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.