Edward Purrington
2008 District Judge


Edward C. Purrington is currently Artistic Consultant to the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program of The Washington National Opera. From 1987 to 2001 he was Artistic Administrator for the Company and deeply involved with casting and scouting emerging talent. He also has had a hand in shaping the contemporary repertory of the Company. He instituted the popular LOOK-IN which introduces elementary school children to “the magic of opera” at the Opera House by way of a “backstage” look at the opera-in-production and a fully staged 30 minute excerpt with orchestra.


Before coming to Washington he was for twelve years General Director of Tulsa Opera during which the Company experienced major expansion in diversity of repertory and style of production, developments recognized on national television.


For thirteen seasons (1959-1971) he worked with the fledgling Santa Fe Opera as stage manager, stage director, instructor in the Apprentice Program, business manager and director of development and public relations. He was Company Manager for their 1961 tour to West Berlin and Belgrade. At Santa Fe he had the rare opportunity to work directly with composers Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, Gian Carlo Menotti and Krzysztof Penderecki. In Washington he worked again with Menotti, and Carlisle Floyd, Jin Xiang (Savage Land sung in Chinese), Robert Ward, Conrad Susa and Dominick Argento on productions of their operas.


For three years (1972-1974) as Chairman of the Performing Arts Department at the College of Santa Fe, he was charged with broadening the curriculum and extending outreach into the barrios and pueblos of Northern New Mexico.


A native of Holyoke, Massachusetts, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts and a Master of Arts degree from the School of Dramatic Arts at Columbia University. He served in the United States Air Force for four years.


He has been a participant on numerous panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and performed many on-site evaluations of opera companies for the Endowment. He continues to judge at various national vocal competitions and for three years served as one of the international jurors in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia. He regularly judges district and regional auditions for the Metropolitan Opera National Council. At the annual conference of OPERA America in 2002 he was presented with a special honor “in Recognition of Distinguished Service to the Field of Opera.”


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