American children’s author Maurice Sendak died this morning in Danbury, Conn., aged 83, from complications following a stroke he suffered on Friday, according to longtime caretaker Lynn Caponera.
He wrote 17 books and illustrated nearly 100, none more popular than Where the Wild Things Are, in 1963. It was made into a film in 2009, as well as into an opera.
Sendak had a huge interest in opera and ballet, providing direction and design for numerous production. This included helping Tony Kushner with a new production of Brundibar, a children’s opera written in a Nazi concentration camp.
Sendak’s partner of 50 years, Eugene Glynn, died in 2007. Sendak, who had his first heart attack at age 39, had a quadruple-bypass in 2008 and had slowed down markedly in recent years, but remained keenly interested in any project that involved his books.
A thorough obituary compendium on the Brooklyn native has just been published in The New York Times.
Here is a clip from an opera adaptation Sendak made of Where the Wild Things Are for Glyndebourne in 1984, with British composer Oliver Knussen, followed by a wonderful production of Sergei Prokofiev’s The Love of Three Oranges that he conceived, also for Glyndebourne: