Monday, December 20, 2010

Kentucky Opera in PRINT!

Lookie lookie who made the cover of Opera America's "Year in Review"

Yes folks, you got it right! That's Elizabeth Futral and Sebastian Gueze in the opening production of Kentucky Opera's 2009 Brown-Forman Fall Season, La Traviata! This beautiful photo was taken by O'Neil Arnold.

You may also recognize the handsome Adam Diegel (under the Traviata image) performing in Florida Grand Opera's Carmen with Kendall Galden (photo by Gaston De Cardenas). Adam closed our 2010 Brown Forman Fall Season as B.F. Pinkerton in our two sold-out performances of Madame Butterfly.

Also on this cover: Roberth Orth and Sally Dibblee in Vancouver Opera's 2010 Production of Nixon in China (photo by Tim Matheson) and Katherine Whyte with David Daniels in Orfeo and Euridice for Atlanta Opera (photo by Tim Wilkerson).

What a great gift to be recognized by the industry leader in this way. It's a great image, and O'Neil has done great work for us.

Kentucky Opera also has images in The Daily Book of Classical Music where O'Neil's Traviata image is featured along with John Fitzgerald's Cenerentola, Pearl Fishers and Salome images and J. David Levy's Otello and Hansel & Gretel images. These still shots are a testament to the high quality performances for which Kentucky Opera is becoming known.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Support our Butterfly Reviews!

Yunah Lee as Madame Butterfly, photo by J. David Levy

Kentucky Opera closes out the 2010 Brown-Forman Fall Season with Madame Butterfly this weekend (November 19 & 21). We heard a lot of rave reviews from a lot of great people who attended the opera on Friday. Here are a couple that are actually in writing and available online.
The Arts Louisville, a website dedicated to the promotion of all the arts in our community, has given actor and historical interpereter, J. Barrett Cooper the task of reviewing Kentucky Opera. He has willingly been transported this season with us and we are grateful for his final 2010 review. Find it here.

Another online resoruce for stories and reviews is Louisville.Com. This valuable website is the digital sister of Louisville Magazine, and is their way of being more timely when it comes to events and news. Louisville Magazine/ have been developing the digital brand by investing time and resources and is really becoming the GO TO site to find out where to go, what to do, where to eat and what to see. For Kentucky Opera, gives us the very talented writer, Selena Frye. Her previews and reviews are a valuable resource for the community to learn more about the Opera. Her Butterfly Review can be found here.

Charles Parsons is the regional reviewer for Opera News, and was working last night. While we don't often get reviewed by Opera News, when we do, it's usually their on-line version. If you get the magazine, you can get the on-line reviews. Keep an eye out and if you see it, let us know.

From my tone, you maybe able to tell, I am asking for something. I am asking that you support and visit the media that supports & vistis Kentucky Opera. These sites find value in clicks, so when you see a link, click it. If they can tell that people are visiting their sites through Kentucky Opera's blog, website, FaceBook page or tweets, they will see the value in supporting KYO with reviews and previews.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Madame Butterfly Previews are in!

Yunah Lee as Cio-Cio San in Kentucky Opera's Madame Butterfly. Photo by J. David Levy.

Tonight is the Final Dress Rehearsal for Madame Butterfly and we are expecting a full house. We invite schools and donors to join us for this rehearsal which makes the experience mutually beneficial. Middle & high school students get to see live opera in its grandest setting and our singing actors and musicians have the opportunity to get a live response from an audience. I have heard many stage directors say these students are the best audience. They aren't afraid to react when something is funny or surprising. They are honest and outright with their experiences.

I would like to encourage anyone who wants to see the final opera of the 2010 Brown-Forman Fall Season, don't wait. We honestly only have 100 vacant seats (as of Tuesday 11/16) available for the entire weekend. GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!! 502.584.7777!

Our dear friends at the LEO have given us a great write up after Bill Doolittle spoke with Maestro Joe Mechavich and Soprano Yunah Lee.
Read the article here.

If you missed it, Selena Fry of Louisville.Com spoke with our fabulous wig & makeup designer, Sue Sittko Schaefer. Read her article here.

