Donor Impact Report

Spring 2020

Barbara Lynne Jamison
General Director

Message from the General Director

Dear Friends,

As we close Kentucky Opera’s 19/20 Brown-Forman season, I am grateful for the extraordinary community that surrounds this company: long-time subscribers; first-time ticket-buyers; board members; schoolchildren in Kentuckiana; our local choristers and staff; technical crews; and artists, designers, and singers who bring us joy, season after season.

Opera is an intensely collaborative art — it requires a community to produce an opera and you are a key member of our opera community. When we produce an opera, part of our community comes together to create it, and then the rest of our community is invited to join: to laugh, to cry, and to be enriched by the story, the drama, the music. Together.

In planning the 19/20 Brown-Forman season, my first at Kentucky Opera, I considered how we could expand our opera community — and how to include more voices with our productions and programs. To do this, we partnered with regional nonprofits on Awakenings, a new series of curated conversations in and with our community. We also worked with Fund for the Arts to promote access to our June 2019 Open House at The Brown Theatre and a community performance of our bilingual touring opera, Cinderella en España at the Frazier History Museum.

Opera was born from community and, at Kentucky Opera, we continue to prioritize community. When you support Kentucky Opera, you help us bring this community-oriented art form to everyone. In this impact report, you will learn a little more about how we accomplished this in the 19/20 season.

Barbara Lynne Jamison
General Director

Photo by Brymer Photography

Kentucky Opera in Our Community

Open House

A young patron conducts with Maestro Joseph Mechavich at our Open House, 2019. Photo by Brymer Photography

In June 2019, Kentucky Opera held our inaugural Open House event. We welcomed people of all ages to explore Kentucky Opera’s mainstage venue, the Brown Theatre, and to enjoy backstage tours, performances, sing-a-longs, costume fittings, face painting, and a chance to meet the artists — and be an artist.

Cinderella en España, 2019

Cinderella at the Frazier

This season, Kentucky Opera offered a public performance of Cinderella en España, our bilingual in-school touring production. The public performance was included as part of the extended Cultural Pass program, providing access to opera as an art, and a chance to engage in this opera’s universal message of anti-bullying and compassion.

A young patron conducts with Maestro Joseph Mechavich at our Open House, 2019. Photo by Brymer Photography


Arts-centered community conversations that challenge tradition, question social narratives, and invite varied perspectives.

“Kentucky Opera is an integral part of this community. Kentucky Opera provides a forum for people to talk about issues and to not only be entertained, but to delve deeper into concepts in our society.” —Neva Scott, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society and Awakenings Partner

Unblaming Carmen

Awakenings at 21c Museum Hotel, Photo by Gretchen Bell Photography

Kentucky Opera curated a panel at 21c Museum Hotel to explore how themes of female stereotypes, misogyny, and domestic abuse show up in Carmen and society today.

“The Opera connects with the work that we do here at the Center for Women and Families by conveying a message to the community that women and individuals are victims of violence, and the importance of not blaming the victim” —Elizabeth Wessels-Martin, President/ CEO, Center for Women and Families and Awakenings Partner

Glory Denied, 2019, Photo by Brymer Photography

“I’m a firm believer in arts and healing…as a veteran specifically, I can say that art saved my life” —Colonel Fred Johnson (USA, RET), Co-Founder Shakespeare with Veterans and Awakenings Partner

Privileged Systems: Perpetuating Injustice

Jecorey “1200” Arthur performs spoken word at Awakenings at Historic Locust Grove, Photo by Gretchen Bell Photography





Privileged Systems: Perpetuating Injustice

Our patrons and panelists held an honest and engaging discussion at Historic Locust Grove and explored themes in The Marriage of Figaro, such as unjust systems and class struggle by examining them through a modern lens.

Welcoming Our Heroes Home: Bridging the Divide

During our production of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, Kentucky Opera worked with Veterans’ organizations across the Commonwealth. In Kentucky, where more than 263,000 adults are veterans, we believe it was a story we needed to tell.


Community locations outside The Brown Theatre for Awakenings, Community Partner, and Community Engagement events.

In the 19/20 season, Kentucky Opera reached


individuals, including


in the 11 ZIP codes identified as underserved by the Community Foundation of Louisville, Greater Louisville, Inc., and Louisville Metro Government.

Kentucky Opera worked with more than


Community Partners to connect the stories of our mainstage shows to current issues.


people attended Awakenings, and similar Community Engagement events.

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.