Deceased July 30, 2019

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In Memory

Dave Gyger lived a rich and useful life. He became a respected and admired Australian arts journalist, for three decades running the magazine Opera Australia, later called Opera-Opera. In 2009 his adopted nation (he held dual citizenship) awarded him the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to arts and community. The curiosity that led him Down Under was fed by army service in Korea, where he met Australian soldiers, but his musicality sprang from Boston’s culture, including a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto sung by the revered baritone Leonard Warren.

Amherst developed and exploited these skills. He was news editor of the Student and, I can attest, possessed a vast classical LP collection that adorned the suite we shared at Phi Alpha Psi senior year. The shy, quiet but industrious undergraduate was vigorously coaxed into fraternity membership, to put it mildly.

He landed in Melbourne around the time of the 1956 Olympics and was editor for seven years of the Riverina Express in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. Moving to Canberra in 1966 to join the staff of the Australian, he met Alison Jones, a Ph.D. student and lecturer in the Australian National University English Department. His eldest son, Elliott, a composer, later wrote that Alison’s record collection, including the Solti Ring cycle, was a major attraction. David and Alison were married in 1967 and relocated to Sydney with the Australian. After four years as a sub-editor, he found himself appointed music critic, a post he held for four years that spanned the opening of the grand Sydney Opera House.

David’s opera magazine operation, jointly with Alison, began at the invitation of the Australian Opera. Until 2007 their deep and comprehensive coverage of opera everywhere gave particular encouragement to young artists. They lived forever in Sydney, moving only to be closer to the Opera House. The family, including daughter Helen and son Andrew, were with him when he died. He was too ill to attend Elliott’s second opera. After David died on July 30 at 87, Opera Australia dedicated its next performance, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, to him.

John P. MacKenzie ’52