We were expecting a story yesterday from the Courier Journal. Andrew Adler was going to write a guest spot for us. He spoke to David Roth who is stage directing this piece, and our Cio-Cio San, Yunah Lee. Here it is Wednesday, and no story. Do let us know if you see it~

We have video!!

This video is from Kentucky Opera's 2005 production with Ailan Zhu as Cio-Cio San and Stephen Mark Brown as B.F. Pinkerton.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sitz what? Whosit Probe??

It's a pretty scary word, Sitzprobe. It sounds like an extremly invasive uncomfortable medical proceedure. The german word translates as "Seated test." In our case, it's a seated rehearsal.

Actually its a very special moment in the opera world. It is the moment when all the pieces come together for the first time. Singers and chorus will sing through the entire opera on stage for the first time with the Louisville Orchestra in the pit of the Brown Theatre. The singers will generally sit down or just stand rather than go through the stage blocking.

This special moment is happening for Kentucky Opera tonight. Up until now, the main stage singers have been rehearsing during the day in the 2nd floor rehearsal room, the chorus rehearses in the evening in the same space, and the orchestra has rehearsed on stage rather than in the orchestra pit.

Tonight we will hear how the voices blend with the orchestra. Most of the guest artists have only SEEN the stage. Tonight they will hear how their voices resonate in the hall. The conductor, Joe Mechavich, will be in the pit with the musicians. The director, our very own David Roth, will sit in the middle of the house with a note taker. Stage management will be back stage, making sure artists are ready, preparing cues and ready to halt the action if something needs tweeking.

Customarily, the rehearsal following the Sitz, is the wandleprobe. I bet you can guess what that means. It means singers may not sing full voice or "mark" but they will add the blocking and maybe there will be more props and they might try costume changes. Lighting cues will be refined. All of this requires the strict coordination of the stage management team. More on them next time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Madame Butterfly

Madame Butterfly is by far one of the most popular operas in the entire repetiore. There are a million reasons to love this opera, the story, the music, the history.

The Kentucky Center for the Arts posts "Staff Pics" on their blog, This month, Madame Butterfly is Jeffery Jamners' Staff Pic. Here's why...

Monday, November 8, 2010

NEW YORK STORIES Makes House Calls

The Courier Journal's Katya Cengle had the distinct honor of joining the Patron's Circle for a night of guerrilla opera. Daron Hagen's New York Stories was a part of Kentucky Opera's Composer Workshop program and Opera America's National Opera Week celebration.

Our Studio Artists: Brandy Hawkins, Gabriel Preisser, Andrea Shokery, Daniel Anderson and Tomasz PaweĊ‚ Sadownik were joined by UofL School of Music Students Erin Keesy and Ricky Case to perform his trillogy in three homes of downtown Louisville.
Click HERE to read the whole story.
In case you missed the previous post, which includes a video interview with the compser and an excerpt from one of the three operas, click HERE.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New York Stories

On Halloween weekend, a privileged few got a special treat. After a week of intensive workshops, Kentucky Opera studio artists performed Daron Hagen’s New York Stories in three downtown homes as a part of Opera America’s National Opera Week. The three short operas have all been performed in concert; and the first has been staged several times. But this is the first time that composer Hagen has seen them all performed together. Hagen suggested site-specifc stagings in private homes, and directed the staging of all three..

Andrea Shokery and Gabriel Preisser performed Broken Pieces at Phil and Kathy Scherer’s lovely home at Preston Pointe. The 50 or so guests were served a glass of wine and sat back to watch what happened next. The opera started from an upstairs bedroom and meandered throughout the entire open space.
Daron Hagen tells the story in this video.

I will get the other videos up as soon as they are ready.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life as a Kentucky Opera Studio Artist

Our Studio Artists have been getting quite the work out. Not only were they all involved with The Elixir of Love, they were also preparing for Barber of Seville for Owensboro, preparing for the Composers workshop and taking classes all over the city. They had an acting class at Actors Theatre, and a stage combat class with the Fraizier International History Museum.
Gabe Preisser is our baritone who submitted this blog post about the combat class.

