Marvin David Levy 1932-2015
Marvin David Levy, the American composer who shot to fame at age 35 when his opera, Mourning Becomes Electra, premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in its inaugural season at Lincoln Center in 1967, died Monday in a nursing home in Fort Lauderdale after a short illness. He was 82 years old.
Levy’s opera, an adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s play of the same name, depicted the murderous and haunted Mannon family of New England in an intense, roiling score. The opera received mixed reviews at its Met premiere. In 1998, the Lyric Opera of Chicago presented a version of Mourning substantially revised by the composer, which received wide accolades. Mourning was subsequently produced with great success at Seattle Opera and New York City Opera.
Levy was a longtime resident of Fort Lauderdale. In 2013 Florida Grand Opera presented Mourning at the Broward Center in his hometown as well as in Miami.
“Marvin and Morning Becomes Electra were both such important parts of my life,” said soprano Lauren Flanigan who performed the lead role of Christine more than any other singer, including in the Lyric Opera and FGO performances.
“I loved spending time with him. He was always reworking the opera, wanting to make it work better for the audience. I just loved that every time we got together to put it on the stage again nothing was reductive. The spirit of the rehearsals was always creative.”
“I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside Marvin during our 2013 production of Mourning Becomes Electra,” said FGO general director Susan T. Danis. “We cast together, looked at concept together—it was amazing. I will miss his spirit, sense of humor, and wit more than words can express.”
Levy is survived by a sister and nephew. Service arrangements are pending.