Who We Are
The Full Story
Marble City Opera was founded by Soprano, Kathryn Frady & Baritone, Kevin Dougherty in 2013, and continued under the Executive Artistic Leadership of Frady since 2014. Marble City Opera is Knoxville's chamber opera company, bringing American Chamber Opera and innovative performances of traditional operas to new audiences. Marble City Opera brings world class singers, directors, and conductors to the stage while maintaining a dedication to creating opportunities for local, regional, and emerging artists. Marble City Opera has strong community ties and connections to other organizations, businesses, non-profits, schools, and artists within Knoxville, and the East TN community.
With Marble City Opera Frady has produced 26 fully staged productions since 2013; including 30 operas in total, nine premieres, and three new operas in development. In 2016, Frady was named one of Ten Women in Knoxville who Make a Difference by The Knoxville Mercury, and recognized as a Trailblazer in 2019 by A Step Ahead Foundation of East Tennessee.
Within a very short amount of time, MCO has garnered community and industry acclaim. Notable productions include the World Premiere of Shadowlight by Larry Delinger, noted by Opera Wire as one of the Top 6 Operas to see in February 2020. Shadowlight was developed in collaboration with the Delaney Project and Knoxville Museum of Art about local artist Beauford Delaney. Known for innovative stagings of traditional operas, MCO produced an all-female cast of La Boheme performed in a nightclub, and La Traviata in a historic home where the audience was immersed in the production traveling from room to room with the action of the opera. Four Marble City Opera productions were named Most Memorable Opera of their year: Suor Angelica in 2019, La Traviata in 2017, the double bill of La Divina and Gallanty in 2016, and the World Premiere of Amelia Lost in 2014.
In reaction to the 2020 pandemic, Frady joined the Health Department of Knoxville as a Covid coordinator and after creating a mitigation plan, she led Marble City Opera in producing the first live performance in Knoxville as well as the first live performance of Opera in the United States with a reimagined production of Pagliacci under the outdoor TN amphitheater stage in August 2020. Frady devised a plan to continue performances throughout the season by offering a hybrid production season including in-person and online viewings of all of their productions. In addition, and in response to recent events surrounding racial injustice, Frady began development on a new opera entitled I Can’t Breathe with an African-American composer and librettist team, which will currently be performed by a coalition of four opera companies.
Marble City Opera has a history of inclusivity and bringing light and work to underrepresented artists and stories. Production's such as La Femme Boheme, Amelia Lost, Blue Monday, Ties that Bond, Sweets by Kate, Follow Suit, Nero Monologues, Beneath Suspicion, City of Ashes, and Shadowlight to name a few. The tradition to connect to social themes began with the first full production with orchestra in 2013 when soprano and founder, Frady donated 9 inches of her hair and audience donations to Children with Hair Loss following the final performance of The Gift of the Magi.
“Theatre, after all, is still theatre–and theatrical Knoxville needs Marble City Opera as an essential segment of that scene.” - Arts Knoxville 2014