Moran Caplat, who during his 36 years managing the Glyndebourne Opera Festival in Britain, helped turn it into one of the pre-eminent musical events in Europe, died at Tunbridge Wells on June 19. He was 86.
The native of Kent first set out to be an actor and enrolled in the Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Art. An avid seaman, he joined the Royal Navy in World War II and commanded a steamer that helped evacuate British forces at Dunkirk. He served on a submarine, but his boat was torpedoed and he was held as a POW in Tuscany.
After the war he started at Glyndebourne as an assistant to general manager Rudolf Bing. When Bing left to take over New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1949, Caplat replaced him and remained in the post until his 1981 retirement.
He was in charge of both day-to-day operations for the opera house and chose the singers as well, touring Europe in winters looking for talent. He lured conductor Fritz Busch back to the festival after a period away, organized several performances by the Glynbdebourne Company at the Edinburgh Festival and several foreign tours. He also convinced important British artists, includihng John Piper, Leslie Hurry and Osbert Lancaster, to design Glyndebourne festival sets.
He published an autobiography, “Dinghies to Divas,” in 1958.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Diana, ; a son, and two daughters.