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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Lotfi Mansouri, a former general director of the San Francisco Opera for 13 years, has died. He was 84.

In a press release, the San Francisco Opera said Mansouri died Friday after a brief illness with pancreatic cancer and was surrounded by his family.

The Iranian-born Mansouri left his native country to study medicine in California but music won out. He served as stage director of the Zurich Opera between 1960 and 1966. He also directed productions at leading opera houses in Europe and the United States.

He took over at the San Francisco Opera in 1988 and was responsible for ambitious productions including Jake Heggie's maiden opera, "Dead Man Walking." He also oversaw the first San Francisco productions of many Russian opera masterpieces.

Mansouri is survived by his wife, Marjorie and a daughter, Shireen.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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