Richard Marshall - Marshall Opera

Our company honors the legacy of Richard Marshall, whose career spanned over seven decades.

Richard Marshall has conducted operas in Tokyo, Boston, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and in most of the Northeast’s major cities. He studied conducting at the Metropolitan Opera and was one of two participants from the U.S. in the Toscanini International Opera Conducting Contest in Rome. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in Opera Conducting from Indiana University.

From 1976–1982, Marshall was general director of the Charlotte Opera. Prior to Charlotte, he was head of opera at the Boston Conservatory; founder and director of the New England Regional Opera in Boston, where he produced, staged, and conducted the East Coast première of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men; and head of opera and choral music at the University of Buffalo.

While in Charlotte, he commissioned Robert Ward to compose Abelard and Heloise for Charlotte Opera, which he produced and conducted – the first commission the company had awarded and the first contemporary American opera it had performed. The performances were recorded by South Carolina Educational Television for use on the Great Performance series on Nnational Public Broadcasting.

In 1982, he moved to New York City to found the Center for Contemporary Opera (CCO), a company dedicated to producing the works of American composers. For twenty-five years he devoted himself to this organization. 

With the Center for Contemporary Opera, he produced fifty-one operas including seventeen premières in a company that has been called “the established modern opera company in New York.” 

An avid photographer, Richard Marshall retired from The Center for Contemporary Opera in 2008 and lives in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont where he maintains a lovely home and extensive gardens.

Barry Cohen, writing in New Music Connoisseur following the 2002 production of Stephen Paulus and Joan Vail Thorne’s Summer, said:

“This production shows what a remarkable institution the CCO has become after but a score of years.” Besides panel discussions, special tributes and other programs, it has produced 40 operatic events, including fourteen premières; all on a budget that is minor league compared to the world class mega forces. But how many American operas has the Met staged in ten years? This was the crux of Richard Marshall’s initial mission – to develop an operatic counterpart to the American Composers Orchestra, no mean task. And to fulfill that mission he attracted meaningful support and counsel so that the finest composers for the stage could see their works produced on a commendable professional level. They have. BRAVO!

New York Times critic Anthony Tomassini wrote:

“Since 1982 the Center for Contemporary Opera, founded by the conductor Richard Marshall, has presented productions of 37 new or recent operas. No company large or small has a better record of service to the cause.”

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