Founding Executive Artistic Director & CEO
Kathryn Frady has a wealth of opera experience from performing, directing, producing, teaching, and consulting. Frady is the Founder of Marble City Opera and has been the Executive Artistic Director for 10 years. The company’s mission is to engage a diverse audience through intimate and accessible opera productions by producing American Chamber Opera and innovative performances of traditional operas in non-traditional venues that are relevant and vital to our community. With Marble City Opera, Kathryn has envisioned and brought to life 29 fully staged productions including ten premieres and multiple 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 Knoxville Museum of Art and Delaney Project, 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. Six Marble City Opera productions were named Most Memorable Opera or Music Performance of their year: Lily; her life, his music in 2021, Tosca in 2021, Suor Angelica in 2019, La Traviata in 2017, the double bill of La Divina and Gallantry in 2016, and the World Premiere of Amelia Lost in 2014.
In reaction to the 2020 pandemic, Frady produced 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. Additionally, 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. The opera premiered at MCO in February 2022 followed by performances by the other commissioning opera companies that Frady brought on board for this project, including Pacific Opera Project, Opera Columbus, and Cleveland Opera Theater.
Kathryn has a BM and MM in Opera from the University of North Texas, Certificates in Executive Women in Leadership and Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and a Fundraising Management Certificate from Boston University. Kathryn was honored to be selected as a participant in Opera America's prestigious Leadership Intensive in 2021.
Critically acclaimed as a soprano & stage director, Kathryn Frady has worked throughout the United States, Europe, and South Africa. A passionate advocate and prolific performer of modern operatic repertoire, Kathryn has been honored to perform leading roles, direct, and produce multiple World Premiere productions. Kathryn directed the world premiere of Larry Delinger's Shadowlight, which Arts Knoxville called "A Stunning Celebration of the Art and Life of Beauford Delaney" in a "marvelously immersive" production. As a soprano, Kathryn has been widely praised for her vocal range and dramatic talent. Kathryn has received Most Memorable Opera Awards for her performances of the title role in Tosca, Suor Angelica, Violetta in La Traviata, and Amelia in the World Premiere of Amelia Lost. Arts Knoxville’s review of Tosca said, “In addition to having those requisite vocal and dramatic qualities that make for great melodrama, Frady, appropriately costumed and coiffed, simply looked and sounded like the Tosca that one carries around in their mind’s eye.” Of her recent performance of Poulenc’s The Human Voice, Arts Knoxville noted “Frady’s brilliance as a soprano capable of riveting the audience’s attention - in vocal depth, in lyrical beauty, and in a marvelously conceived ebb and flow of posture and attitude - was as rewarding as it gets in theater.” TN Today called the same performance “nothing short of a tour de force.”
Recent and upcoming credits include performances and directorial debuts with New Orleans Opera, Opera Carolina, Knoxville Opera, Cleveland Opera Theatre, Wichita Grand Opera, the Helena Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Marble City Opera, Gulfshore Opera, Opera West!, The Living Opera, Opera in the City Festival, London, England; The Mediterranean Opera Festival, The Pierre Cardin Theatre in Paris, Opera Africa in Pretoria and Johannesburg, Centre for Opera Studies in Sulmona, Italy, Diversita Opera Company in Dallas, and the National Opera Center in New York City, North Carolina Opera, Amarillo Opera, Baldwin Wallace University, Varna International, and Opera Hunstville.