Henno Lohmeyer, the widower of late University of Kentucky voice professor Gail Robinson, is resigning his post as co-director of the Kentucky District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Lohmeyer, who was a television producer in Germany when he and Robinson met, was an integral figure in making the Kentucky District auditions an annual arts event in Lexington and putting them on the national opera map.
The auditions have been each fall in UK's Memorial Hall for the past 10 years. They featured panels of judges including opera luminaires Sherrill Milnes, George Shirley, Catherine Malfitano, Martina Arroyo, Paul Groves and Anna Moffo.
Lohmeyer's connections from his television days and his and Robinson's years in New York at the Metropolitan Opera were a key to attracting those panelists.
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Robinson died in October after a long battle with rheumatoid arthritis.
The auditions also have attracted hundreds of local opera fans to Memorial Hall each year, while many other districts are relatively quiet affairs.
In a letter to the Lexington Opera Society Board, Lohmeyer said he will continue to help Kentucky District director Clifton Smith with the auditions, including securing judges. He noted that soprano Carol Vaness and tenor Douglas Ahlstedt have been secured for next fall.
"I thank you for your support of the program and for the kindness you extended to me," Lohmeyer said in his note. "And now it is time to return to the garden. Lilies, dahlias and the elephant ears are waiting to be planted. You know, it is the season to be dirty."