Obituary: Nando Schellen, director of opera

Nando Schellen

Nando Schellen, former director of NAU Opera, died March 28, 2016. He was 81.

Mr. Schellen was born Oct. 11, 1934, in the Netherlands. During his professional career, he was managing director and associate general director of the Netherlands Opera from 1969-1986. Mr. Schellen was directing assistant at the Wagner Bayreuth Festival in Germany, and he began directing his own opera productions in 1982. He served as interim general director of the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam then as president of the Netherlands Wind Ensemble for 23 years. From 1992-1996, he was general artistic director of the Indianapolis Opera.

Mr. Schellen directed more than 70 operas, musicals, operettas and opera scenes in Europe, Canada and the United States over more than four decades.

His teaching career began as opera director with the international summer school Oberlin at Casalmaggiore in northern Italy and continued in 2000 with his appointment as director of NAU’s opera theater, a position he held until his retirement as associate professor emeritus in 2015.

Mr. Schellen and his wife, Deborah Raymond, associate professor of music at NAU, co-founded the Italian summer opera program Flagstaff in Fidenza. He was artistic director of the program for five summers, providing opera training and performing opportunities for aspiring young opera singers.

Mr. Schellen is survived by his wife; sister Marieke; brother John; daughters Eugenie, Saskia and Katia; son Ivo; and grandchildren Eva, Sophie, Jip and Annika.

The NAU School of Music has established the Nando Schellen Opera Singer of Promise Award. Contributions may be made online or sent to the NAU Foundation.

The Arizona District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council has established an award in Mr. Schellen’s name. Inquiries about the Nando Schellen Memorial Fund can be sent to Arlyn Brewster at or by calling (602) 943-1029.

A musical celebration of Mr. Schellen’s life will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 17, in Ardrey Memorial Auditorium, followed by a reception.