Donor Impact Report

Fall 2019

Barbara Lynne Jamison
General Director

Message from the General Director

I arrived at Kentucky Opera in August 2018, just in time for the opening of the Brown-Forman 2018/19 season with Mozart’s classic The Magic Flute. Throughout the season, it was my pleasure to get to know you and this community. Kentucky Opera is committed to community through our programs and engagement opportunities. Your gift of support helps make opera accessible and provides new ways for our community to discover and learn from opera.

Throughout my first year at Kentucky Opera, it has been a joy to work with the artists in Kentucky Opera’s Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist program. This thriving emerging artist program is one of the extraordinary features of Kentucky Opera. Its alumni have carried the training they receive here onto stages across the globe. In this inaugural report, you’ll learn the impact of your support on that program and others, such as youth and community performances in schools, parks, and other community venues.

I am grateful to you as one of our cherished donors for what we have accomplished in my first year at Kentucky Opera. With your continued support, we can offer opera for all and in doing so, enrich our community.

Barbara Lynne Jamison
General Director

2018/2019 Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program

Lisa Hasson
Director of the Barbara & Halsey Sandford
Studio Program & Chorus Master

I have always felt that Kentucky Opera’s Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program is a kind of boutique experience for young opera singers. Due to the high number of applicants for a handful of positions, we are able to select high career-potential singers, and offer them something very special: quality individual musical attention, stage time, feedback sessions and masterclasses, career guidance, audition preparation, and community involvement. In short, we prepare them to work at the highest level in our industry. This is something quite unique for a company of our size, and one needs to look no further than the results: Last season’s artists have gone on to the The Metropolitan Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and been finalists in the Metropolitan Opera National auditions and The Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Joseph Mechavich
Artistic Advisor

The Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artists Program is a shimmering jewel in Kentucky Opera’s crown. We provide an important opportunity for emerging talent to hone their craft while our opera community benefits from their amazing gifts. Not only does Kentucky Opera pull from the best and brightest nationwide, but we are committed to supporting the talented singer-actors that call Kentucky home or study in Kentucky ‘s universities and colleges. Kentucky Opera is overflowing with pride as our graduates have moved on to thriving careers.

Updates from our Alumni

Murrella Parton (soprano), Courtney Elvira (mezzo-soprano), and T.J. Capobianco (tenor) participated in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artists Program in the 2018/19 season.

Murrella Parton was a national semi-finalist in the the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Young Patronesses of the Arts/Florida Grand Opera Competition. This fall Murrella returns to Kentucky Opera as Older Alyce in Glory Denied.

Courtney Elvira was a finalist in the 2019 Butler International Competition.

Hailed as “the hilarious Thomas J. Capobianco,” by CCM Opera, T.J. was cast to cover coveted roles at the Metropolitan Opera in New York this season: The High Priest of Amon in Akhnaten, The Fool in Wozzeck, and Monostatos in The Magic Flute.

Kentucky Opera in Our Community

Arts & Aging Performance
at Park Louisville

Kentucky Opera partnered with community churches to produce a collaborative and accessible touring production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. With donor support, we offered performances at no cost to attendees. Church choirs sang alongside Kentucky Opera performers, and many audience members experienced opera for the first time in their own neighborhoods.

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Kentucky Opera’s Amahl and the Night Visitors tour, a work created through Kentucky Opera’s Composer Workshop in 2009, we partnered with various community organizations, Christian churches, and Jewish synagogues for discussions with cast and crew about the Holocaust and personal identity. Many patrons offered personal stories, sharing either their own survival experiences of the Holocaust or accounts of relatives and encouraged reflection and acknowledgement of situations today.

Oh Freedom! School Tour Photo by Bill Wine Photography

Oh, Freedom! School Tour

Oh Freedom! tour confronted America’s history of slavery, emancipation, Civil Rights, and the nation’s continued relationship with race equality. Through song and dialogue, students explored the diverse purposes music played in this part of our history, and its ability to preserve, communicate, and empower.


Events for youth and the community. In the 2018/19 Season, Kentucky Opera went into local communities with new creative and educational programs in schools, community venues, parks, and more.


Artists and artisans worked with Kentucky Opera to produce the The Magic Flute, Enemies, A Love Story, Rigoletto, and Kentucky Opera’s many community engagement programs.


Applicants from across the country for 6 spots in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program.


Patrons attended or participated in the Amahl and the Night Visitors tour.

Kentucky Opera is made possible in part with the support from the generous donors to the Fund for the Arts and the Cultural Pass. The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, provides operating support to Kentucky Opera with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Special thanks to our partners at The Kentucky Center for their continued support.