Dan & Tomasz

Kentucky Opera Studio Artists along with their fearless leader of education Deanna Hoying went to the Frazier International History Museum to undergo a quick and dirty workshop in stage combat with the Curator of Historic Interpretations, J. Barret Cooper (He is also the combat choreographer for Kentucky Opera. You may have seen his work in recent operas such as Otello, Pirates of Penzance and Lucia di Lammermoore to name a few). The course focused primarily on the use of swords on stage beginning with a brief history of the sword ranging from the broad sword to rapiers and more.

After the lecture the fun began. First an overview of the basic sword positions or guards including the fool's guard, the plow, and a personal favorite the woman's guard. For safety reasons the brave novices began first practicing with just their arms (fighting to the death), then with fake wooden swords, then the real deal-AHHH! Don't worry mom the swords were rather blunt although the instructor assured us we could get badly hurt if not safe. So, safety first.

We learned the basics of communicating with your partner or opponent and maintaining distance so as never to get close enough to put yourself or your faux foe in real danger. J. Barrett was super animated and passionate about his craft making the workshop a truly enjoyable and educational experience as you can see from the pictures.

For those who were able to stay, there was an impressive demonstration given by our instructor and his partner, Jeremy White, showing several combinations of attacks and guards. Of course they had much more practice then mere operatic amateurs, so it was quite impressive. Overall, the workshop was extremely helpful in introducing a common practice on the operatic stage.
Several operas such as Verdi's Macbeth , Gounod's Romeo and Juliette, and Mozart's Don Giovanni call for sword play in the script not just with the men but even the deranged Lady Macbeth with her dagger or the common Mozartian pants role (i.e. a woman playing a man's part). Just goes to show everyone likes a good sword fight!
J. Barrett Cooper (looking back) was an excellent instructor!
You can see Gabe perform Figaro in the Barber of Seville with the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra on November 6. Get your tickets here while you can!

He will also particpate in the FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Compsoser Workshop Recital at Comstock Hall on Sunday, October 31 at 3PM.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Elixir Final Dress Rehearsal Video

Clips from the dress rehearsal of Kentucky Opera's performance of The Elixir of Love.
It's going to be a fun production, tickets are still availalbe!
Call 5020.584.7777 or click here.

Selena Frye from was at the rehearsal and seemed to really enjoy herself.
Read her rehearsal review here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Loving the Elixir

If you haven't heard that Kentucky Opera is doing the Elixir of Love, you must be living under a rock.  Tickets are still available by calling 502.584.7777 or click here.

Emily Albrink as Adina and Victor Ryan Robertson as Nemorino in Elixir of Love. Photo by J. David Levy.

Jeffery Lee Pucket takes a stab at writing on opera for the Courier Journal.

Bill Doolittle chatted with Louisville native Emily Albrink in this weeks LEO Weekly

Selena Frye talked to University of Louisville School of Music Graduate on

You can still catch the Lunch & Listen we recorded at WUOL on MetroTV this week. 
10/20 at 8pm; 10/21 at 1am & 10am; 10/22 at 1am; 1023 at 4:30pm and 8pm; 10/24 at 1am.
See the entire MetroTV schedule here.

Maestro Joe Mechavich sat down with us last week to talk about The Elixir of Love, the Louisville Orchestra and the wonderful cast perfroming this weekend. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ELIXIR Patron's Circle party

It was a beautiful evening at the home of Ian and Roberta Henderson. The cast was in good form and each performed with great energy.
Here is a sample of the fun by baritone Chad Sloan who will sing the role of Belcore in Kentucky Opera's upcoming production of The Elixir Of Love.

Chad is a Kentucky native and a University of Louisville Alumni. He currently lives in New York and has been working with composer Ben Moore on a series of Song Cycles. The singer/composer relationship was developed through Kentucky Opera's collaborative program, The Composer Workshop where Kentucky Opera Studio Artists along with students from the University of Louisville School of Music and the Acadamy of Music at St. Francis in the Fields. More on this program very soon.

Tickets are still available for The Elixir of Love! Call 502.584.4500 or click here.

To learn more about the Patron's Circle and join the fun, call Kentucky Opera at 502.584.4500.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Elixir teaser

Victor Ryan Robertson will play the coutnry bumpkin, Nemorino, in Kentucky Opera's upcoming production of The Elixir of Love. Some lucky listeners heard him sing "Una furtiva lagrima" at Lunch & Listen on Wednesday, October 6 either live at the WUOL performance studio or on Classical 90.5FM. Others will get to see (a much better video of) the entire program on MetroTV in the coming weeks.

