Mark Flint, a long-time conductor at top opera houses around the country, died on Sunday in a Phoenix hospital, a day before his 58th birthday.
Flint, who spent many summers at the Lake George Opera (now Opera Saratoga), was in Phoenix rehearsing for the Arizona Opera production of “Aida.” He had been battling cancer for five years and was admitted to the hospital on Feb. 20. His death was due to pneumonia brought on by complications from his fight with cancer.
“His first year at Lake George was in 1977, and while he wasn’t here every year he was here most summers,” said Curt Tucker, general director of Opera Saratoga. “I know he had been battling cancer for a while, and I thought he had already beaten it twice. When he was here last summer, he looked pretty good.”
A native of Fairmont, W.V., Flint was also strongly associated with the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Augusta Opera in Georgia, where he served as artistic director from 2003-2009.
“He inspired me, and his talent and devotion to Opera Saratoga was especially admired by our singers and orchestra members,” said Tucker. “I am deeply saddened at the loss.”
Flint conducted the world premiere of Ned Rorem’s “Our Town” at Lake George Opera, and also conducted the first performance outside the United States of Tobias Picker’s “Thérese Raquin” at Montreal Opera. He also worked with New York City Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Florida Grand Opera, Nashville Opera and several others.
“He was a very intelligent and very creative person who expressed himself in subtle ways,” said Tucker. “He had a dry wit and humor, and even in rehearsals if he had to correct someone, he’d more often do it with a dry quip rather than a direct correction.
“He was very knowledgeable and experienced with opera, and that made him very well respected,” added Tucker.
“But he also had this wonderful manner of interacting with people and that really endeared him to our orchestra members and our singers. Some people might say he was a little quirky, but it was in a very endearing way.”
Flint, who lived in Leonia, N.J., when his career wasn’t taking him around the country, is survived by his mother, Jeanne, and his partner of 34 years, Steven Horak.
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