Kentucky Opera Announces Brown-Forman 2017/2018 Season

featuring productions of Ariadne auf Naxos, Dead Man Walking, and The Barber of Seville

2017/18 Season Ticket Packages are on sale January 10, 2017

Louisville, KY – January 10, 2017 – Kentucky Opera is proud to announce The Brown-Forman  2017/2018 Season with a trio of artistically commanding productions, including one Kentucky Opera Premiere and many notable company debuts. The productions span over three centuries of dramatic variety and are sung in German, English, and Italian. All performances are held at the historic W.L. Lyons Brown Theatre in downtown Louisville.

Kentucky Opera’s General Director, Ian Derrer, announced the 66th season at noon on the stage of the Brown Theatre along with remarks from William A. Blodgett, Jr., the most recent James Welch Sr. Arts Leadership Award recipient and President of Kentucky Opera’s Board of Directors.

The 2017/18 season will premiere on Friday, September 15, 2017, with Richard Strauss’ theatrical and musical delight, Ariadne auf Naxos, conducted by Principal Conductor, Joseph Mechavich, and directed by Chas Rader-Shieber. Sung in English and German, this glimpse of backstage life will debut Grammy Award-Winning soprano Christine Brewer as Ariadne, who has performed this role to great acclaim with the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Lyon, Théatre du Chatelet, Santa Fe Opera, English National Opera, and Opera Theater in St. Louis. Other cast members include: soprano Elizabeth Sutphen as Zerbinetta, Louisville residents, Garrett Sorenson as Bacchus and Elizabeth Batton as The Composer. Veteran artists Daniel Mobbs and Rodell Rosel round out the cast along with members of the Barbara and Halsey E. Sandford Studio Artists Program. This “opera-for-all” will be repeated on Sunday, September 17 at 2:00pm.

On Friday and Sunday, October 27 and 29, 2017, Kentucky Opera will premiere Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, with libretto by Terrence McNally and based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean. It is one of the most performed American operas and “makes the most concentrated impact of any piece of American music theater since West Side Story more than 40 years ago.” (The Guardian, London). This engaging drama of a nun’s relationship with a convicted murderer is directed by Ellen Douglas Schlaefer (KO debut) and conducted by Joseph Mechavich. Dead Man Walking will feature the radiant mezzo-soprano Emily Fons as Sister Helen Prejean, baritone Morgan Smith as Joseph DeRocher, mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella as Mrs. Patrick DeRocher, soprano Karen Slack as Sister Rose, Allan Glassman, and Louisville natives, Chad Sloan, Emily Albrink, and Evan Boyer.

The 66th Season will conclude with Rossini’s popular masterpiece, The Barber of Seville, sung in Italian. Not seen at Kentucky Opera in over ten years, Rossini’s comedic charmer has delighted generations of music lovers with its well-known and beloved melodies, not to mention its hijinks and hilarious plot. Making their Kentucky Opera debut, Conductor Robert Tweten and Director Matthew Ozawa will showcase The Barber of Seville on February 16 and 18, 2018 with a roster of spectacular voices including baritone Will Liverman as Figaro, mezzo-soprano Megan Marino as Rosina, tenor Alasdair Kent as Count Almaviva, bass-baritone Dale Travis as Dr. Bartolo, and bass Adam Lau as Basilio; all making their Kentucky Opera debuts.

Kentucky Opera has been presenting the highest artistic caliber of operas for over 65 years. The Brown-Forman 2017/18 Season Sponsors are Hilliard Lyons, Stoll Keenon Ogden, PLLC, Stock Yards Bank & Trust, Treyton Oak Towers, Claudia W. Muir, The Guild of Kentucky Opera, and the Arthur & Mary Celeste Lerman Foundation. To order your season ticket, please visit: or call 502-584-4500. Packages begin at $95.


About Kentucky Opera: Currently in its 66th season of production, Kentucky Opera was founded in 1952 and designated the State Opera of Kentucky in 1982. The mission of Kentucky Opera is to entertain and educate a broad, diverse audience by producing opera of the highest quality. Follow the Kentucky Opera on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports Kentucky Opera with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.