During the Q&A portion of the program, we learned that Robinson hasn't performed Nemorino since his studio artist days. You would never know that he hasn't been singing this piece for years.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Review of Reviews

We had such rave reviews for Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci:

"The principal glory was soprano Kara Shay Thomson's explosive, altogether astonishing Santuzza. As a young woman disgraced in her village, bearing the anguish of excommunication, Thomson acted with honest, unaffected intent. She sang powerfully, wrapping every phrase in sumptuous tone retaining its core focus no matter how far above the staff."
Andrew Adler, Courier Journal
" the magnificent productions of these two outstanding operas were not only beautifully sung, but staged with elegant grace and acted with depth of emotion that resulted in characters that were fully realized."    J. Barrett Cooper,

"Caballero and Mayes make an attractive and believable pair as they sing their lovely duet of yearning and promise. And when MacMaster sings the centerpiece aria, he makes you feel the wounded pride and pain that the betrayed feel, even as you have just left off identifying with the star-crossed lovers who caused it. When you manage to pull off that duality, you have gone a long way toward successfully performing I Pagliacci."

Cavalleria Rusticana photo by J. David Levy: Lester Lynch as Alfio and Cara Shay Thomson as Santuzza.
I Pagliacci photo by J. David Levy: John Mac Master as Canio.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Nedda & Silvio duet

This past Wednesday, Kentucky Opera had their Lunch & Listen at Classical 90.5 FM WUOL. The hour-long program is hosted by David Roth who explores the stories of upcomming operas, introduces the cast with musical excerpts to whet the appitite of the studio audience and radio listeners.

This is one of my very favorite enrichment programs offered by KYO. This particular program featured the cast of I Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana, all of whom showed heir vocal prowress.

In this excerpt Pagliacci's beautiful love duet is performed by Michael Mayes as Silvio and Elizabeth Caballero as Nedda.

If you want to hear the entire program, WUOL will be rebroadcasting on Wednesday, September 15 at 12pm on Classical 90.5FM or you can stream it live at Metro TV (insight channel 25) will air the entire program many times through the rest of the month, and trust me, their video quality is much better than this. Be sure to check out their schedule here.

If you haven't gotten your opera tickets yet, you had better do so soon. Opening night is selling very well! WWW.KYOPERA.ORG

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A lesson from Silvio

Bill Doolittle wrote a nifty piece about the Opera for the LEO's Arts & Entertainment guide.  He elaborated on the amount of time and effort Kentucky Opera puts in to educating our patrons and the public at large.  You can read it here.

Another educational element not discussed in Doolittle's story involve our artists.  Each of them, before they arrive for reharsals, must know their parts.  Some artists go too far to learn their roles, like Michael Mayes who will portray "the other man" in I PAGLIACCI.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Daron Hagen: father - composer - blogger.

The season is upon us.

The Studio Artists have arrived and are often heard warming up in the various rooms in the building - which makes for lovely adventures in music while wandering the second floor of ArtSpace. You can meet them here.  You will see them on stage for each of the Opera peformances, they may take the mic at the Lunch & Listen on September 9 at the WUOL performance studio, and they will perform ecerpts at the Sights & Sounds at the Speed Museum on September 12. 

One of the more significant projects these young singers will enjoy while in Louisville is an intimate, week-long intensive workshop with Daron Hagen. They will learn and perform his work and develop very important connections with a living composer.

In his most recent blog post, Hagen exposes his truest and deepest self when he premiered Ameila with Seattle Opera. If his music is as sober and honest as his blogs, we are in for a magnificent opportunity.
"I had come to Seattle to attend rehearsals, revise as necessary, to learn as I always did, by observing the process of discovery, and staging. Wife and son in New York, I had returned to a quasi-feral state during the past six weeks: the debilitating insomnia, the depression, the dizzying mood swings—all had roared back. I had felt lost, alone, and agonizingly overexposed."
The Studio Artists will share the results of the Daron Hagen Composer Workshop at the Final Concert on October 31 at 3pm at Comstock Hall. The concert is free but reservations are required by calling 502-584-4500.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Musings from the Music Director (Act. I sc.2)

I am writing this entry from my home in Gulfport, Florida as Tropical Storm Bonnie swirls to the south. She is a welcomed guest as she will provide refreshing breezes and much needed rain. But still what echoes in my head are the tunes and text from a very successful run of Susannah at Des Moines Metro Opera.

