Sir Rudolf Bing was born on 9 January, 1902 in Vienna, Austro-Hungarian Empire and died on 2 September, 1997 from Alzheimer’s disease and respiratory failure aged 95 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers, New York.
Sir Rudolf Bing was an Austrian-born opera impresario. Sir Rudolf Bing was General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1950 to 1972. Sir Rudolf Bing was knighted in 1971.
Sir Rudolf Bing was born to a well-to-do Jewish family(his father was an industrialist) Sir Rudolf Bing studied at the University of Vienna and as a young man worked in theatrical and concert agencies. In 1927 he went to Berlin, Germany and subsequently served as general manager of opera houses in that city and in Darmstadt.
While in Berlin, he married a Russian ballerina, but in 1934, with the rise of Nazi Germany the Bings moved to Great Britain where, in 1946 Sir Rudolph Bing became a naturalised British subject. There he helped to found the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and, after the war, organized the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland.
In 1949 he went to the United States, to become General Manager of the Metropolitan the following year, a post he held for 22 years. Sir Rudolph Bing supervised the move of the old Metropolitan to its new quarters in Lincoln Center and his administration was, by any account, one of the great eras of Metropolitan Opera. It was summed up as follows:
Wielding his powerful position at the Metropolitan Opera with intense personal charisma over two decades, Sir Rudolf Bing ruled much of the operatic universe in autocratic fashion, nurturing young artists and cutting superstars down to size with equal enthusiasm. Sir Rudolph Bing oversaw the abandonment in 1966 of the stately but somewhat dilapidated old Metropolitan Opera House and the construction of a grand monument to his regime, the building the company now occupies, which dominates Lincoln Center. For good or ill, his conservative musical and dramatic bent, predilection for Italian opera and concern for theatrical values yielded an identifiable artistic legacy.
During Sir Rudolph Bing’s tenure, Marian Anderson became the first African American to sing at the house.
After leaving the Met, Sir Rudolph Bing wrote 2 books, 5000 Nights at the Opera
(1972) and A Knight at the Opera (1981).
Sir Rudolf Bing’s wife Nina died in 1983. In January 1987, he married again and his wife took him to the Caribbean. However, she was reputedly unbalanced, and as he himself had been suffering for many years from Alzheimer’s disease, an American court eventually declared him incompetent to enter into a marriage contract and annulled the marriage. The case was a cause célèbre.
In 1989 Roberta Peters and Teresa Stratas arranged for Sir Rudolph Bing to be admitted to The Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale, Bronx, where he resided until his death.
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