Mark Richter, director of the Alamo City Opera, passed away over the weekend. He was leading the Opera into its seventh season.
Kristin Roach, Alamo City's Music Director, explained that he traveled a long professional journey before he became director.
"Well, he started off as a singer, and he had this group called the Three Tenors,” she said. “So I'm sure he and George Cortes are already organizing performances up there in heaven."
Cortes, Jacob Cantu and Mark Richter named their group in tribute to the internationally-famous trio of singers: Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti. When Cortes died, Richter's group broke up.
But Carol Karotkin, chair of the opera's board, said San Antonio’s Three Tenors enjoy a lasting legacy.
"He was the one that many, many years ago started the resurgence of the new opera here. He started with four people on a stage and a piano in a pit over at the Playhouse," she said.
Richter started Pocket Opera, then created Opera San Antonio, Opera Piccola, and finally Alamo City Opera. Besides founding several opera companies, Richter brought major acts to San Antonio, including tenor Domingo, Patti Lupone, and Andrea Bocelli. He enjoyed personal connections with the superstars, who appreciated his talent.
"He still is very close friends to Placido Domingo and his family and to Bocelli and his family,” Karotkin said. “He talks to them frequently, and whenever they've been anywhere near here, he is always with them."
A few years back, Karotkin was with Richter when he received a call from Bocelli in Austin.
"He asked Mark to come over and do the sound check because he thought Mark had the best ear in the business,” Karotkin said. “And there can be no greater compliment in the business than that."
Richter was 51 when he died. Karotkin said his accomplishments in San Antonio were hard to overstate.
"I think that this man really helped raise the cultural bar San Antonio. He's respected by the community that is interested in the arts," she said.
Kristin Roach says there was another kind of metric to measure Richter:
"The number of people whose lives he touched, the number of opportunities he provided for artists, musicians, singers, producers, stage hands," she said.
Richter's cousin, Laura Lozano, has started a Go Fund Me account to pay for Richter's 11-day hospital stay and his funeral expenses.
Services are pending.