Ace Edewards talks to Brian Salesky about the upcoming Knoxville Opera season. 


See the original article on WUOT’s website here.

Long before Bugs Bunny made a mockery of opera, it was none other than Mozart who wrote the definitive parody of opera directors and singers. In this contemporary adaptation filled with folly and frolic, Knoxville Opera’s egomaniacal Impresario engages Cristoforo Cannelloni, a “know-it-all” Italian opera fanatic, to deal with the trials and tribulations of casting his upcoming production of Gianni Schicchi. After an intermission, you’ll see how the casting works out in Puccini’s comic masterpiece about Florence, Italy’s most notorious reprobate. Gianni Schicchi’s hilarious plot and ravishing music includes opera’s most beloved soprano aria, “Oh! mio babbino caro.”

Performed at the Tennessee Theatre in English, German, and Italian with projected English translations.
Opera previews hosted by Maestro Salesky begin 45 minutes prior to each performance.

Knoxville Opera
Box Office
612 East Depot Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37917
865-524-0795 ext. 1
Box Office is open Monday – Friday, 9:30 – 5:30.
Subscriptions may be purchased August 1, 2018 – February 15, 2019 either at the Box Office or by phone.
For a seating chart, click HERE.
For ticket prices click HERE.

Meet the Director

Brian Deedrick
Stage Director

Knoxville Opera is delighted to welcome back international stage director BRIAN DEEDRICK following his very successful Knoxville productions of Die FledermausThe Elixir of Love, Mefistofele, The Pirates of Penzance, La Bohème, and Maria Stuarda. As a freelance opera and theatre director, his work takes him all over Canada and the United States, with occasional forays as far afield as Casalmaggiore, Italy and Tel Aviv. During his years as Artistic Director of Edmonton Opera, some of his favorite productions there include FidelioOtelloJulius CaesarFalstaffWeill in WeimarThe Emperor of AtlantisThe Abduction from the Seraglio, and South Pacific. Selected freelance opera credits have included Turandot and Aïda for Fort Worth Opera, Don Giovanni for Austin Lyric Opera, Otello and La Bohème for L’Opéra de Québec, Eugene Onegin and Tosca for Opera Carolina, The Flying Dutchman for Baltimore Opera, L’Elisir d’amore and The Pearl Fishers for Arizona Opera and The Merry Widow and Don Pasquale in Honolulu. Mr. Deedrick’s most recent projects have included La Bohème in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Candide in Edmonton. Upcoming productions include The Threepenny Opera for Studio Theatre, Lucia di Lammermoor for Edmonton Opera, Dead Man Walking for Opera Nuova, and Aïda for Austin Lyric Opera. When not directing, the Canadian native works as a city tour guide in Berlin, Germany.

Meet the Cast

Sean Anderson 
The Impresario, Dr. Spinelloccio, Notary

Birthplace: New York, New York
Foreign Opera: Opera Theatre of Lucca

U.S. Opera: Knoxville Opera (Die Fledermaus, The Elixir of Love, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance), Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera,  Baz Luhrman’s La Bohème on Broadway, Sarasota Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Opera Columbus, Chautauqua Opera, Opera New Jersey, Pittsburgh Opera Theatre, Opera Delaware, Opera Southwest, Intermountain Opera (Montana), Di Capo Opera , Ohio Light Opera
U.S. Festival: Princeton Opera

Kirk Dougherty
Cristoforo Cannelloni, Rinuccio

Birthplace: Sleepy Hollow, New York
U.S. Opera: Sarasota Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Opera San Jose, Anchorage Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Delaware, Opera Las Vegas, Salt Marsh Opera, Opera Louisiane, Piedmont Opera, Opera Naples, Raylynmor Opera, Opera at Florham, Baltimore Concert Opera, Bronx Opera, Oswego Opera Theatre, Duluth Festival Opera, Teatro Grattacielo (NYC)