At every performance the cast, chorus, orchestra and stage crew were fully committed to sharing this story with the audience providing wonderful music making and spectacular theater. Carlisle Floyd attended a performance, just like he did for Kentucky Opera’s amazing Of Mice and Men at the Brown Theater, and he reported to me that he was most happy with what he heard and saw. What was curious was the fact that many people asked me if I was “anxious” or “nervous” that the composer was in attendance. I must say that I found it reassuring that he was there. To walk up to a composer and ask questions or solicit feedback is a cherish opportunity. One certainly can’t ask Herr Mozart, Maestro Verdi or Monsieur Massenet what they intended.

“’Susannah’ clicks into place as a pitch-perfect production…The music weaves hymns and folk tunes with a layer of dissonant 20th century harmonies, punctuated by menacing snarls from the low brass, and conductor Joseph Mechavich delivers the whole thing with both precision and dramatic heft…” Michael Moran, Des Moines Register 7/7/10

I have a few weeks off to grill and go to the beach then on August 6th I will be on the faculty of “Sherrill Milnes and Friends” for a few weeks. Looking forward to Kentucky Opera’s Fall Season at the Brown and enjoy your summer!

Posted for Joseph Mechavich

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Musings from the Music Director

Greetings from the rolling hills and green fields of south central Iowa where I am currently rehearsing Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah for Des Moines Metro Opera. We began rehearsing this amazing American opera on June 4 and have our opening on July 3 (Le nozze di Figaro and Macbeth are also featured this summer). Personally, I am humbled in the fact that in less than one year I was fortunate to be a part of Kentucky Opera’s acclaimed production of Floyd’s Of Mice and Men and now the opportunity to pace Floyd’s earlier composition Susannah. Floyd has the supreme gift of capturing the dramatic pulse and underscoring it with such innovative orchestrations- much like Puccini. The cast here at Des Moines Metro Opera is superb and is headlined by the gifted singer-actor Beverley O’Regan Thiele. If you happen to be around the performances are July 3, 7, 11 (Floyd will be in attendance) and 16.

Having grown up just west of Minneapolis, being in Iowa is like coming home. The people, the pace and more importantly the butcher shop filled with Iowan-feed beef and pork. I broke down and bought a Weber grill!  YUM!!! Once we open I will drop another note. Otherwise happy summer to all!

Joseph Mechavich
Kentucky Opera’s Principal Conductor and Music Director

Monday, April 5, 2010

Get well wishes to Mo. Levine!

James Levine has announced he will not be able to complete the remainder of the season for both the Metropolitan Opera and the Boston Symphony as he will be undergoing his second back surgery.  Fabio Luisi will replace him in New York, while Boston is using several conductors to stand in for Levine including Jayce Ogren and Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos.  

Find out more here
and here 
and here

We wish the Maestro well, and hope for a speedy recovery!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Remember these??

I knew about this commercial that popularized the I Pagliacci aria:

But I had no idea it was a big campaign... Imagine. Using opera to give strength to your product...

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Check this out. I have seen this with dancers, but not opera...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rave Reviews of Oh Freedom!

Don't miss the last public opportunity to see the OH FREEDOM concert live,  tonight (Thursday 2/11/10) the Frazier History Museum (9th & Main).  Come at 5pm and share a refreshment and experience a concert that has been met with outstanding success at 5:30pm.  The event is free and open to the public thanks to the generosity of The Fund for the Arts. 

Metro TV (insight channel 25) will air the concert in its entirety on Sunday March 7 at 9pm.  Classical 90.5 FM WUOL has the 2/10/10 concert from their performance studio available online now.  

The Studio Artists Program is sponsored by GE Appliances. 
School performances sponsored by Yum Brands and PNC Bank.

