Paul Edward Kellogg came to Cooperstown, New York, in 1975 to write, but stayed to develop one of the premiere summer opera and music-theater festivals in the United States. He leaves as a highly respected and well-beloved member of the greater Cooperstown community. Paul Kellogg died in Cooperstown at Bassett Hospital on April 28, 2021, of natural causes. He was 84.
Kellogg was born on March 11,1937, in Hollywood, California, into a family passionate about music. His father, Harold Kellogg, a student of Jean de Reszke and Oscar Seagle, worked at 20th Century Fox teaching voice projection and diction. His mother, Maxine, was an accomplished pianist. Kellogg, however, began his career focused on another art form — language. He and his parents moved to Texas in the late 1940s, and Kellogg received his undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. He continued his studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and at Columbia University. In 1967, he joined the faculty of the Allen-Stevenson School in New York City as a French teacher, and ultimately became Assistant Headmaster and Head of the Lower School. He relocated to Cooperstown in 1975.
In Cooperstown, Kellogg met a community eager to create art. In July of that same year, Glimmerglass Opera produced, in its founding season, four performances of Puccini’s La bohème, staged in the Cooperstown High School auditorium. Kellogg became involved with the company the following season when his partner, Raymond Han, a world-renowned painter and sculptor, was asked to work on the sets of La Traviata, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci. Kellogg initially intended to work on the sets with Han, but ultimately turned his attention to props. From then on, Kellogg loved instilling the art of opera into the Cooperstown community.
In 1979, Kellogg was appointed Glimmerglass Opera’s Executive Manager. His title shifted over time as he expanded his duties with the company, becoming General Manager in 1984, General Director in 1987 and General & Artistic Director in 1995. Under Kellogg’s leadership, the Festival Season grew to include four fully staged productions each summer. In 1987, the company opened the Alice Busch Opera Theater, a newly built professional theater designed by Hugh Hardy, which Glimmerglass calls home to this day. Its construction and opening sealed the company’s evolution from a community organization to a major international festival. In 1988, Kellogg helped establish the company’s Young American Artists Program (now the Young Artists Program), which continues to be a premiere training ground for singers like Christine Goerke, Anthony Roth Costanzo and Rachele Gilmore. Kellogg’s 26-year tenure saw productions of rarities by composers ranging from Claudio Monteverdi and Francesco Cavalli to John Philip Sousa and Benjamin Britten, as well as innovative approaches to standard repertory led by directors such as Martha Clarke, Mark Lamos, Jonathan Miller, Simon Callow and Leon Major.
In 1996, shortly after becoming General & Artistic Director of Glimmerglass Opera, Kellogg was named General & Artistic Director of New York City Opera. With this combination of duties, Kellogg crafted a special partnership between the two companies with numerous shared productions, including Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, Tosca and The Mother of Us All. In total, Kellogg produced 62 new operas at New York City Opera, about half of which originated in Cooperstown. In 1999 he inaugurated an annual series of new opera readings with the New York City Opera Orchestra.
His last season at Glimmerglass was in 2006, and his final year at New York City Opera was 2007.
In addition to these posts, he served on the board of OPERA America and frequently worked with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He also served on the boards of the Clark Foundation, Shen Wei Dance Arts and the New York State Historical Association.
Kellogg received the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture in 2007 and the honor of Arts Administrator of the Year from the International Society of Performing Arts Administrators. He was also the recipient of OPERA America’s Distinguished Service to the Field Award and received special citations from New York State Governor George Pataki, in 1998, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in 2007.
Paul Kellogg was a beloved and visionary leader in the arts. His extraordinary artistic sensibility, his warmth and charm and his commitment to humanistic values made him an inspiration to all with whom he came in contact. He will be sorely missed by his friends, colleagues and the whole opera community.
Kellogg was predeceased by his longtime partner and husband, Raymond Han. There will be a celebration of life open to everyone in the summer 2021. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to your favorite charity or to the Paul Kellogg and Raymond Han Foundation Inc. in support of the arts (c/o Schlather & Birch, 192 Main St., Cooperstown, NY 13326).