The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
The Lexington Opera Society has announced the judges for this year’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, which will 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 19 at the University of Kentucky’s Memorial Hall.
Celebrated baritone Sherrill Milnes returns to the panel, having served in 2001, when he was also worked with students in the UK Opera Theatre production of W.A. Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which features two celebrated baritone roles. In addition to judging the competition, the first step to possibly singing in the national rounds on the Metropolitan Opera stage in New York, Milnes will conduct a master class at 2 p.m. Nov. 20 in Memorial Hall.
Joining him as a judge will be Johanna Meier, a Wagnerian soprano who was the first American to sing the role of Isolde in Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at Wagner’s home stage at the Bayreuth Festival, and comprimario tenor Anthony Laciura, who gave many performances with the New Orleans Opera and more than 800 performances with the Met. He also appears in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire as Eddie Kessler, Nucky’s “Man Friday.”
To most of us, fall arts means getting out in the crisp weather to attend shows and visit galleries at the time of year when creativity seems to be bursting forth like the colors on autumn leaves.
And live is generally the best way to experience the arts.
But PBS is making a decent case for staying in, or at least DVRing its Fall Arts Festival, which continues tonight, Oct. 28, with Great Performances’ presentation of the Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp showing nationally at 9 p.m. and here in Central Kentucky at 10 p.m. on KET and 8 p.m. Weds., Nov. 2, on KET2 (there are also DVR-friendly showings at 2 a.m. Oct. 29 and 4 a.m. Oct. 31). The season as a whole is diverse with operetta, rock ‘n’ roll, theater, even bluegrass next week with Steve Martin’s Give Me the Banjo.
Two things I really like about this are it shows PBS getting on a more consistent schedule with arts programming and the programs are moving around the nation. I cannot quantify this, but in the past, public television arts programs have often seemed a bit more haphazard in their timing, and if you weren’t paying attention, it was easy to miss things. Even if it is on a night a lot of us are out at arts events, at least we have a time we know we can look for these shows. And though we have seen more in recent years from cities such as Los Angeles and Washington in recent years, it is nice to see this televised festival so self-consciously not New York-centric.
Of course, it is also great to have network-quality production values focused on the arts, as tonight’s ballet program shows. I have only had time to preview a bit of the Miami City program, but it looks and sounds spectacular, with a program of diverse icons with George Balanchine and Twyla Tharp.
At its best, this series can inspire us to go out and see what’s happening in our own cities.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich