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John Moriarty, Notable Figure In American Opera, Dies At Age 91

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Central City Opera's Artistic Director Emeritus left a lasting legacy in the arts in Colorado and throughout the country. 

John Moriarty, Notable Figure In American Opera, Dies At Age 91

Central City Opera has announced the passing of Artistic Director Emeritus John Moriarty. Moriarty died in his home located in Fall River, Mass. on January 5th at the age of 91.


Moriarty was a notable conductor, stage director, vocal coach, collaborative pianist, author, educator and administrator. His career with Central City Opera began in 1978 when he was brought to conduct and to create what is now known as the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, an intensive program for up-and-coming opera performers. He then took over as Central City Opera's artistic director in 1982.

"While much of his professional career was spent at Central City Opera, his impact on the opera industry is far-reaching," said General/Artistic Director Pelham "Pat" Pearce. "He was an exceptional teacher and helped develop the careers of some of the most renowned opera performers."

Moriarty's first professional opera position was with Santa Fe Opera, where he also founded an artist training program. He also worked as the director of training and as a conductor at Wolf Trap Opera in addition to several other notable opera companies. He led the opera departments at Boston Conservatory of Music and New England Conservatory. Among his publications is the widely assigned education instruction manual Diction. Training future opera stars was always at the core of his work.

Some of the highlights of his later work at Central City Opera include conducting four productions of The Ballad of Baby Doe (1981, 1988, 1996 and the 50th Anniversary production in 2006), the 2000 production of Dialogues of the Carmelites, Vanessa in 2005 and the world premiere of Gabriel's Daughter in 2003. To honor his 30th anniversary with Central City Opera, a street next to the opera house in Central City was renamed Moriarty Lane. After more than 40 years with Central City Opera, Moriarty officially retired in 2011.

His official obituary can be found here.


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