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FWO Archives (1949-1953): Fort Worth Opera's 1st General Director, Austrian Conductor Karl Kritz


Karl Kritz, Arnold Schoenberg, and soprano Rose Bampton (1949).
Karl Kritz, FWO's General Director (1949-1953)

Austrian native Karl Kritz, an associate conductor for The Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera, became the Fort Worth Civic Opera's new music director and first full-time General Director.


"An outspoken advocate of opera in English with an aversion to amateurism, Kritz challenged local performance standards during four seasons in Fort Worth. He also introduced innovative and sometimes controversial program formats aimed at attracting new audiences. The strategy limited the stagings of tragic works to just four in four seasons - Faust, Lucia di Lammermoor, Il Trovatore, and Tosca. Kritz also targeted the city's perceived "western" sensibilities with a 1951 stage of Puccini's Girl of the Golden West, based on David Belasco's 1905 melodrama set in the California gold mining camps.

- Jan J. Jones, Renegades, Showmen and Angels. Texas Christian University Press (2006)


Operas & Performances during his tenure:


The Bartered Bride

Faust

• Lucia di Lammermoor

• Il Trovatore

• Tosca

• The Girl of the Golden West

• Rosalinda

• Die Fledermaus

The Marriage of Figaro

Shindig (an original cowboy "Texas-ballet," staged by David Preston, head of TCU Ballet)


Operettas in Conjunction with the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo:

The Merry Widow (featuring film comedians Edward Everett Horton and Sig Arno)

The Desert Song (feat. film star comic, Sterling Holloway)

Jeanne Axtell Walker with cast members of 'The Bartered Bride' (1949). FTW Star-Telegram Collection, UTA Libraries

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