Special Thanks to Mr Gaddes
Gaddes was born in Wallsend, England. He studied at Trinity College of Music in London. At Wigmore Hall, London’s famed recital hall, he created a series of lunchtime concerts designed to give young musicians opportunities to perform. This introduced such artists as flute virtuoso James Galway and the soprano Margaret Price.
He formed his own artists management company, then joined Artists International Management, a company which represents musicians worldwide, including Beverly Sills and conductor John Pritchard, then music director at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. On one of John Crosby’s regular visits to London to hear new singers for the Santa Fe Opera, a summer opera company in Santa Fe, New Mexico which Crosby directed, Gaddes helped him with the audition process. By December 1968, Crosby suggested the possibility of a job in Santa Fe, and from the 1969 season, he became its Artistic Administrator.
Given his knowledge of the British operatic and musical scene of the day, Gaddes was instrumental in spotting the talent of Kiri Te Kanawa and bringing her to the Santa Fe Opera as the “Countess” in The Marriage of Figaro for her US debut during the 1971 summer season. (It was not until her Royal Opera House Covent Garden triumph in December of that year that she achieved international stature). During this period as Artistic Administrator, he introduced artists other than Te Kanawa; these included the conductor Edo de Waart and the mezzo Frederica von Stade (who was also a triumph in the 1971 Figaro). In addition, he was instrumental in arranging for the world premiere of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Yerma, which featured paintings by Giorgio de Chirico
Although Gaddes remained involved with the Santa Fe Opera, he left in 1976 to establish, as co-founder, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and served as its General Director until 1987. Under his leadership, the company achieved international recognition for the development of young artists, the discovery of new singers given the opportunity to perform important roles, and the presentation of a varied repertory. For example, in 1983, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis became the first American opera company to be presented at the Edinburgh International Festival.
As he notes in a 2001 interview, during this period Gaddes sought out and became instrumental in developing the careers of young singers: “I’ve been very active in the careers of Frank Lopardo who is singing “Edgardo” in Lucia di Lammermoor. I gave him his professional debut in 1984 at St Louis. I was also the one who found Alexandra von der Weth, (now singing “Lucia” here). I’ve been instrumental in the careers of Jerry Hadley, Thomas Hampson, Susanne Mentzer and Kevin Langan. A lot of young singers either got their experience here in Santa Fe or at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, which was a great place for giving young singers who had graduated from universities or apprentice programs a chance to perform on stage in their own right”.
After leaving Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Gaddes became President of Grand Center of St. Louis, a midtown performing arts district and served as its President until 1994. He continues to serve on its Board.