Knoxville Opera’s Rossini Festival This Weekend

In its 11th season, Knoxville Opera’s Rossini Festival has grown in ways no one could ever have imagined, growth that even seems a bit incongruous. And, if truth be told, this is growth that probably needs some organizational reflection in future planning.  Of course, this year’s KO festival production is Verdi’s Otello, the composer’s magnificent next-to-last theatre work–one that bears little, if any, resemblence, musically or theatrically, to Rossini. No matter, really, there is plenty to savor.

Otello stars tenor Michael Austin, whom I profiled in this week’s Metro Pulse, and Kassandra Dimopoulou making her US debut. (see the previous post in this blog.) The production is by Thomas Holliday with Brian Salesky conducting the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Also, in this week’s MP is a preview of the opera.

For non-operagoers, the Rossini Festival means the Saturday street fair which has become so colossal and popular, that–once known as the Italian Street Fair–it is now the ethnically-diverse “Knoxville Opera Rossini Festival International Street Fair”. While this may sound like hyperbole to those who have never visited, this street fair virtually defines the category because of its scale of attendance, entertainment, and vendor appeal. 

Gay Street, Downtown Knoxville, north half of street fair

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