U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: American Symphony, Little Orchestra Society (NYC), Garden State Philharmonic, Helena Symphony,  Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra,Rhode Island Civic Choral and Orchestra, Glacier Symphony, Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, Orchestra of the Bronx, Castleton Festival, Grand Canyon Music Festival, Belleayre Music Festival, North Shore Music Festival

Brandie Sutton
Herself, Lauretta

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Foreign Opera: Tours of Porgy and Bess in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, Mexico, and Israel

Foreign Orchestras: Royal Danish Symphony, Radio Orpheus Symphony (Moscow), Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic (Siberia)
U.S. Opera: Seattle Opera, New York City Opera, Washington Opera Society, Kentucky Opera, Princeton Opera Festival, American Opera Projects (NYC), Di Capo Opera (NYC)
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: National Symphony, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Mid-Atlantic Symphony, Flint Symphony, Aiken Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival (NYC)

Brittany Robinson
Herself, Nella

Birthplace: Burnsville, Minnesota
Foreign Opera: Opera on the Avalon (Canada), Tours of Porgy and Bess in Germany, Italy, and Israel

Foreign Orchestras and Festivals: Siena Chamber Orchestra (Italy), Guelph Symphony (Canada)
U.S. Opera: Florida Grand Opera, Opera Orlando, Opera San Jose, Chautauqua Opera, Light Opera of New York, Piedmont Opera, Salt Marsh Opera, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, Baltimore Municipal Opera
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Greensboro Symphony, Crested Butte Music Festival, Poconos Music Festival

Scott Bearden
Gianni Schicchi

Birthplace:  Flint, Michigan
Foreign Opera Company:  International Vocal Arts Institute (Tel Aviv)
U.S. Opera Companies:  Knoxville Opera (Pagliacci, Otello, La Fanciulla del West, Hansel and Gretel, Tosca, Maria Stuarda, Aida, 40th Anniversary Gala Concert), San Francisco Opera, Opera Boston, Opera New Jersey, Opera Memphis, Toledo Opera, Mississippi Opera, Opera Theater of Connecticut, Opera San Jose, Opera Grand Rapids, Eugene Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, West Bay Opera, Mercury Opera, Rockland Opera (NY), California Festival Opera.
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals:  Knoxville Symphony, Monterey Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Midland Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, Tanglewood Music Festival, Caramoor Music Festival, Sanibel Music Festival, Mendocino Music Festival.

Andrew Wentzel

Member of the Knoxville Opera Hall of Fame; 
Honorary Member of the Knoxville Opera Board of Directors

Birthplace: Mishawaka, Indiana
Foreign Opera: Spoleto Festival (Italy), Edmonton Opera, Calgary Opera
Foreign Orchestras: Tokyo Symphony, L’Orchestre de Montréal, Jerusalem Philharmonic, National Orchestra of India
U.S. Opera: Knoxville Opera (Don Giovanni, La Cenerentola, La Bohème, La Forza del Destino, Lucia di Lammermoor, Roméo et Juliette, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance), Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, San Diego Opera, New York City Opera, St. Louis Opera, Minnesota Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Knoxville Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Columbus Opera, Boston Lyric Opera
U.S. Orchestras & Festivals: Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony, Spokane Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic, Memphis Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Pensacola Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Pacific Symphony; Berkshire Choral Festival, Choral Arts Society (D.C.), Virginia Arts Festival.

Elizabeth Peterson

Birthplace:  St. Petersburg, Florida
Foreign Festival:  Edinburgh Arts Festival
U.S. Opera: Knoxville Opera (Hansel and Gretel), Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Toledo Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Whitewater/Sorg Opera, Ohio Light Opera
U.S. Orchestras:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Tampa Bay Master Chorale and Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, Middletown Symphony Orchestra
U.S. Festivals:  Spoleto Festival, Lake Eden Arts Festival

Perry Ward

Birthplace: Clinton, Tennessee
Foreign Orchestra: Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
U.S. Opera: Knoxville Opera (The Merry Widow, Madama Butterfly, Carmen), Metropolitan Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Palm Beach Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Cleveland Opera, Anchorage Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Memphis, Connecticut Grand Opera, Opera Delaware, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Chautauqua Opera

U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: Boston Symphony, Opera Orchestra of New York, Knoxville Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, Tanglewood Festival, Spoleto Festival.

Daniel T. Berry

Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
U.S. Opera: Knoxville Opera (Tosca, The Sound of Music, Cendrillon, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto, Oklahoma!, The Magic Flute, The King and I, Madama Butterfly, Carmen, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Otello, Die Fledermaus, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Boheme, Salome , Tosca, Rigoletto, Gianni Schicchi, Romeo et Juliette, The Merry Widow,
Le Nozze di Figaro, I Puritani
), Florentine Opera, Skylight Comic Opera, Peoria Civic Opera, Northern Indiana Opera

U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Peoria Civic Orchestra, Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, Kingsport Symphony Orchestra, Symphony of the Mountains, Bach Chamber Orchestra.

Sarah-Clementine Mire
La Ciesca

Birthplace: Lubbock, Texas
Foreign Opera: Music in the March (Italy), Opera Maya
U.S. Opera: San Antonio Lyric Opera, Britten at 100 Symposium, Texas Tech Opera Theatre, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals, Moonlight Broadway, Rose Rock Opera Institute
U.S. Orchestras: Lubbock Symphony, Texas Tech Symphony

Wayd Odle

Birthplace: Papillion, Nebraska
U.S. Opera: Utah Opera, Utah Lyric Opera, Brigham Young University Opera Theatre
U.S. Orchestras and Festival: Utah Philharmonic Orchestra, Brigham Young University Chamber Orchestra, Atlantic Music Festival

Derek Stull

Birthplace: Scottsdale, Arizona
U.S. Opera: Dallas Baptist University Opera Theatre


Brad Summers

Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio
U.S. Opera: Utah State Theatre, Utah state University Opera, University of Tennessee Opera Theatre, Marble City Opera
U.S. Festival: Savannah VOICE Festival


Joseph Nieman

Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska
Musical Theater:Oak Ridge Playhouse, Tennessee Valley Players, Roane State Community College, Karns High School, Bearden High School, Carter High School, Oak Ridge High School
Television: Drew Peterson: An American Murder Mystery, Dollywood Great Pumpkin LumiNights
Concerts: Sound Company Children’s Show Choir


THE IMPRESARIO was designed by Mozart to poke outrageous fun at the trials and tribulations of being the director of an opera company.  Our irreverent contemporary version takes place in August, 2018 on the stage of the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee.  The Impresario, Knoxville Opera’s General Director, is busy putting the finishing touches on the scenery and props for the company’s upcoming production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.  Retired Italian tenor Cristoforo Cannelloni (a legend in his own mind) has been engaged to assist the Impresario who apparently has no talent in casting singers.  Among the artists making the final cut are a local reverend, the gentleman who sings the national anthem at UT football games, and the two egomaniacal men who don’t hesitate to cast themselves.  Auditioning for the plumb ingénue role are two University of Tennessee students who sing like angels but act like dueling divas!

GIANNI SCHICCHI takes place at 9:00 am on September 1, 1299 in Florence, Italy.  Wealthy aristocrat Buoso Donati has just died and his family are gathered in mourning.   Upon discovering his Last Will and Testament they are appalled to learn that Donati has left his most valued possessions to a group of friars.  Greed drives them to contrive a way to change the will in order to give the inheritance to themselves.  Called in to save the day is the reprobate Gianni Schicchi, whose daughter Lauretta is in love with Donati’s cousin’s nephew Rinuccio.  Schicchi devises a scheme to take Donati’s place in bed, call in a notary, and redo the will.  The relatives are elated, each entreating Schicchi to favor them when he rewrites the testament.  The notary arrives and dutifully executes Donati’s (Schicchi’s) wishes.  Suffice it to say that Lauretta and Rinuccio will be married with a handsome dowry!