Opera enthusiasts in the Triangle with long memories will recall our first resident company here, the Grassroots Opera Company, so dubbed by its founder, baritone A.J. Fletcher (of Capitol Broadcasting fame). It was to become the National Opera Company (never minding that its focus was mostly the Southeast). That company was in turn eventually relocated to the UNC School of the Arts, where it became the Fletcher Opera Institute. The Fletcher Opera Theater, the small hall on the left as one faces Raleigh’s performing arts center, memorializes the long-running enterprise in the capital.
That’s its history.
But at the outset, the company needed a pianist, and Virginia Phelps Clancy, who passed away in Raleigh on March 31, at the age of 96, was she. In this capacity, she is something of a footnote to history, and it is apparent that her work, artistic and otherwise, was largely in other realms.
Senior CVNCers (those with long memories) join her family, former students, and friends in mourning her passing.
The N&O‘s obit is here.