Phillip Morgan and Erica Cochran Zimmer perform "A Chorus of Hope" at the Celebrate Your Dream Concert 1/17/10.  Photo by Frankie Steele.

What the schools are saying: 

From Kristine Larson at Whitney Young Elementary:
I (and the kids) were enthralled! It was so wonderfully written, and an amazing retrospective of our American history all inside 45 minutes!
I didn't know how the Gullah culture had influenced Porgy and Bess- I knew about the fabulous talent of Paul Robeson so was intrigued to hear him mentioned;  all the details in the performance were so relevant to fifth grade topics, as well as what any informed American should know.
The performers were so talented and engaging, I loved how they answered the kids' questions so deftly and were able to do what we call "code switching" to meet the kids at their level of cognition (a talent not every adult has).  I have had lots of feedback from the kids, they loved the instruments that were featured and one child told me he loved the "call and response" (from Swing Low,,,,,)  Hats off to Kentucky Opera and its energetic and talented performers!  Fabulous! We are in your debt at Whitney Young.  Thanks for fitting us into your schedule!  As a long time season ticket holder to KY OPERA, I say "BRAVO!"

From Tammi Metcalf at Fort Knox military base:
I want you to know they were wonderful! I enjoyed it and so did the soldiers!

From Susan Johnston at Holy Spirit School:
Just to touch base and let you know how much I enjoyed the O Freedom performance. It went right along with what I am teaching and the performers were excellent. Thank you so much for this opportunity!!

From Julie Stith at Layne Elementary:
The performance was wonderful! I have heard many positive things from teachers and students about Oh Freedom!

From Gaylinn Mix-Foley at Ten Broeck Dupont:
40 students attended our performance here at The Brook Dupont.  The performance was incredible!  Definitely the best program we have seen this year by far!  The students were mesmerized, which, for the kids here at the hospital, is a small miracle!  Thank you so very much! 

From Tim King, Director of Performing Arts at JCPS commenting on Lincoln Elementary performance:
Your artists this morning did a fine job of presenting “Oh, Freedom!”  The artists were collegial and engaged our students from the outset.  The material was relevant and timely with Black History Month upon us.   The principal and teachers all commented on what a wonderful program it was.  Well, congratulations!  You have a winner on your hands.

From Mary Lasley at Hancock County Schools (middle and high school performances):
“Oh Freedom” performed here this morning and I have heard nothing but good things.  Please let the performers know that they did a beautiful job and we really appreciate all that you did in bringing this performance to our school.

From Eleanor Hawkins at Engelhard Elementary:
Students had a marvelous time today with the KY Opera Program!   They were making LOTS of connections to music, culture, social studies and reading.  Thank you!

From Paula Little, Supervisor of Instruction for the Clinton County School District:
I heard the performance went very well.  The G/T teacher said that many of the students were amazed.  Thanks again for working with us to set up this performance and the dress rehearsal this year.  They were both outstanding!

Post your own review by leaving a comment here.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A call to action!

   This is an opportunity to hear what the candidates say about the future of arts funding.  Let them know our community demands stability for the arts!! 

The Kentucky School of Art Presents......

A Conversation with the 2010 Louisville Mayoral Candidates
               about the Future of the Arts in Louisville

Hosted by The Kentucky Center for Performing Arts
 moderated by David Cupps, Executive Director, Arts Kentucky

 Monday, February 8, 2010 Time: 6-8 p.m.


Tyler Allen, Nimbus Couzin, Burrel Charles Farnsley, Greg Fischer, Jackie Green, Hal Heiner, Jim King, Connie Marshall, Lisa Moxley, Jonathan Robertson, David Tandy, Chris Thieneman, and Shannon White

Followed by a Meet and Greet in the East Room, Cash Bar  8-9:00 p.m.

 Location: The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Bomhard Theatre 502 W. Main St., Louisville

 Free and open to the public  Open seating, tickets are not available

 for more information call (502) 618-4600


Friday, January 29, 2010

Oh Freedom! from Deanna Hoying

Naoko Suga, Erica Cochran and Phillip Morgan perform Oh Freedom! for Foster Elementary.

Halfway through the tour!

