Edward Bradberry, whose iron will and passion for music put Augusta on the operatic map, died Sunday in his Augusta home.
Mr. Bradberry was the director of the Augusta Opera and had served the company for more than 30 years. Under his leadership, the Augusta Opera grew from a handful of dedicated enthusiasts to a nationally renowned company.
"He was a man with great artistic imagination and will," said Gloria Greenbaum, past president of the Augusta Opera board of directors and the current vice president of marketing. "It was his vision that drove the opera."
Under Mr. Bradberry's stewardship, the Augusta Opera was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts as a showcase company, co-produced the Georgia Public Television concert event Jessye Norman: A Holiday Homecoming, and served as a springboard for young talent, including the now-renowned Maria Ewing, Brent Ellis and Richard Cowan.
Don Edmunds, the executive director at the Aiken Center for the Arts, worked as Mr. Bradberry's assistant for three years.
"This has created a great big hole," he said. "Between him and (Harry) Jacobs, they did more to bring arts to Augusta than anybody. And Ed did it because, for him, it was a labor of love. That's important to remember. He's left some very big shoes to fill."
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Platt's Funeral Home, Crawford Avenue. The status of the Augusta Opera's upcoming production of Faust, set to open March 20, is uncertain.
Ms. Greenbaum said she feels sure she knows what Mr. Bradberry would want to do.
"I know it sounds corny, but he would want the show to go on," she said. "Ed Bradberry was all show business."
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.