Elijah Moshinsky, Met Opera Director With Fanciful Touch, Dies at 75

His anti-picture-book concept, with a stark set, proved a more effective fit for the vocally powerful, dramatically volatile Mr. Vickers....


His anti-picture-book concept, with a stark set, proved a more effective fit for the vocally powerful, dramatically volatile Mr. Vickers. The production (which can be seen on video) and Mr. Vickers’s performance, were triumphs, and changed the general understanding of the opera.

The next year, Peter Hall, the director of the National Theater in London, invited Mr. Moshinsky to direct a production of Thomas Bernhard’s play “The Force of Habit,” which Mr. Moshinsky described in the BBC interview as a comedic parable in which a “group of circus performers try to play Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet, but can’t.” The production was a dismal failure, running for just six performances.

But that same year Mr. Moshinsky found his footing with an acclaimed production of Berg’s “Wozzeck” for the Adelaide Festival, presented by the Australian Opera (now Opera Australia). Over subsequent years he directed more than 15 productions for the company, including “Boris Godunov,” “Werther” “Dialogues des Carmélites” and “Don Carlos.” At the Royal Opera, he presented notable productions of “Lohengrin,” “Tannhaüser” and “The Rake’s Progress,” as well as some Verdi rarities, including “Stiffelio” and “Attila.”

Mr. Moshinsky met Ruth Dyttman during a Melbourne Youth Theater production of Brecht’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” in 1967. He did the set designs; she was in the cast. They married in 1970. Ms. Dyttman, a lawyer, survives him, along with their two sons, Benjamin and Jonathan, and his brothers, Sam and Nathan.

Mr. Moshinsky was an active theater director, working at the National Theater, the Royal Shakespeare Company and other institutions. He directed several productions for the BBC television series of Shakespeare’s plays, including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with a cast including Helen Mirren, Robert Lindsay and Nigel Davenport.

It was an enchanting production, John O’Connor wrote in a 1982 review for The Times, that “fully captures each major aspect of the play, from royal romp to witty comedy, from ominous rumblings in the forest to joyous celebrations.”

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Newsrust: Elijah Moshinsky, Met Opera Director With Fanciful Touch, Dies at 75
Elijah Moshinsky, Met Opera Director With Fanciful Touch, Dies at 75
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