B1672. SAN FRANCISCO OPERA - 25 ADLER YEARS. San Francisco Opera, 1978. 188pp. Profusely illus. w.numerous photos, many in color; many equally self-serving. (Pictorial thick paper covers)
“Kurt Herbert Adler, a Viennese-born conductor who led the San Francisco Opera for 28 years until his retirement in 1981…shaped it into one of the leading opera ensembles of the world.
The San Francisco Opera was founded in 1923 by Mr. Adler's predecessor, Gaetano Merola, who had a natural predilection for Italian repertory. Mr. Adler brought a different spirit, more oriented toward German repertory, modernism and innovative stage direction. He expanded the repertory, introduced many young singers both European and American, developed summer, apprentice and touring programs and presided over a vast expansion of the season and the budget. An imperious, crusty figure who involved himself with every aspect of the company's operations, Mr. Adler personified opera in San Francisco during the 1950's, 60's and 70's.
Born in 1905 in Vienna and educated at the academy and university, Mr. Adler made his début as a conductor in 1925 at Max Reinhardt's theater in his native city. He subsequently conducted in opera houses in Germany, Italy and Czechoslovakia, and assisted Arturo Toscanini at the 1936 Salzburg Festival.
Emigrating to the United States in 1938, initially for an engagement at the Chicago Opera, he became a United States citizen in 1941. In 1943 he joined the staff of the San Francisco Opera as chorus master, at first commuting from New York. He was appointed artistic director in 1953 and general director in 1956. Following his retirement on Dec. 31, 1981, he was named general director emeritus.
Although he was primarily an administrator during his years as director of the San Francisco company, Mr. Adler also conducted occasionally. He continued to guest-conduct periodically after 1981, in San Francisco and elsewhere, and taught at San Francisco State University.”
- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 11 Feb., 1988