The Kentucky Opera, founded in 1952 by Moritz von Bomhard, is the state opera of Kentucky. Located in Louisville, it is the twelfth oldest of its kind in the United States.
Kentucky Opera had a humble beginning with a budget of less than $10,000, and the entire operations were masterminded by the founder himself. Bomhard did everything from set designing to training the actors and direction and until 1970, he even designed opera brochures and sometimes sold tickets.
During Bomhard’s tenure as the director of the opera, he managed four shows a year and never repeated one in five years. Since 1963, the shows have been playing in the W. L. Lyons Brown Theatre. The Louisville Orchestra plays for all the performances associated with the Kentucky Opera, along with the Kentucky Ballet.
The Kentucky Opera is financed by ticket sales; corporate and individual sponsors; the Fund for the Arts, a local agency; the Kentucky Arts Council, a state agency; and such local fundraisers as the annual Guild book sale, the annual car raffles, and the fantastically successful wine auction, In Vino Veritas. Currently the Kentucky Opera’s annual budget stands at a staggering $12 million.
The office of Kentucky Opera is housed in a condominium on Louisville's Avenue of the Arts.