Professional Training plus Performance Opportunities for Ages 8-18

Students explore stagecraft, acting, dancing and more as they work with professional teaching artists in an exciting and enriching environment in weekly rehearsals throughout the season.

Members of the 2019/20 Youth Opera Project also participated in the youth opera chorus of Bizet’s Carmen in the September production, and will perform in the production of Ben Moore and Kelley Rourke’s Robin Hood on March 27 and 29, 2020.


Registration for the 2019/20 is now closed. Youth Opera Project registration for the 2020/21 season will open in winter 2020 when the season programming is announced.

The Youth Opera Project accepts all interested participants ages 8-18, regardless of skill level and prior experience. Placement and casting auditions are held as opportunities to hear and meet participants and consider the best place for them in the program.

For more information or questions, please contact

Youth Opera Project Staff

Lisa Hasson, Chorus Master
The 2019/20 season marks Lisa Hasson’s 12th year with Kentucky Opera, where she has served as both Music Director of the Sandford Studio Artist Program and Chorus Master. Hasson has been Chorus Master and Director of the Apprentice Artist Program at Des Moines Metro Opera for 16 years. She has been guest chorus master for Turandot and Carmen with The Atlanta Opera and has coached for Opera North, Indianapolis Opera, New Orleans Opera, Knoxville Opera, Utah Festival Opera, and Florida Grand Opera. She is currently on faculty at College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. She graduated from McGill University in Montreal and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and The National Opera Studio in London.

Kelly Kitchens, Stage Director
Kelly Kitchens is a professional director, actor, adaptor, and arts educator.  She is the Co-Artistic Director of Seattle Public Theater, a Lecturer in Directing and Acting at the University of Washington, a member of the Sandbox Artists Collective, and a member of Actor’s Equity Association. Her honors include:  a three-time nominated and two time recipient of the Gregory A. Falls Award for Outstanding Director; named Best Director by the Seattle Weekly Readers Poll; Broadway World Seattle Critic’s Choice Award for Best Direction of a Play; Seattle Theater Writers Gypsy Rose Lee award for Outstanding Direction of a Play; and named in Seattle Magazine’s inaugural list of “Top 20 Most Talented People in Seattle”.  Kelly earned her B.A. from Vanderbilt University and her M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Catherine Clark Nardolillo

Catherine Clarke Nardolillo, Music Director
Catherine Clark Nardolillo has appeared as a soprano soloist in concerts at Carnegie Hall, and with the Toledo Symphony, the Boulder Philharmonic, the Evansville Philharmonic, the Johnson City Symphony, the Owensboro Symphony, the Natchez Festival of Music, the National Youth Choir, the Prague Summer Nights Music Festival Orchestra, Lexington Chamber Orchestra and the Lexington Philharmonic. She has performed in operas at the Aspen Opera Theater Center, Colorado Lyric Theater, Chautauqua Music Festival, Operafestival di Roma, Dicapo Opera in New York, University of Colorado, and the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. Catherine is the Director of Voice at the Prague Summer Nights Music Festival, the Director of the Kentucky District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Music Director and conductor for Kentucky Opera’s Youth Opera Program. She currently serves on the faculty at the University of Kentucky and Centre College. A native of Maysville, Kentucky, Catherine earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky, a Masters from the University of Colorado and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from UK.

Shelby West, Stage Manager

Shelby West, Stage Manager
Shelby West is excited to be returning for her second season with Kentucky Opera where her previous credits include The Magic Flute, Enemies: A Love Story, and Rigoletto. She is a graduate of Georgetown College holding a bachelor’s degree in Theater and Film. She can’t wait to begin her involvement with the Youth Opera Project and Robin Hood this season!