The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Citing disappointing ticket sales, producer Henno Lohmeyer has cancelled the remainder of the Gail Robinson Series of recitals and concerts.
According to a news release from Lohmeyer’s Multigram Productions, the initial event, a Nov. 3 recital by soprano Christine Goerke and pianist Bradley Moore at Transylvania University, sold only a fraction of the available tickets. Ticket sales were even more disappointing for upcoming events including a recital by pianist Julia Siciliano and violinist Virgil Boutellis slated for Tuesday.
Lohmeyer, a former producer in Europe and New York, had launched the series in hopes of adding current opera stars to the Lexington area’s lineup of touring artists, which leans heavily on instrumentalists and ensembles. The remaining artists on the series were tenor Gregory Turay in January and mezzo soprano Michelle DeYoung in April. He named the series in honor of his late wife, Metropolitan Opera hall of fame soprano and administrator Gail Robinson, who held the University of Kentucky’s distinguished chair in voice from 1999 until her death in 2008.
The news release stated all ticket holders will be reimbursed.
May4Filed under: Central Kentucky Arts News, Music, Opera, UK; Tagged as: Anna Moffo, Catherine Malfitano, Clifton Smith, Gail Robinson, George Shirley, Henno Lohmeyer, Kentucky District, Lexington Opera Society, Martina Arroyo, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Paul Groves, Sherrill Milnes
Henno Lohmeyer, the widower of late University of Kentucky voice professor Gail Robinson, is resigning his post as co-director of the Kentucky District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Lohmeyer, who was a television producer in Germany when he and Robinson met, was an integral figure in making the Kentucky District auditions an annual arts event in Lexington and putting them on the national opera map.
The auditions have been held each fall in UK’s Memorial Hall for the past 10 years, and featured panels of judges including Sherrill Milnes, George Shirley, Catherine Malfitano, Martina Arroyo, Paul Groves, and Anna Moffo. Lohmeyer’s connections from his television days and his and Robinson’s years in New York at the Metropolitan Opera, were a key to attracting those panelists. Robinson died in October after a long battle with rheumatoid arthritis.
The auditions have also attracted hundreds of opera fans to Memorial Hall each year, while many other districts are relatively quiet affairs.
In a letter to the Lexington Opera Society Board, Lohmeyer said he will continue to help Kentucky District director Clifton Smith with the auditions, including securing judges. He noted that soprano Carol Vaness and tenor Douglas Ahlstedt have already been secured for next fall.
“I thank you for your support of the program and for the kindness you extended to me,” Lohmeyer said in his note. “And now it is time to return to the garden. Lilies, dahlias and the elephant ears are waiting to be planted. You know, it is the season to be dirty.”
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