Cincinnati Opera and CCM Opera’s Opera Fusion: New Works Presents CASTOR AND PATIENCE

CO_Opera Fusion Castor and Patience logoMusic by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Tracy K. Smith 

Workshop dates: August 26-September 4, 2019

Free public performance of excerpts on Wednesday, September 4

Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the workshop offers the combined resources of Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music to further the development of new American opera 

CINCINNATI, OH—Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) are pleased to announce that their groundbreaking joint program, Opera Fusion: New Works, will host a residency for the new opera Castor and Patience from August 26 through September 4, 2019, in Cincinnati.

Castor and Patience, with music by composer Gregory Spears and libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith, has been commissioned by Cincinnati Opera in honor of its 100th anniversary season and will receive its world premiere as part of the company’s 2020 Summer Festival. It will be Spears’s second work for the company, following the extraordinary critical and popular success of Fellow Travelers, with librettist Greg Pierce, in 2016.

During the Opera Fusion: New Works residency, the work’s creative team will collaborate with singers and musicians for a 10-day workshop, culminating in a public performance of excerpts on September 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Music Hall’s Wilks Studio.

Tickets: Admission to the Opera Fusion: New Works public performance on September 4 is free, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Tickets will become available from the Cincinnati Opera box office on Tuesday, August 20 at 10 a.m. Call (513) 241-2742 to reserve.

The Opera Fusion: New Works residency for Castor and Patience is generously underwritten by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 


Music by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Tracy K. Smith

Kevin Newbury, stage director
Kazem Abdullah, conductor

August 26-September 4, 2019 

Public performance:
Wednesday, September 4, 7:30 p.m.
Music Hall’s Wilks Studio, 1241 Elm Street, Cincinnati
Tickets are free, but reservations are required; call (513) 241-2742 beginning August 20 at 10 a.m.

Castor and Patience, with music by composer Gregory Spears and libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith, tells the story of African American cousins who find themselves at odds over the fate of a historic parcel of land they have inherited in the American South. According to Smith, “It’s 2008, and Patience is fighting to stave off overzealous developers. Castor has a ballooning mortgage to contend with and is hoping to sell his share of the land. But if they’re going to get anywhere as a family, they must first learn to see past their differing allegiances and trust one another. Castor and Patience is the story not just of a single family or even a particular geography, but of America’s warring tensions between reckoning with the hard facts of history and racing blindly forward toward the dream of progress.”

Castor and Patience will receive its world premiere at Cincinnati’s School for Creative and Performing Arts as part of Cincinnati Opera’s 2020 Summer Festival. For tickets and details, visit

Opera Fusion: New Works (OF:NW) is a partnership between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) dedicated to fostering the development of new American operas. This collaboration is jointly led by Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera, and Robin Guarino, Professor of Opera at CCM. OF:NW offers composers or composer/librettist teams the opportunity to workshop an opera during a residency in Cincinnati. Residencies utilize the facilities, personnel, and talent of both Cincinnati Opera and CCM. The workshops are cast with a combination of CCM students and professional artists, and each workshop concludes with a free public presentation of excerpts followed by an audience Q&A session. Since its founding in 2011, OF:NW has developed 12 new American operas, including Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce’s Fellow Travelers, Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great ScottRicky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, and Rufus Wainwright and Daniel MacIvor’s Hadrian, among others. For more information, visit 

Founded in 1920, Cincinnati Opera presents a thrilling season of opera every summer in multiple venues, including the recently renovated historic Music Hall. The company’s repertoire includes beloved classics and contemporary works brought to life by some of the world’s most dynamic performers and creative teams.

Cincinnati Opera’s 2020 100th Anniversary Summer Festival will run June 18 through August 1, featuring Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, the world premiere of William Menefield and Sheila Williams’s Fierce, Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka, the world premiere of Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith’s Castor and Patience, and Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. The 2020 season is made possible with support from ArtsWave, Ohio Arts Council, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, and many generous individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Cincinnati Opera’s mission is to enrich and connect our community through diverse opera experiences.

Declared “one of the nation’s leading conservatories” by The New York Times, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts. The school’s educational roots date back to 1867, and a solid, visionary instruction has been at its core since that time.

CCM offers nine degree types (BA, BM, BFA, MFA, MM, MA, AD, DMA, PhD) in nearly 120 possible majors, along with a wide variety of pre-collegiate and post-graduate programs. The synergy created by housing CCM within a comprehensive public university gives the college its unique character and defines its objective: to educate and inspire the whole artist and scholar for positions on the world’s stage.

CCM’s 2019-2020 Opera Series includes Bedřich Smetana’s The Bartered Bride (Nov. 21-24), George Frideric Handel’s Partenope (Feb. 20-23) and W.A. Mozart’s The Magic Flute (April 2-5).


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