Leonard Treash

Leonard TreashBefore joining the Eastman faculty in 1947, Leonard Treash (1909-1996) was already well known in the world of opera. An outstanding operatic basso, he performed in leading roles under such conductors as Fritz Reiner, Leopold Stokowski, Artur Rodzinski, and Erich Leinsdorf. In 1935, he won the National Federation of Music Clubs Award as the most promising young American singer. However, his interests ranged beyond performing. He was fascinated with the drama and the staging of opera, and accepted the invitation to head the voice and opera departments at Baldwin-Wallace College. At Eastman, Mr. Treash served on the voice faculty and later as head of the voice department. He then took over as director of the opera program. During his 29 years, the Eastman Opera Theatre thrived on his energy and ingenuity in hundreds of productions of major works, both traditional and contemporary. Treash believed audiences would enjoy opera more if productions were presented in their native language, so he translated most of the 80 operas he produced and directed into English. In 1953 Mr. Treash founded “Opera Under the Stars,” an outdoor summer opera series in Highland Park that ran until 1976. He served as director and producer of the Chautauqua Opera Association for fifteen years, presenting an average of seven operas each summer.

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