We’re halfway through the OH FREEDOM! tour! Our intrepid performers Erica Cochran, Phillip Morgan and Naoko Suga have traveled more than 600 miles and have performed for more than 3,500 kids! They started the tour in Clinton County, Kentucky (near the border of Tennessee), traveled to Hancock County near Owensboro, KY and throughout greater Louisville. They also performed at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrate Your Dream Concert at St. Stephen for more than 1,000 people.

And every Thursday evening at 5:30, they are performing at the Frazier International Museum as a partnership with the museum, the Fund for the Arts and Kentucky Opera. So far, they’ve performed for more than 200 at these events with the final two on February 4th and 11th.

It’s been a whirlwind with two more weeks to go!

Some comments from the teachers:

Hey Ms. Deanna! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The performance & performers were fantastic!!!! If our kids are bored or not interested in something, you can tell very quickly, because they move around, won’t sit still and talk. Well, they were as quiet as could be, no moving and thoroughly into the program and participated whenever possible. Several of the kids have made thank you cards and it is very apparent that they listened. I will be sending them to Mary Dossett & Laura Barnum at Yum since they sponsored the show, but I am going to ask them to forward them to you. I think you will truly enjoy them. Have a wonderful weekend and thanks, again

40 students attended our performance here at The Brook Dupont. The performance was incredible! Definitely the best program we have seen this year by far! The students were mesmerized, which , for the kids here at the hospital, is a small miracle! Thank you so very much!

There were 75 students, plus or minus a few, plus 5 teachers.
I(and the kids) were enthralled!
It was so wonderfully written, and an amazing retrospective of our American history all inside 45 minutes!
I didn't know how the Gullah culture had influenced Porgy and Bess-
I knew about the fabulous talent of Paul Robeson so was intrigued to hear him mentioned; all the details in the
performance were so relevant to fifth grade topics, as well as what any
informed American should know.
The performers were so talented and engaging, I loved how they answered the kids'
questions so deftly and were able to do what we call"code switching" to meet
the kids at their level of cognition. (A talent not every adult has, heh heh.)
I have had lots of feedback from the kids, they loved the instruments that were featured
and one child told me he loved the "call and response"
(from Swing Low,,,,,)
Hats off to Kentucky Opera and its energetic and talented performers!
Fabulous! we are in your debt at Whitney Young.
Thanks for fitting us into your schedule!
As a long time season ticket holder to KY OPERA, I say "BRAVE!"

Posted for Deanna Hoying, Director of Education

Monday, January 11, 2010


Jazz Musician and composer Harry Pickens works with Kentucky Opera
Winter Studio Artists Phillip Morgan and Erica Cochran on his piece for the Oh
Freedom tour, "A Chorus Of Hope" which will premiere at the Celebrate your Dream
concert on Sunday.

Sometimes my job allows me to witness wonderful events - moments that deserve to be shared with the world as they are poignenet and important. Monday was one such moment.

The first rehearsal of the final work in the Oh Freedom tour was Monday morning. Local jazz hero and composer Harry Pickens worked with Kentucky Opera Winter Studio Artists, Erica Cochran and Phillip Morgan on the piece he created. "A Chorus of Hope" is inspired by the speaches of Barak Obama.

To watch Pickens infuse his passion for this work and the history that made this moment possible was inspiring.

On Sunday, January 17 at 4:30pm, "A Chorus of Hope" will make it's world premiere at St. Stephen Church (1006 South 15th Street) in the collaborative concert, Celebrate your Dream. The free performance will include performances by River City Drum Corps, Arts Reach musicians and dancers, the Louisville Central Community Center choir, Voices of Kentuckiana, members of the Louisville Youth Orchestra and Walden Theatre and Mayor Jerry Abramson will presnent the Freedom Award to retired Courier-Journal editor, Marvin Aubespin.

Oh Freedom! is an exploration of the African American experience through song starting with African folk songs, and ending with "A Chorus of Hope". Studio Artists will tour schools througout the Commonwealth in January and February.

The public is welcome to come to the Frazier International History Museum for the Fund For the Arts' happy hour on Thursday January 21 at 5pm where the full one-hour Oh Freedom! concert will be performed. (RSVP here).