Lee Goldstein, Former Lyric Opera Composer
Chicago Tribune January 14, 1990 [Birth-date added for this website presentation]
by John von Rhein
Lee Goldstein, 37, an award-winning composer of operas, vocal and music theater works and former composer-in-residence at Lyric Opera of Chicago, died of cardiac arrest Friday at St. Joseph Hospital after a brief illness.
"Mr. Goldstein`s sudden death is very shocking to all of us at Lyric Opera," said Ardis Krainik, the company`s general director. "He was a brilliant, greatly talented man of music and a credit to our composer-in-residence program."
Goldstein, a prolific composer of vocal, dance and theater pieces, was named Lyric Opera`s second composer-in-residence in 1987, succeeding William Neil. The comic opera that resulted from his residency, The Fan, was based on Carlo Goldoni`s farce, Il Ventaglio and directed by librettist Charles Kondek. It had its premiere by the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in June, 1989, at the Blackstone Theatre.
The response of press and public was extremely positive and signaled an important turning point in Mr. Goldstein`s career. "The wonderful success of The Fan had indicated a bright future for Mr. Goldstein," said Krainik. "His friends and colleagues at Lyric Opera are greatly saddened." The Lyric dedicated Friday`s performance of Die Fledermaus to Mr. Goldstein`s memory.
At the time of his death, Mr. Goldstein and Kondek had begun planning an operatic adaptation of the classic stage thriller Angel Street, which once served as the basis for the Charles Boyer-Ingrid Bergman film Gaslight. Mr. Goldstein was also preparing the orchestration for a large-scale choral work.
Born on November 16, 1952, in Woodbury, N.J., Mr. Goldstein held degrees in composition from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, and the Queensborough College of the City University of New York, where he studied with composer Hugo Weisgall, advisor to the Lyric resident-composer program.
Mr. Goldstein also taught at Queensborough College, served as a vocal coach and lecturer on vocal literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and acting director of choral activities at Baldwin-Wallace College.
Mr. Goldstein`s other operas are An Idiot Dance, based on Euripides' The Trojan Women, produced in Ohio in 1976; and Miriam and the Angel of Death, given its premiere at New York`s Jewish Theological Seminary in 1984. His choral part-songs, Robbing Graves, were premiered at Baldwin-Wallace College in 1986 and subsequently performed in Buffalo, Syracuse and New York.
His composition awards include a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and grants from the National Institute for Music Theater, and the Ohio Arts Council.
Survivors include his mother, Edith, a brother and a sister.
A funeral service will be held Monday in Vineland, N.J. A memorial service will be announced shortly.
-- Names which are links on this webpage refer to my Interviews elsewhere on my website. BD
© 1989 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago in early June of
1989. Portions were broadcast on WNIB during the following
This transcription was made in 1990 and was published in The Opera Journal in June of that
year. It was slightly re-edited and posted on this
website at the beginning of 2017.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.