David Roth (right) with partner Bryce Hudson.


By Kathi E.B. Ellis

Entire contents copyright © 2015, Kathi E.B. Ellis. All rights reserved.

On Thursday afternoon a goodly cross-section of arts workers, patrons and funders filled the Brown Theatre for A Celebration of the Life of David Roth, former General Director of the Kentucky Opera, who died suddenly on July 19.

Ably MC’d by the inimitable Barbara Sexton Smith, the afternoon’s ceremony included music and storytelling, laughter, and tears.  Music, of course, was integral; and artists from the Louisville Orchestra and Kentucky Opera provided prelude, highlights and at the end, most touchingly, an exquisite rendition of Debussy’s “Clair de lune” by David George, described as the favorite piece of both Roth and his partner Bryce Hudson.

The family tone was set with the extensive slide show of images of Roth from babe to professional as the crowd gathered. Roth himself set the storytelling mode with a Fund for the Arts campaign video that began the afternoon; just as he stated, the power of the arts is in the way we tell stories, so his friends, family and colleagues joined together to tell their stories of his life.

The theme of the afternoon was generosity of spirit, love of life, passion, and a tenacity of vision. Again and again those who spoke in memory and love for Roth lifted up these qualities of the man who guided the Kentucky Opera’s growth over the past decade.

An opportunity to contribute to the legacy of David Roth’s tenure at the Kentucky Opera is the establishment of the David D. Roth Memorial Fund, details of which can be found at their website or by calling the Opera’s office.


kathi e.b. ellis headshot color[box_light]Kathi E.B. Ellis is a member of the Lincoln Center and Chicago Directors’ Labs and an associate member of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society. She has attended the LaMama Directing Symposium in Umbria, Italy, and is featured in Southern Artisty, an online registry of outstanding Southern Artists.  Her directing work has been recognized with nominations for the South Florida Theatre Carbonell Award.  Locally, Kathi is a member of Looking for Lilith Theatre Company, a founding principal of StageLab theatre training studio, and is part of ShoeString Productions an informal producing collective. She has written book reviews and articles for Southern Theatre, the quarterly publication of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, and was a contributing writer for JCPS’ textbook for the 11th grade Arts and Humanities survey course and for YouthArts Tapestry, a Kentucky Arts Council publication.[/box_light]