Wesley Balk:

 (1932-2003)

Dr. H. WESLEY BALK (1932-2003)served as artistic director of The Minnesota Opera for almost twenty years, where he earned a national reputation for his imaginative and bold approach to stagings of both traditional opera repertoire and contemporary work. He directed more than 60 productions for the company, including 24 world or American premieres. He also directed productions for many major American opera companies including the New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington Opera, Kansas City Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, and the Central City Opera Festival. From 1966 to 1993, Wesley was also Professor of Theater Arts at the University of Minnesota, where he taught acting, singing-acting, and directing, and directed 14 productions for the University Theatre. In addition, he has directed and/or taught in professional summer training programs for the San Francisco Opera, Wolf Trap Farm Park, Aspen Music Festival, the Peter Harrower Summer Opera Workshop, and the Central City Opera Festival. Wesley translated a number of operas, written many articles and reviews, and created concepts and librettos for five operas. He served in various capacities, from grants panelist to advisory panelist to guest speaker to board member for The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Opera Institute, the Ford Foundation, Central Opera Service, the National Association of Schools of Music, the Theatre Development Fund, and Opera America, where he served as chairman of the Artistic Directors and Professional Training Committees. In 1982, he received the Award for Service to American Opera from the National Opera Institute. Wesley was considered by many in our field to have been one of the leading authorities on training singer-actors, and his books THE COMPLETE SINGER-ACTOR, PERFORMING POWER, and THE RADIANT PERFORMER are widely used in universities and young professional training programs around the world. The Institute staff will always be grateful to him for the playful sense of exploration that he encouraged during our twenty-four years of exciting and creative artistic collaboration.