Speight Jenkins Jr., the Dallas-born music-critic-turned-impresario, has announced that he will retire in 2014 from the opera company he’s run since 1983. Jenkins famously was asked to run the Seattle Opera after he impressed the board of trustees as a guest lecturer for the company’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen. At the time, he was a freelance writer who’d recently been the critic for the New York Post.
Coincidentally, one of the opera’s next productions before Jenkins retires is a revival of his 2001 “green” production of Der Ring — that is, not so much environmentally friendly as emphatically woodsy. It will mark the 200th anniversary of Wagner’s birth and the 50th anniversary of the Seattle Opera.
Jenkins is a former Dallas Times Herald classical music critic and the grandson of one of the founders of SMU and the Dallas Symphony.