Arts and Culture

The Kentucky Opera announced Wednesday that Barbara Lynne Jamison of the Seattle Opera will become the organization’s new general director.

The position was last held by Ian Derrer, who left the Kentucky Opera in April after two years with the company; he is now the general director and CEO of the Dallas Opera.

Jamison currently works as the Seattle Opera’s director of programs and partnerships. She said Kentucky Opera’s reputation was a big draw in accepting the position of general director.

“Kentucky Opera actually has a long and distinguished record of great opera in this country, so it’s certainly on the map nationally,” Jamison said. “And I was aware of the good work that it’s done in the past.”

Jamison also has a background in both vocal performance and music education; she’s spearheaded several initiatives to engage more youth of diverse backgrounds in opera — something she hopes to continue at the Kentucky Opera:

“I would love to see Kentucky Opera continue to build its audiences though works that resonate with different people — not just younger in age, but new audiences,” Jamison said. “People who might be older, but had written opera off as something that’s not for them.”

In a release, Henry Kuehn, president of the Board of Directors, said: “Barbara Lynne Jamison’s appointment marks the successful conclusion of a thorough national search to identify the leader whose vision, creativity and experience will best guide and build the Kentucky Opera. Barbara brings with her expertise as a successful arts programmer and has a proven record of strategic leadership with a focus on increasing community impact.”

Jamison will oversee the opera’s 67th season, which was programmed by Derrer and includes three productions: “The Magic Flute,” “Enemies, A Love Story,” and “Rigoletto.”

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.