I, too, am profoundly saddened by the reports of the death of Sir Charles Mackerras. As Lisa Hirsch points out
, he was a musician with a long list of accomplishments, but perhaps none so towering as turning Leos Janacek from a beloved regional composer into one of the towering figures of 20th-Century opera. He issued new editions of Janacek’s major operatic works and championed them at first in English, and later in the composer’s own beautiful native language. I’ll admit my bias – these works are among some of my favorites, and hearing Mackerras conduct Jenufa
and Katya Kabanova
are some of my favorite operatic memories. And, even though I never got the chance to hear him lead The Cunning Little Vixen
(which Mackerras is conducting in the clip above), it is certain that without his work and advocacy, the daunting beauty of this opera would still be unknown to me. And how do you thank someone for bringing art like that into your life? I don’t know, but thank you Sir Charles. You will be terribly missed.