Rossini Festival Brings Opera to the Streets

Knoxville, TN – Knoxville Opera’s ninth annual Rossini Festival on Saturday April 24, 2010 will be larger than life with 170 unique food vendors and artisans, as well as four outdoor stages showcasing ballet, modern and ethnic dance, choirs and jazz – and, of course, opera. In fact, there’s a full menu of opera featuring Gioachino Rossini’s classic comic opera, The Barber of Seville, in Italian with English subtitles, at the Tennessee Theatre on Friday, April 23 and Sunday, April 25. Saturday’s Rossini Festival is a taste of Italy with traditional food and a visual feast of entertainment for the expected 70,000 revelers.

Modeled after Pesaro, Italy’s famed Rossini Opera Festival, Knoxville’s Rossini Festival 2010 will feature an authentic “Little Italy” at the heart of event. Vendors will implement a green initiative suggesting festival goers forgo Styrofoam in favor of environmentally friendly products. There will be a food collection drive to support Second Harvest Food Bank. Internationally renowned YeeHaw Industries has created a limited-edition earth-conscious commemorative letter-press poster, signed and numbered by the artist, with a select few to be signed by the principal cast members of Knoxville Opera’sThe Barber of Seville.

“The Rossini Festival has grown in scope each year as Knoxville has embraced the street fair and opened its heart to opera,” said Brian Salesky, executive director of Knoxville Opera. “There’s nothing better than a family-friendly opera that inspires everyone to come in and out of the theater singing ‘Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!’” An alumnus of the Juilliard Opera Theater and the University of Tennessee, Kevin Burdette will sing the role of Bartolo. Knoxville audiences will remember Burdette as Sergeant Sulpice in Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment.

In addition to the FREE Italian Street Fair from noon to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 24 on Gay Street and Market Square in downtown Knoxville, 2010 featured Rossini Festival attractions include UT Opera Theatre’s production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Paulus’ The Village Singer on Saturday, April 24 at 2:00 p.m. and again at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 25 at 8 p.m. Knoxville Opera will offer Italian-themed works of art created by Rossini Festival artisans in a silent auction hosted by the S&W Grand throughout the Rossini Festival.

Seating is limited for The Barber of Seville, and both performances are expected to sell out in advance. For details go to or call 865.524.0795.

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