Opera Libera Inc.  -
About Us
        When John Douglas passed away in 2010, his death was rather sudden and unexpected to most of his former students. Unsure of exactly how to recognize the profound influence that he had on so many singers, a group of Temple alumni decided to form a new opera company, called Opera Libera, to honor his memory.  The founding members of Opera Libera are honored to have the faculty, staff members and students from Temple U. as well as friends and family who knew and loved John to be in attendance to witness this first event in what we hope will be a long tradition of quality operas presented in his memory.
       John T. Douglas (1956-2010) was an acclaimed opera conductor, coach, accompanist, and teacher.  He leaves behind Melissa, his wife of 33 years, son Matthew and daughter Willa, sister Dr. Sara Douglas, parents Dr. John and Marilyn Douglas, and many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and countless friends and colleagues who loved and admired him.  Born in Morgantown, WV, he spent most of his childhood in Lexington, KY.  He graduated with honors from Wittenburg University in 1977, and earned a MM in piano performance from Bowling Green State University in 1979, again with honors.  John joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory in 1979 and the Boston Conservatory in 1980.  As the Head of Music Staff at both renowned institutions, he taught diction, repertoire, and accompanying, and directed, conducted, and performed in numerous productions.  In 1989, John and Melissa moved to Elkins Park, PA, when John became the Music Director and Conductor of Temple University Opera Theater.  In his 21 years at Temple, he conducted 50 productions of major operatic works from both the standard and contemporary repertoire, earning four prestigious National Opera Awards and tremendous critical acclaim. Over the years, as the reputation of the Temple Opera Theater grew, so did his demands outside of the University.  He spent summers as the Music Director of the Ash Lawn-Highland Summer Opera Festival and as a coach and teacher at Chautauqua Opera. In 2003, he became the Director of the Apprentice Program and the Head of Music Staff at Lake George Opera, a position he held until a few weeks before he passed away.  John also concertized with many major singers of our time, including Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Denyce Graves, Victoria Livengood, and William Parker.  While audiences enjoyed his superb artistry, his family and friends also recall his wonderful sense of humor, his athleticism, his enthusiastic, instinctive generosity, and the joyful delight he took in the success and happiness of those around him.
From Melisa Douglas, his wife
   " I was honored when members of Opera Libera approached me to memorialize John.  Opera Libera is unique in creating a venue for young artists to perfect their art and utilize the skills John taught them.  John spent his career working with young singers, helping to develop their vocal artistry and  prepare them for a professional life as a vocal artist.  I can think of no better way to celebrate John's life's work than by putting into practice the skills he nurtured in his students. " 
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