Roman Terleckyj, 55

Roman Terleckyj, 55; oversaw Kennedy Center programs

Roman Terleckyj also worked at the Washington National Opera.
Roman Terleckyj also worked at the Washington National Opera. (Mary Lou Foy/the Washington Post)
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Roman Terleckyj, 55, a specialist in artistic administration who became production director at the Washington National Opera and helped oversee programming at the Kennedy Center, died Nov. 22 at a hospital in Greensboro, Ga. He had congestive heart failure.

Mr. Terleckyj's theater career spanned four decades, during which time he served as an assistant to opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti and staged many opera productions in addition to his administrative roles at major companies. Mr. Terleckyj (pronounced Ter-lecky) had spent the past three years building a performing arts organization in central Georgia, the Oconee Performing Arts Society.

Francis Rizzo, a longtime administrator for performing arts companies in the Washington area, said Mr. Terleckyj had tremendous organizational skills and was a leading troubleshooter for demanding productions.

Mr. Terleckyj worked at the Kennedy Center from 1997 to 2006, serving much of the time as vice president of artistic programming under President Michael Kaiser. He oversaw the development and coordination of more than 3,000 performances at the center each season -- including festivals of country music, French contemporary theater and a British theater -- and cooperative programming with other cultural institutions in the area.

Mr. Terleckyj had worked at the Washington National Opera from 1979 to 1996, initially as a production assistant and later as production director. In the second job, he played a crucial backstage role handling many aspects of a show, including negotiations with the stagehands' union and making sure costumes arrived on time. He also directed more than 25 productions for the company.

While working at the Washington National Opera, Mr. Terleckyj was an assistant in the 1980s to Menotti, who wrote the perennial Christmas favorite "Amahl and the Night Visitors." Mr. Terleckyj helped coordinate Menotti's Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, and Menotti's Spoleto festivals in the United States and Australia. He also received a prize from Italian music critics for his staging of Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" at the 1993 Spoleto festival in Italy.

Roman Terleckyj was born in Bradford, England, to Ukrainian immigrants and grew up with his family in the Detroit area. He studied voice at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., where an early mentor, David DiChiera, encouraged his interest in artistic administration.

At the outset of his career, Mr. Terleckyj was an assistant to Broadway director Albert Marre and was a producer, stage director and production coordinator for arts organizations including the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit, the Civic Opera of the Palm Beaches in Florida and the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico.

Survivors include his companion of 19 years, Greg Barnard of Greensboro; his mother, Ksenia Fedak of Sterling Heights, Mich.; a sister; and a half brother.

-- Adam Bernstein

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