Our Lunchtime Classics series returns in September. Until then, we’re featuring some artists who have performed on past episodes.
Kentucky Opera was founded in 1952 by Moritz von Bomhard. Its first productions were presented in the Columbia Auditorium until 1964 when they moved to the Brown Theatre. The company later moved some performances to Whitney Hall in the Kentucky Center for the Arts in 1984 and moved all productions there in 2000. Kentucky Opera currently presents most of its performances in the Brown Theatre.
Under Bomhard’s direction, Kentucky Opera grew to become a respected regional company. The Bomhard Theater at the Kentucky Center for the Arts is named in his honor. After 30 years of tenure, Bomhard retired in 1982.
Thomson Smillie became the company’s next General Director. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Smillie had worked for the Scottish National Opera for twelve years in addition to being the Artistic Director of the Wexford Festival of Ireland. In the United States, Smillie led the Opera Company of Boston before coming to Louisville. Smillie served 16 seasons with Kentucky Opera before leaving in 1997.
In 1998, Deborah Sandler became the third General Director of Kentucky Opera. She came to Louisville from the Opera Festival of New Jersey where she had been on staff as Executive Director since 1985 and later as General Director. During her tenure at the Opera Festival of New Jersey, the company grew under her tenure to be a major national force in American Opera.
In January 2006, David Roth was announced as the new general director of Kentucky Opera, succeeding Ms. Sandler. Roth had been with Fort Worth Opera since 2000 where he balanced the artistic and fiscal responsibilities as both Director of Production and Director of Finance.
Kentucky Opera begins its 2014-2015 season with Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven in mid-September.