Remembering Frank Monachino

September 12, 2003

Inside Tulane Staff
Phone: (504) 865-5714

On Aug. 1, 2003, Tulane lost one of its brightest stars. Frank Monachino, the founder and director of the much-acclaimed Summer Lyric Theatre and the former chair of the music department, died suddenly and unexpectedly.

MonacinoWith his wonderful vision, creativity, warmth and talent Monachino touched the lives of countless students, colleagues and indeed the entire New Orleans community through his passion for and love of that great American art form, the Broadway Musical.

More than 35 years ago, Monachino formed Summer Lyric Theatre with a vision to bring together community and campus by presenting the highest quality musical theater. He designed Summer Lyric Theatre to be a catalyst in the performing arts, joining professional performers, teachers, college students and members of the community to produce musical theater of outstanding merit. In the process, young artists -- and the teaching facilities to nurture them -- were developed.

In fact, many of Monachino's former students have gone on to perform on theater, opera and concert stages the world over, including Anthony Laciura, Mark Embree and Leslie Castay. The focus of Summer Lyric was -- and remains to this day -- on the great and glorious music written especially for the theater.

This single-minded focus has allowed Summer Lyric to grow into one of the finest and most respected musical theatre companies in the Gulf-South, if not the nation. Monachino enjoyed a successful career in opera and performed extensively in New York and Europe as a concert and opera singer, including a stint as a member of the original cast of the NBC-TV opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti.

He also was a member of the original cast of Menotti's The Consul, which premiered on Broadway. In 1962, Monachino answered the call to teach, bringing his unique voice and opera workshops to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, where he taught for five years before joining the faculty at Tulane as voice teacher and opera director.

While at Tulane, he produced and/or directed more than 100 opera, operetta and musical theater productions both on and off campus.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000