Stage director and tenor Lincoln Clark, a mainstay of Seattle Opera and who had a hand in the company’s first, famed “Ring” cycle, died April 22 at his home in Edmonds.
Stage director and tenor Lincoln Clark, a mainstay of Seattle Opera for a decade (1974-84), died Friday, April 22, at his home in Edmonds after a long battle with cancer. He was 90.
Mr. Clark was born in Fort Cobb, Okla., on Jan. 6, 1926. He began his opera career as a voice student in 1946, after serving in the U.S. Navy. He took a job as assistant to Glynn Ross — then director of the L.A. Conservatory Opera, and later the founder and general director of Seattle Opera — and after singing in “La Boheme,” Mr. Clark came to the attention of the renowned singer/teacher Lotte Lehmann. For three years, he studied with her and others at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, which he later called “a life-changing experience.”
Mr. Clark subsequently won a Fulbright grant to study at the Royal Bavarian Music Academy in Munich, which led to 20 years of engagements as a leading tenor in European opera houses.
In 1974, he returned to the U.S. to become resident stage director of Seattle Opera under Ross, working first as assistant to the noted director George London in staging the company’s very first Wagnerian “Ring.” After the first year, London departed and Mr. Clark was left in charge of the then-annual “Ring” for a decade. During that period, he staged the majority of Seattle Opera’s productions, in addition to the summer “Ring” in both German and English cycles.
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After his Seattle years, Mr. Clark moved to Florida State Opera at Florida State University, where he remained for 12 years, during which he initiated the doctoral degree in opera performance and the master’s degree in opera stage direction, as well as inaugurating a study and performance program for American singers at the FSU Study Center in Florence, Italy.
From 1997 until 2014, he presented opera-appreciation classes focused on 19th-century Italian opera for Il Chiostro’s Autumn Arts Festival in Tuscany, near Siena. After returning to Seattle in 2011, he was invited to lecture for the University of Washington’s Osher Life Long Learning program
In 1996, Mr. Clark returned to freelance directing and consulting. He directed productions and held residencies in Portland and Krakow, Poland, as well as the University of Illinois and Ohio University.
Mr. Clark is survived by his wife, mezzo-soprano Patricia Pease Clark; a son, Anthony Heinz Clark, daughter-in-law Rakhi Clark and grandson Aydan Jay Clark, of Friedrichsdorf, Germany; a brother, D. Paul Clark of Fort Worth, Texas; and sisters Fayrene C. Reese and June Rhodes, of Mesa, Ariz., and Lois Lambson, of Tempe, Ariz.
In accordance with his wishes, no funeral or public memorial is scheduled.