Stephen Crout (1944-2021)

Stephen Crout, founder of Washington Concert Opera and longtime director of arts troupes in the DC area and Virginia, has died at 77.

A native of Elmira, NY, Crout trained as a pianist and singer, performing in both roles in New York’s Gregg Smith Singers in the 1970s. In 1980, he joined The Washington Opera (now Washington National Opera), becoming its chorus master. In 1986, he launched Washington Concert Opera to present works rarely staged in US opera houses. He cast his productions with young singers who went on to stellar careers, among them Renée Fleming, Denyce Graves and Ben Heppner.

From 1991 to 1993, Crout was artistic director at the Ash Lawn-Highland Festival, whose summer season featured operas staged in the boxwood garden of James Monroe’s hilltop estate near Charlottesville. The company subsequently evolved into Charlottesville Opera.

Crout was music director of The Washington Ballet from 1989 to 2001, and guest-conducted at Wolf Trap Opera, Virginia Opera and other opera and ballet companies.

An obituary by Francisco Salazar for Opera Wire:

Obitutary: Washington Concert Opera Founder Stephen Crout Dies at 77

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