Kentucky Opera Adds A Music Director To Their Artistic Team

By: Apr. 09, 2010
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Kentucky Opera has announced the addition of Joseph Mechavich to the staff as Music Director and Principal Conductor. In this position, Mechavich will bring artistic continuity to the Orchestra in the pit and the artists on stage. His role will include programming, artist selection and when appropriate, take the podium with the Louisville Orchestra. Mechavich was introduced as the new Music Director/Principal Conductor to the Kentucky Opera board of directors in December. He has been working with General Director, David Roth, on developing the upcoming 2010-11 season and will be in Louisville for chorus auditions in the middle of April.

One of the reasons Mechavich was chosen for this role is the positive relationship he has cultivated with the musicians of the Louisville Orchestra. "We work very well together," says Mechavich. "The LO is an incredible ensemble, and I always look forward to working with them. We are all passionate about what we do and that passion resonates into harmonious working relationships."

Roth says, "Joe has been a guest conductor for Kentucky Opera since the February 2007 production of the Pearl Fishers where he masterfully worked with the singers and easily developed a rapport with the Orchestra to create an artistically spectacular product." Roth continues, "Joe has impeccable artistic judgment for which I have a deep appreciation and respect completely. This new artistic partnership with Joe is a positive step forward for Kentucky Opera."

Lindsay Pummell, Director of Operations for the Louisville Orchestra is pleased with the addition. "A primary opera conductor will lead to stability between the two organizations, and Maestro Mechavich is a perfect bridge. He has worked in the Brown Theatre pit and understands the acoustics of the space, and the musicians enjoy the consistency of a Maestro who is acclimated to the sound created by our orchestra in that particular environment."

Regarded as a conductor of "authority and warmth", and known for his thoughtful and idiomatic interpretations, Joseph Mechavich is one of North America's foremost conductors. In January of 2009 Joseph was named as an "emerging artist" by The American League of Orchestras. He shared a close relationship with Kentucky Opera where he most recently conducted Of Mice and Men, and in previous seasons conducted Werther, Il trovatore and Les pêcheurs des perles, which was praised by Opera News as "exhilarating yet precise in control."

He presided over performances of Madame Butterfly at New York City Opera, Porgy and Bess at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Cendrillon at Aspen Music Festival. The 2009-10 season Mo. Mechavich made debuts with The Washington National Opera conducting IL Barbiere di Siviglia and Oberlin College Conservatory of Music conducting Candide. In addition, he returned to the podium at The Naples Philharmonic for Don Giovanni, Opera Birmingham for Aida and Dayton Opera for Faust. Along with Madame Butterfly and Elixir of Love for Kentucky Opera, future seasons will see Joseph leading productions of Susannah for Des Moines Metro Opera and Aida for Calgary Opera.

Mechavich served as Principal Conductor for Opera Birmingham for six seasons where he led the company's productions of Turandot, Madame Butterfly, Aida, La bohème, La traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, L'elisir d'amore, La Cenerentola, and IL Barbiere di Siviglia. He has presided over critically acclaimed productions for several opera companies including: Dayton Opera's L'elisir d'amore and Samson et Dalila, for Utah Opera's Madame Butterfly, for Tulsa Opera's L'elisir d'amore as well as for Pine Mountain Music Festival, Lake George Opera Festival, Virginia Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera and Spokane Opera. Others with which he has collaborated include Austin Lyric Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, New Orleans Opera, Mobile Opera, Nevada Opera and Berkshire Opera.

On the concert stage, Joseph appeared with the Naples Philharmonic, Orlando Philharmonic, Hartford Symphony, Waterbury Symphony, Virginia Symphony and the Sarasota Orchestra, and shared the stage in gala performances with Denyce Graves and Angela Brown. He collaborated on ballet productions with the Orlando Ballet, Nutmeg Ballet in Connecticut and Sarasota Ballet. A frequent recitalist, he appeared as a pianist working in partnership with members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Virginia Symphony and the Orlando Philharmonic.

Joseph is a native of Minnesota, and completed his studies at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and The Yale University School of Music. He has held the positions of Assistant Conductor, Chorus Master, and Coach for Minnesota Opera for five seasons, Director of Music for Orlando Opera for two years and Cover Conductor for four seasons with The Santa Fe Opera.

Kentucky Opera's 2010 Brown-Forman Fall Season opens with two tragic one-act operas, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci on September 24 at 8pm and September 26 at 2pm. The season continues with Donizetti's lovable romp, The Elixir of Love on October 22 at 8pm and October 24 at 2pm. To close the 2010 Brown-Forman Fall Season Kentucky Opera presents one of the most beloved of all operas, Puccini's Madame Butterfly on November 19 at 8pm and November 21 at 2pm.

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Single tickets will go on sale in August.

Entering its 58th season of production, Kentucky Opera was founded in 1952 and designated the State Opera of Kentucky in 1982. The mission of Kentucky Opera is to entertain and educate a broad, diverse audience by producing opera of the highest quality.


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