Opera Conductor Randall Behr Dies Suddenly

Classic Arts News   Opera Conductor Randall Behr Dies Suddenly
Randall Behr, a former conductor for the Los Angeles Opera and American Ballet Theatre, died yesterday in Bloomington, Indiana, according to a statement issued by the Indiana University School of Music.

Behr was in Bloomington to conduct a production of Mozart's CosÐ fan tutte at the conservatory.

According to a report in the Indiana Daily Student, Behr died without warning in his sleep at a Bloomington hotel. His age was not immediately available, but the paper says he was in his early 50s.

Behr served as resident conductor, chorus master, and head of music staff for the Los Angeles Opera, and led more than 20 productions there between 1988 and 1995. Previously he been music director of Long Beach Opera, where he conducted the American premiere of the original version of Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, among other works. He conducted the American Ballet Theatre orchestra in the early 1980s, and also led Peter Brook's La trag_die de Carmen on Broadway.

He made guest-conducting appearances at the Vienna State Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Canadian Opera Company, San Francisco Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Central City Opera, and many other companies. He was resident conductor at Marilyn Horne's Music Academy of the West and music director of the Juilliard Opera Center. He had previously led two productions at IU and was beloved by students, according to the Daily Student.

The university's production of CosÐ fan tutte, which opens on September 23, will be dedicated to Behr's memory, a spokesman said.

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