Knoxville Opera Presents Lucia Di Lammermoor

Lucia Di Lammermoor, Knoxville Opera, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, February 2019

This weekend (Friday, 7:30 PM, Sunday, 2:30 PM) Knoxville Opera presents Lucia Di Lammermoor at the Tennessee Theatre. It is the second production in their 2018 – 2019 season and features Brian Salesky as Music Director and Conductor, Brian Deedrick as Stage Director and John Horner as Lighting Designer. The intermission at each performance of the dramatic love story will feature renewals of the vows for couples who have made advanced arrangements to do so.

The opera debuted in Italy in 1835 and is presented in Italian (with English subtitles). With music written by Gaetano Donizetti and words (libretto) written by Salvadore Cammarano, it is loosely based on a novel, The Bride of Lammermoor, written by Sir Walter Scott. Interestingly, the novel inspired additional musical works beyond this opera.

Lucia Di Lammermoor, Knoxville Opera, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, February 2019

Lucia Di Lammermoor, Knoxville Opera, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, February 2019

The story focuses on Lucy Ashton (Lucia, played by Meryl Dominguez) and her forbidden desire to be with Edgardo (played by Aaron Short) of the hereditary enemy. Her brother, Enrico (Michael Adams) forbids the union and demands that she marry Arturo (Chrstopher Plaas) which will form a union that preserves his empire. The results of his demands are bloody and tragic. It’s a little Romeo and Juliet with a bit more mental illness and an extra dash of bloodiness.

The opera debuted in Naples, was then presented in London and Paris, first being presented in the United States in New Orleans. While it was heralded at its openings, it was slow to take its place among the most performed operas, though it eventually became established among the pantheon. It was “never absent for more than a year,” from the Metropolitan Opera for most of the last century.

Lucia Di Lammermoor, Knoxville Opera, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, February 2019

Lucia Di Lammermoor, Knoxville Opera, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, February 2019

As always, the performance presented in Knoxville features something to appeal to most opera goers. Excellent vocals, lighting, sets and costumes offer something for everyone. Members of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra provide excellent accompaniment, offering concert goers an orchestral performance worth the price of admission in itself.

Lucia Di Lammermoor, Knoxville Opera, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, February 2019

Lucia Di Lammermoor, Knoxville Opera, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, February 2019

Lucia Di Lammermoor, Knoxville Opera, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, February 2019

Meryl Dominguez is from Brooklyn, New York and has been a featured vocalist with a number of U.S. opera companies and orchestras. Aaron Short, from St. Louis, Missouri, has also been featured widely across the U.S. and internationally by Lyric Opera Studio Weimar. Michael Adams has numerous national and international credits and is from Fort Worth, Texas. The trio and the entire cast offer a strong vocal counterpart to the orchestra. Biographical sketches of the other leads may be found here.

If you’d like to give the opera a try, check out Beth Evan’s primer, “What’s Opera, Knox?” You can purchase tickets here.

Basement Community Art Studio Closes in the Old City

Brynn Gonzalez and Jennifer MacIsaac, The Basement Community Art Studio, 105 W. Jackson, Knoxville, June 2015

The Basement Community Art Studio has announced it is ending a nearly four-year run at 105 West Jackson Avenue. When it opened in May 2015, it offered a very different option for creatives of all ages, with supplies provided for open studio time and classes provided for those who wanted to expand their artistic horizons. It’s a loss on a personal level because hanging out during open studio time was probably Urban Girl’s favorite thing to do downtown.
In Facebook, Instagram and email list announcements, co-owner and operator Jennifer MacIssac expressed her appreciation for everyone who has supported the studio and “allowing us to be a part of your creative journey.” The statement went on, “We will be closing our doors for the final time on February 21st.”

The Basement Community Art Studio, 105 W. Jackson, Knoxville, June 2015

The Basement Community Art Studio, 105 W. Jackson, Knoxville, June 2015

Building owner Brynn Crowell can still be found upstairs at Lox Salon, of course, and will continue to host First Friday events and otherwise support the creative community. I spoke with her and she indicated the space below Lox will soon be a yoga studio and I hope to have more information on that, soon.
Meanwhile, Jennifer MacIsaac, who was the face of the business, will continue fostering creativity in another setting. She has taken the position of Makespace Coordinator at MUSE Knoxville. You’ll find her hosting a “Mess Maker Monday sensory based art experience,” weekly. “Jennifer plans to continue offering pop up art classes, and workshops both through the MUSE and on her own.

The Basement Community Art Studio, 105 W. Jackson, Knoxville, December 2015

She is also co-hosting Creating Mindfulness women’s circles and retreats where women are invited to explore a practice in mindfulness through creative expression.” Be sure to check out her websites Art-Breaks, Creating Mindfulness and her Art-Breaks Instagram. She’ll announce upcoming events and classes via Instagram.

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Downtown Knoxville Ten Day Planner (2/17 – 2/26/2019)

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