From the Executive Director/Conductor

June 25, 2014

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to welcome you to Knoxville Opera’s 37th Season, highlighted by many exciting artists performing three operas returning to the stage of our magnificent Tennessee Theatre after many years’ absence: Gilbert & Sullivan’s rollicking H.M.S. Pinafore (last heard in 2001), Bizet’s legendary Carmen (last heard in 2007), and Verdi’s blazing Il Trovatore (last heard in 1997). I encourage you to explore our entire website which provides details about these productions and all of our exciting activities.

Since I began my tenure here in 2005, our audience has been treated to many memorable performances by extraordinary artists. Joyce El-Khoury, Rachele Gilmore, Noah Stewart, Daniel Sumegi, Manrico Tedeschi and Talise Trevigne have appeared in the world’s major opera houses and concert halls since their Knoxville Opera debuts and “you heard them here first.” During this period, Knoxville Opera has expanded its repertoire with company premieres of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West, Massenet’s Manon and Bellini’s Norma and I Puritani. Our future plans to continue this repertoire growth include Boito’s Mefistofele in 2015 and Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda (Mary, Queen of Scots) in 2016.

This season we will again present more than 75 education/outreach programs serving nearly 100,000 people in the East Tennessee community and beyond. Let me mention just three of the highlights:

  • Building upon the success of the last three seasons’ in-school productions of Romeo and Juliette, Cinderella, and The Elixir of Love for 29,000 students, this coming season we will bring Bizet’s Carmen into schools along with our cornerstone Opera 101 program.
  • The 6th annual Knoxville Opera Goes to Church…A Celebration of Talent! concert will rock the ceiling of Greater Warner Tabernacle A.M.E. Zion Church in January, 2015.
  • The 14th annual Knoxville Opera Rossini Festival International Street Fair on April 25th in Downtown Knoxville will again feature 800 performers and more than 100 food and artisan vendors. We are most grateful to Mayor Madeline Rogero who has now declared this unique celebration of the performing arts as a “Legacy Event” assuring its presence on Gay Street well into the future.

Given the difficult economic times we live in, you will be happy to know that due to conservative financial disciplines and the generosity of government agencies, corporations, foundations and individuals like you, Knoxville Opera has just concluded its 9th consecutive debt-free season. Efforts to raise funds never cease as we must raise our entire $1,350,000 annual budget from scratch every season! Our operating reserves ensure the company’s ability to continue serving the East Tennessee community without interruption. Gifts dramatically contributing to our fiscal stability during the past three seasons include a landmark grant from The Aslan Foundation, the highest grants received in the company’s history from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and a significant bequest from the Estates of Sammie Lynn and Eugene Puett. Deep appreciation goes to all whose generous support has assisted us in establishing our solid financial foundation.

Thank you for your support! I look forward to having you in our audience for another unforgettable season!





Brian Salesky
Executive Director and Conductor

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