Gio Solimene Ross: The first First Lady of Seattle Opera

Sep 18, 2017 1138


In 1975, just a dozen years after its founding, Seattle Opera created an international sensation when it staged the complete production of Richard Wagner’s “Ring” in the six-day cycle prescribed by the composer. This landmark accomplishment stood the opera world on its ears. Producing the complete operatic masterpiece was seldom seen outside Germany, and it had been almost forty years since the  last time a full “Ring” cycle was presented in the U.S, in 1939’s New York.  Yet, for the  following nine years, from 1975 to 1984, Seattle Opera produced a “Ring” cycle each summer, with one cast singing in German and one in English. 

Glynn Ross, Seattle Opera’s founding director, was the person responsible for putting Seattle on the international opera map. Described as everything from energetic and adventurous to “a hip huckster,” Ross changed the very face of opera in the U.S. in many ways. But putting Seattle Opera on the map was not a one-man show. Ross was assisted along the way by his Italian-born wife, Angelamaria Solimene Ross, known to family and friends as Gio. 

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