Opening Our Eyes to the World Around Us

Dive deeper into the current context and relevance of each opera with art-centered community conversations that challenge tradition, question social narratives, and invite varied perspectives. Awakenings panels include members of the community working in the fields and topics beings discussed, members of the production team for Kentucky Opera, and may include performances by featured artists.

Awakenings events are free and open to all.


How do the people around us influence the way we see ourselves?

Join Kentucky Opera and our local panelists for a thoughtful conversation with varied perspectives about the narratives that take place within As One.


Dr. Kaila Adia Story, Associate Professor/Audre Lord Endowed Chair at University of Louisville
Dr. Cara Snyder, Assistant Professor at University of Louisville
Naomi Wayne, Artist, Performer
Bern Dee, Board Member, Voices of Kentuckiana

Thursday, March 28, 2024 | 6 – 7:30 PM
Free | Tickets not required, but appreciated
Let us know you’re coming!

Kentucky Opera Center for Cultural Health
708 Magazine Street, Louisville, KY 40203

How do modern families navigate the trials and triumphs of adoption, foster care, and remarriages


Dr. Melissa Hayden, Senior Vice President, Behavioral Health at Home of the Innocents
Nancy Brooks, Executive Director NAMI Louisville
Beth Robinson-Kinney, Managing Attorney, Domestic Relations Advocacy Program at Legal Aid Society
Jacquelyn Craig, Vice President of Child and Family Services, Seven Counties Services/Bellewood and Brooklawn

Performances by Cameron Carnes, tenor, Tyler Carnes, baritone, and Johanna Kvam, piano

Monday, January 23, 2023
Kentucky Opera Center
708 Magazine Street, Louisville, KY 40203

Can a community reckon with its past to create a better future?


Alex Miniard, Community Engagement and Development Specialist, Kentucky Refugee Ministries
Guillermo Sollano,
Greater Art Soulutions
Daynier (Danny) Adan,
Cuban/Haitian Caseworker, Kentucky Refugee Ministries
Charlene Buckles, Development Director ACLU of Kentucky

Performances by Blair’s Ballroom

Monday, October 24, 2022
Hosted by Louisville Free Public Library
301 York Street, Louisville, KY 40203

What strategies can a community employ to collectively address poverty and affordable housing?


Kelly Kitchens, Stage Director
Lisa Osanka, Executive Director Louisville Metro Housing Authority
Crystal Narcisse M.D., Community Medical Director, Institute for Health Equity

Performances by Mark Eldred, tenor & Johanna Kvam, piano

Monday, September 12, 2022
Hosted by Louisville Free Public Library
301 York Street, Louisville, KY 40203

Subordinated. Marginalized. Internalized.

Often lauded as a delightful sexual farce, The Marriage of Figaro initially served as commentary on the power of the privileged.

Join us as we look at the systems in place in our society that perpetuate injustice, and the layers of obstacles that repeatedly put people at a disadvantage.

Embedded into classism is the exclusion of peoples. How can equitable opportunity benefit a community?


Holly Houston, Family Court Lawyer
Kelly Kitchens, Stage Director
Everett McCorvey, University of Kentucky Opera Theatre
Edgardo Mansilla, Americana World Community Center
Sadiqa Reynolds, Urban League
Stacy Ridgway, Kentucky Performing Arts, Access Services
Kellie Watson, Metro Louisville, Office of Equity and Diversity

Additional Partners

University of Louisville Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research
Center for Rural Development
Legal Aid

Performances by Jecorey “1200” Arthur.

Kentucky Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro will feature period silhouette costumes* that are crafted from denim and jean fabrics. Select pieces will be on display alongside historic denim from the Historic Locust Grove archive. As we discuss classism, we will look at the evolution of the textile; how it went from a working class fabric to being more accepted in fashion and society.

*Costumes originally constructed by New Zealand Opera. Additional costumes constructed by Seattle Opera Costume Shop.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Hosted by Historic Locust Grove
561 Blankenbaker Lane, Louisville, KY 40207

How do you return home from war when the world has left you behind?

Neglected by his country, forgotten by his young children.

Upon returning home from Vietnam nine years after his capture, Jim Thompson was greeted only by his wife, Alyce. Glory Denied is the achingly beautiful story of Jim and Alyce’s painful reunion in the aftermath of war.

Their story inspires us to understand the experiences of our local combat veterans. How do they want to be welcomed home? How do they integrate from military to civilian life? How can we support them in this process? How can the arts help to share their stories?


Don Parrish & Tom Raisor, Veterans of Battery C
Carolyn Furdek, Veteran and Author, Locked-In
Jeremy Harrell, Founder/Chairman of Veteran’s Club and also Co-Chair of VCAL; Kentucky Veteran of the Year
Heather French Henry, Veterans’ Advocate
John Miles III, Veteran Coordinator, Office for Veterans, Louisville Metro Government
Joseph Mechavich, Opera Conductor and Kentucky Opera’s Artistic Advisor

Special Invited Guests

Betty Stone, Spouse of Battery C Veteran, Skippy Stone
Jeff Thoke, Honor Flight Bluegrass
Lindsay Gargotto, USAF Veteran; Athena’s Sisters Founder

With performances from the cast of Kentucky Opera’s Glory Denied.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
In partnership with and hosted by The Frazier History Museum
829 West Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202

Harlot. Seductress. Wild Gypsy.

How do female stereotypes vindicate perpetrators and blame victims?

Bullied. Threatened. Murdered. Blamed.

Carmen’s story will help us understand intimate partner violence, intimidation, and domestic abuse. What local resources are available to those affected? How do we become better informed advocates for them? And how can art help share their stories in a safe environment?


Mary Sue Barnett, Louisville Coalition for CEDAW
Diana Dinicola, Flamenco Louisville
Gretchen Hunt, Director, Office of Victims Advocacy, Kentucky Office of the Attorney General
Amy Leenerts, Free2Hope
Elizabeth Wessels-Martin, Center for Women and Families
Elizabeth Batton Sorenson, mezzo-soprano
SGT Tim Stokes, SVU-Sex Crimes Unit, LMPD Major Crimes Division

With insights into artists’ interrogations of conventions surrounding women and labor as seen in the Labor&Materials exhibition currently on view at 21c Museum Hotel.

Thursday, August 1, 2019
21c Museum Hotel Louisville, Gallery Two
In partnership with and hosted by The Frazier History Museum