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In early 1987, our first year here, my parents came and visited us at our rented shack in the South Knox County hinterlands. They arrived on a Sunday in late March; after some language barrier issues with people giving them directions (“Maryville Pike” spoken with a southern accent sounds just like “Murrville Park” with a northern accent), they finally found our place. Trees had leafed out more than just a little, and we grilled out at violist Bill Pierce’s Cedar Lane apartment comfortably in the 65-degree weather. A violinist in the orchestra then, Karen Lowry, threw a chamber music party on a rainy Thursday evening at the house of Pat Carter. When we left Pat’s house, it was snowing. After eight inches fell overnight, we opened Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet with the Knoxville Opera under the direction of Robert Lyall at the Tennessee on April 3, 1987.

Since this was our first winter here, we thought that random snowstorms could happen at any time during any month with an “r” in it. My wife, a Minnesotan, and I, from Connecticut (I don’t know what you call people from Connecticut), have been sadly disappointed over the years to find that that was the exception and not the rule.

The opera that happened that weekend has consistently been a treat, however. Robert Lyall, Francis Graffeo and Brian Salesky all have led many memorable performances over the years. Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet will again be produced this coming weekend, and snow doesn’t seem to be in the picture. More to follow...
2 years ago | | Read Full Story
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