Today Kentucky Opera had the Lunch and Listen for Iolanta. For those who may not know about this significant program, it's a one-hour preview of whatever opera is coming up. It takes place on Wednesday usually two weeks prior to the production at Louisville Public Media's performance studio hosted by one of the wonderful WUOL hosts such as Scott Dowd, Alan Brandt or Carol Larson. (I would be remiss not to mention Daniel Gilliam who has done many wonderful interviews with Kentucky Opera staff and artists, but has not hosted a Lunch and Listen). The programs are aired live on Classical 90.5 WUOL at lunch time and the small but appreciative live audience can bring their lunch or order a City Cafe box lunch through the opera or the station. The shows are re-broadcast on Classical 90.5 on the following weekend; they are on WUOL’s audio archives and usually broadcast on Metro TV many times. (Unfortunately this particular program was not taped by Metro TV).
David Roth goes over the story and highlights of the operas and introduces the cast, the conductor and director. The main stage artists will perform arias and ensembles to illustrate the plot. It is a unique opportunity for the public to hear the music of the opera and get an in depth description of the libretto. (Look here for a short synopsis and history of Iolanta)
This particular Lunch and Listen was unique in two ways. First, because Iolanta will be performed in concert rather than the full production, the main stage artists are not in town yet. Although the chorus is in rehearsal (David Roth is in the chorus!!) and getting Russian coaching, Anna Shafajinskia and her counter parts will not be in Louisville until a week before the production. Kentucky Opera’s Studio Artists, Heather Phillips and Benjamin Robinson sang for the Lunch and Listen and did a great job.
Another distinctive difference in this Lunch & Listen, the Louisville Orchestra had an ensemble in the studio to perform an excerpt and Rob Birman, the LO’s C.O.O. was introduced as well. The addition of the orchestra was just astounding. This Iolanta concert is collaboration between the two organizations, and this entertaining and educational program exemplified this ideal fusion.
Iolanta will be in concert at Whitney Hall on Saturday, March 21 at 8pm and tickets are available by calling 502.584.7777 or by visiting KYOpera.org.
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