By Cynthia Day Spitler


Ahoy matey!  The Pirates of Penzance is one of three operas, along with La Bohéme and Mary Queen of Scots, to be highlighted at the Blount County Public Library as the “Knoxville Opera Company 2016-2017 Season Preview.”

This year’s Knoxville Opera Preview, to be presented on Thursday, September 1, at 7 p.m., and sponsored by the Blount County Friends of the Library, will be the grand finale of this 15th season of Hot Summer Nights Concerts at the library.

Maestro Brian Salesky, Executive Director and Conductor of Knoxville Opera Company (KOC), will serve as host and accompanist in a program of selections from the new season’s operas.

Returning artists for this final performance in the Hot Summer Nights Series are last year’s soprano, Linda Barnett, and bass-baritone, Peter Johnson, who have both appeared in solo roles with KOC and performed in last year’s preview at the library.

This year’s operas feature these stories:

  • Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance features the comedic love story of Fred, a pilot turned pirate, whose romance with Mabel is foiled by his unfortunate leap year birthday.
  • Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme fascinates with unconventional snapshots of the everyday lives of four 17th century Parisian artists while spotlighting the fated love story of Rodolfo and Mimi who find the “key” to an idyllic love in the lighting of a candle.
  • Gaetano Donizetti’s Mary Queen of Scots, a tragic opera, recounts the deadly rivalry of the monarch and her cousin, Elizabeth I, Queen of England. When Elizabeth has Mary imprisoned for treason, even the intervention of Elizabeth’s advisor (who, by the way, is Mary’s lover), proves unsuccessful.


Open to the public, this program will be hosted by the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville.