Bluegrass Opera takes the stage at Natasha's Bistro & Bar for the first time in two years Thursday with a production that shows the company's growth from a student project into a community opera company.
"Now that I'm not at UK anymore, we are bringing in a lot more people from the community," says company founder and director Lorne Dechtenberg, who earned his doctorate at the University of Kentucky last year.
Its production of Don Perlimplin will demonstrate that growth with a cast that combines UK students and local professional singers, directed by veteran Lexington stage director Bill Barto.
The opera, by UK Russian professor Gerald Janecek and based on a play by Federico Garcia Lorca, is about an older man who marries a younger woman so she can take care of him in old age.
"It's tragic, but there are a lot of comic moments," says Dechtenberg who adds that the music, although not tonal, is not the dense stuff that scares people away from modern opera.
"It's not hard on the ears," he says. "There is always some version of the melody."
The company staged a concert version of the opera a couple of years ago, and Dechtenberg says the work and the company were ready to give it a fully staged run.
"We're in a great place," he says.