From the fantastical Nutcracker to the heartwarming A Christmas Carol, performances by our local arts organizations have added beauty, magic and memories to the holiday season for decades. Here, some of the key players in our most anticipated holiday shows share behind-the-scene insights and their own must-see traditions.
Filled with artistry and magic, Louisville’s broad spectrum of holiday performances manages to enchant the young and old alike. Those of us in the audience can count on these shows to help make the season a special one, year after year. But what about those artists who make the magic happen? What moves them most about the performances that are a special part of their lives as well? And what other shows do they find time to enjoy as spectators?
Here’s what a few had to say about their unique roles in our holiday season and their personal must-see traditions.
Barbara Lynne Jamison, General Director of the Kentucky Opera
Her Holiday Favorites: “Having just moved here this past summer, I’m excited to explore the holiday offerings of this city. I’ve recently heard about a longstanding community chorus celebrating their 25th anniversary this season. I’m excited to attend the VOICES of Kentuckiana holiday concert, Red & Green to be performed on December 9th at the Kentucky Center for the Arts." (www.voicesky.org for ticket information)
Kentucky Opera Surprise: “Our next opera will be Verdi’s Rigoletto, with rehearsals beginning in the new year. This is an opera that is causing quite a stir across the country, in light of, the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement. Stage director, Kathleen Belcher, is considering the original time period of the piece when curses were believable and women were considered the property of men. Our production will be set in the 16th century where 21st century audiences will be shocked to see much of the story is happening in today’s world – even with our enlightened views of gender, equality, science, and religion.” RIGOLETTO by Guiseppe Verdi will be performed at the Brown Theater on February 15 & 17, 2019. (www.KYOpera.org or call 502-584-7777 for tickets)
Patricia Fong-Edwards, Full-time Violinist with The Louisville Orchestra since 1997
Holiday Show: The Brown-Forman Nutcracker
Her Holiday Favorite: “I may be partial, but the Nutcracker is my favorite. I love all of Tchaikovsky, but personally, I think his ballets are greater than his symphonies (exception being his exquisite Symphony no. 6 and the famous oboe solo in Symphony no. 4). I never get tired of the music from it. Multiple performances are a great way to keep our “chops” because the piece does require a lot of technique. However, December gives us a break from having to learn new, difficult music since we have been playing this ballet for years.
I truly enjoy working with the Louisville Ballet dancers. The arts speak powerfully whenever there is a collaboration of more than one group. Having different arts groups work together, allows us to increase our pool of audience, bringing more positive attention and exposure to one another.”
Louisville Orchestra Surprise: “During Nutcracker season, people often offer plates of snacks and treats in the musician lounge. With us, it is all about the food. Then our manager, Adrienne, puts up a lighted statue of a flamingo next to a palm tree. We often hang ornaments or candy canes to the palm tree which adds a sense of humor to our space during our holiday performances.” (For ticket information go to www.louisvilleballet.org and for information on the upcoming Louisville Orchestra season, go to www.louisvilleorchestra.org)
Kim Baker, President & CEO, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
Her Holiday Favorites: “The Kentucky Center and Brown Theatre have so many wonderful holiday performances this year, it is hard to pick just one. My daughters and I always look forward to seeing Louisville Ballet’s The Brown-Forman Nutcracker and are always hopeful to be amidst the snow that falls from the ceiling of Whitney Hall! Louisville Orchestra’s production of Handel’s Messiah performed at different churches throughout Louisville, will no doubt be inspiring. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (performed at the Brown Theatre) is also a must-see for me, because I love seeing a beloved childhood memory brought to life on stage.”
Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts Surprise: “New to our holiday schedule is PNC Broadway in Louisville’s production of A Christmas Story which should add a lot of fun to the traditional holiday fare.”
(www.kentuckycenter.org or call 502-584-7777/800-775-7777 for ticket information)
Robert Curran, Artistic Director/Executive Director, The Louisville Ballet
Holiday Show: The Brown-Forman Nutcracker
His Holiday Favorite: “With my hectic schedule, I really just love spending time with my family, enjoying a viewing of the movie Love Actually, and relishing in a large glass of bourbon!”
Louisville Ballet Surprise: “This is the first year that Louisville Ballet is presenting a sensory friendly performance of The Brown-Forman Nutcracker. It will feature a specifically designed atmosphere that is comfortable, inclusive and safe for individuals who have sensory sensitivities.” (The sensory friendly show will be performed December 9, 2018 at 11:30 am.)
(www.louisvilleballet.org for ticket information)
John G. Preston, Ebeneezer Scrooge/ Actors Theatre of Louisville
Holiday Show: A Christmas Carol
His Holiday Favorite: “This is my fourth-year spending Christmas in Louisville and it is rapidly becoming my favorite holiday celebration. Louisville feels more and more like a holiday home away from home for me. It is such a welcoming city and the audiences are a joy to perform for. I spend a great deal of time rehearsing and performing, A Christmas Carol, so I don’t have the freedom to enjoy the other amazing seasonal productions offered in the city. It is an honor having the opportunity to come back year after year and working for this world class theatre.” (www.actorstheatre.org for ticket information
A Christmas Carol Surprise: The show is different every year simply because there are new actors in the cast every year. This cast is very strong musically which has been a delight to hear.