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Los Angeles Opera's Peter Hemmings

January 09, 2002

I was lucky to have worked for Peter Hemmings at the Los Angeles Opera, where he was founding general director (obituary, Jan. 4). His brilliance, artistic taste, creativity and deep love of opera were equaled by his kindness and dedication to his staff and to the community of Los Angeles.

His commitment to children led to the Los Angeles Opera becoming an international leader in opera education. I shall never forget the vision of this elegant and aristocratic gentleman attending operas about teenage immigrants or inner-city cricket teams performed by his beloved resident artists and schoolchildren at Manual Arts High School, or watching him squeeze into pint-sized auditorium seats at 168th Street Elementary. He believed wholeheartedly that opera is for everyone, and his daring and democratic vision helped opera finally succeed in Los Angeles.

We all missed him after he and his wife retired and moved back to England; the void his death leaves cannot ever be filled.

Llewellyn Crain

Los Angeles

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