Graham Vick has died at the age of 67.

The director died of complications arising from COVID-19.

Born on Dec. 30, 1953, in Birkenhead, England, Vick studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and went on to make his directing debut at the age of 24. He directed a production of Gustav Holst’s “Savitri” for the Scottish Opera and became the company’s director of productions in 1984. In 1987 he founded the Birmingham Opera Company where he became the companies Artistic Director. In 1994, he was named the director of productions at the Glyndebourne Opera festival where he would remain until 2000.

The director would become well known throughout the world directing at every major company including the Royal Opera where he made his debut in 1989 and went on to direct such operas as “Mitridate, re di Ponto,” “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” “King Arthur,” “The Midsummer Marriage,” “The Merry Widow,” “Falstaff,” and “Tamerlano.”

He also directed many productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Regio di Parma, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Rossini Opera Festival, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Mariinsky Theatre, Opera di Roma, Teatro alla Scala, and Paris Opera, among others.

Some of his most acclaimed works were Der Ring des Nibelungen at Lisbon and Palermo, “Tristan und Isolde” at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, “Otello” at the Teatro alla Scala, and “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

Vick was honored with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Honorary Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham, and International Chair of Opera at the RNCM. He was also awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2016 and was made a CBE in 2009.

Many of the director’s productions have been released or recorded including “Lulu” at Glyndebourne, “Stiffelio” from the Teatro Regio di Parma, “Falstaff” at the Royal Opera, “Otello” at the Teatro alla Scala, “La Boheme” from the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and “Guillaume Tell” at the Rossini Opera Festival.

Many opera companies have expressed their condolences upon learning of his passing including the Royal Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Opera di Roma, Rossini Opera Festival, Teatro Regio di Parma, Teatro la Fenice, Birmingham Opera Company, and Maggio Musicale Florentino.

Here are some of his productions: