Remembrance concert to honor Edward Berkeley next week

Aspen Music Festival and School to share works in remembrance of opera program director

The Aspen Music Festival and School will honor and remember longtime opera program director Edward Berkeley with a concert at the Benedict Music Tent at 7 p.m. Aug. 7, the organization announced Monday afternoon.

Young performers from the 2021 Aspen Opera Theatre and VocalARTS program will share works in remembrance of Berkeley at the free event. The show will run approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.

Tickets are not required; attendees will be asked to respect protocols and vaccinated and distanced seating sections. The event also will be livestreamed on the Aspen Music Festival and School Virtual Stage and on the organization’s Facebook Page. Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS co-directors Renée Fleming and Patrick Summers will perform an opening selection exclusively for the livestream.

“The young artists in this summer’s Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS program proposed a concert to remember Ed, including works and projects reflecting his legacy,” said Music Fest president and CEO Alan Fletcher in a prepared statement. “It will encompass the wisdom, humor, drama and musical beauty that were hallmarks of his work.”

Berkeley died suddenly of heart disease at the age of 76 on July 17, hours before a performance of “The Magic Flute” at the Music Tent; the performance went on, dedicated to the director.

He spent 40 seasons on the faculty at the festival, mentoring generations of singers each summer and bringing his athletic stage direction to classics and new operas alike. Much of that tenure also was spent as the director of the Aspen Opera Theater Center, which has rebranded as the Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS program now led by Fleming and Summers; Berkeley remained on that team as the stage director.