Richard Gaddes, Opera Impresario Who Spotted Young Talent, Dies at 81

Richard Gaddes, a British-born opera impresario who nurtured young talent as director of companies in Santa Fe, N.M., and St Louis, died on Dec. 12 in Manhattan. He was 81.

His death, in a hospital, was confirmed by the Santa Fe Opera, where he served as general director for eight years, and by the Opera Theater of Saint Louis, of which he was a founder. The executor of his estate, Maria Schlafly, said he died after a brief illness.

Leading the two companies over several decades, Mr. Gaddes (pronounced GAD-iss) helped spur the careers of younger stars like Thomas Hampson, Christine Brewer and Frank Lopardo, and brought prominent artists well known in Europe, like the soprano Kiri Te Kanawa and the conductor Edo de Waart, to audiences in the United States.

His generous, open-minded embrace of an art form he saw as encompassing all others spurred his attempts to open it up — to new artists, new audiences and new works. In Santa Fe, he offered discounted tickets to New Mexico residents and staged a production of “The Beggar’s Opera”at the city’s El Museo Cultural using mostly local performers.

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