Ann & Frank Bumstead
2019 Recipients

Ann and Frank Bumstead are long-time supporters of Nashville Opera and the Nashville Opera Guild. In addition to their ongoing membership in the Impresario Council, they also underwrite one or two opera productions each year, supporting Nashville Opera’s vision and growth. Ann and Frank have also underwritten staff tables at La Bella Notte and regularly honor and memorialize Nashville Opera’s supporters and friends.  Ann currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Nashville Opera Association and is a member of the Nashville Opera Guild. She has spent many years volunteering with other Nashville-area organizations. In addition to supporting Nashville Opera, Frank serves on the boards of Brookdale Senior Living, the Country Music Association, and the Memorial Foundation and has served previously on numerous boards and given generously to support the arts and civic activities in Middle Tennessee.  In collaboration with the Bumsteads, this award in their honor will be expressed by a scholarship to an aspiring classical musician. 

We thank and congratulate these true Opera lovers!

Mr. Metropolitan

Francis Robinson (1910-1980) loved opera from the very day he heard Enrico Caruso on the Victrola at his school.  He began his career in the theatre as an usher at the Ryman Auditorium while he was studying at Vanderbilt.  He later worked as a reporter and Sunday editor of the Nashville Banner; a writer, actor, and producer for WSM Radio; and a theatrical press agent for William Fields, where his clients included Katharine Cornell, Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne, and Cornelia Otis Skinner.  After World War II, Robinson was hired by impresario Sol Hurok to help with the Metropolitan Opera annual tours.  Robinson’s extraordinary gift for public relations led to the expansion of his duties at the Met to include head of the box office and subscriptions, and in 1954 he was made assistant manager of the company under the legendary Rudolf Bing.  He went on to spend more than thirty years at the Metropolitan Opera.  In 1978, Robinson became host for the telecast series Live from the Met, reaching out to opera audiences around the country.

Previous Recipients

Amy Tate Williams and Randy Williams, 2018
Nancy Coleman and M. Andrew Valentine, 2017
Marilyn Shields-Wiltsie and Dr. Theodore E. Wiltsie, 2016
G. Helen Brown, Ph.D., 2015
Shelley Page, 2014
Joseph H. Allen, M.D., 2013
The Judy Liff and Joe Barker Family, 2012
Earl S. Swensson, 2011
June Greer Bogle, 2010
Marion Pickering Couch, 2009
Marguerite Fish, 2008
William O. Whetsell, Jr., M.D., 2007
Maestro Kenneth Schermerhorn, posthumous, 2006
Carol Penterman, John Hoomes, Cara Schneider, 2005

Ann and Frank Bumstead at La Bella Notte 2013 with actor Eric Close from the TV series  Nashville

Ann and Frank Bumstead at La Bella Notte 2013 with actor Eric Close from the TV series Nashville

"The Metropolitan Opera is not just a living, it’s my life.”
Francis Robinson, photo courtesy of The Francis Robinson Collection of Theatre, Music, and Dance, Vanderbilt University Special Collections