Second Thoughts

Second Thoughts
By Henry C. Mayer

Kentucky Opera's 45th Season Opens with Verdi's Don Carlo

By Henry C. Mayer

It is with a touch of both gratitude and sadness that we write about the opening of Kentucky Opera's 45th season. This will be Thomson Smillie's last season with us. Louisville Music News salutes and thanks him for all he is and has tried to do. He has written a chapter in the history of music in out community that should never be forgotten.

Patrick Denniston as Don Carlo and Maryann Telese as Elisabeth Valitos

This season should be memorable; it opens with the Company's first performance of Verdi's Don Carlo, a tale of love and intrigue based on the play by Frederick Schiller. I think it is important to note that though the play is about historical persons, it is a work of literature. That means that not every incident, even the alleged illicit love between Carlo and Elizabeth, who becomes his stepmother, is historical fact. Moreover, Schiller is a dramatist and not a historian.

The music should be sheer delight. Maestro Alessandra Siciliani returns as conductor and he is an expert on Verdi's music. Two newcomers, Albert Sherman and Peter Harrison, are Director and Designer. Several local favorites, including Maryanne Telese, Susan Shafter, Patrick Denniston and Dong Jian Gong, highlight a carefully chosen cast. There will also be sixty-five members of the Louisville Orchestra and sixty members of the Kentucky Opera Chorus. The choral climaxes of Act I and Act II should be unforgettable.

There will be only two performances: Friday, November 22, and Sunday afternoon, November 24 at 2 p.m. Don't get left out; get your tickets now.

Kentucky Opera Appoints New Executive Director

The Kentucky Opera has announced the appointment of Major General (ret.) William P. Winkler as Executive Director of Kentucky Opera, effective immediately. His appointment was made by the board of directors at the request of outgoing General Director Thomson Smillie. He will assume full responsibility for all administrative, management and financial functions of the Opera Company, leaving Smillie free to focus on opera production.

Opera Go-Round

Kentucky Opera's Outreach Program for Children

By Henry C. Mayer

One of the lesser known but most successful achievements of Thomson Smillie has been the Opera Go-round program for school children. Last year, over seventy performances took place in local schools.

And that's not all. More than four thousand children were exposed to Hansel and Gretel last season.

Its opening program for the current season was a great success. In only four weeks, well over five thousand students were delighted with Smillie's forty-minute adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, titled The Karaoke Mikado. It was especially designed for students in grades K-6. We got a glimpse of it at the Kentucky Opera Guild's Preview Luncheon, where enthusiastic students from St. Raphael's cheered the performers loudly.

Students are encouraged to act as a chorus and get to wear costumes. The cost per school is only $450 and for the 13th year in a row, Ashland Oil Foundation has been a generous sponsor. The production included three signers, a master of ceremonies and a piano. This year's performers are Darla Partridge Orr, Charles Davidson and Philip Brunner, plus Robin Stamper, the company's director of music and education.

Kentucky Opera Appoints New Executive Director

The Kentucky Opera has announced the appointment of Major General (ret.) William P. Winkler as Executive Director of Kentucky Opera, effective immediately. His appointment was made by the board of directors at the request of outgoing General Director Thomson Smillie. He will assume full responsibility for all administrative, management and financial functions of the Opera Company, leaving Smillie free to focus on opera production.