2021 Summer Festival Announced by Cincinnati Opera

JUNE 13–JULY 25, 2021 

The company plans its return to live performance with two world-premiere productions, three all-time favorite operas, and a free season-kickoff concert in Washington Park

Cincinnati, OH (September 17, 2020)—Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera, today announced details of the company’s 2021 Summer Festival, which is currently scheduled to open June 13 and continue through July 25. The season marks a return to the stage following the cancellation of the company’s 100th Anniversary Season in summer 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans for the 2021 Summer Festival include three operas that were originally scheduled to be presented in 2020—the world premieres of Castor and Patience and Fierce, as well as The Barber of Seville—plus the return of two all-time favorite operas, Carmen and Tosca. Performances are currently slated to take place at Music Hall and the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), and to feature the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO).

Opera in the Park, the company’s season-opening celebration concert in Washington Park, will also return, including performances by stars from Cincinnati Opera’s 2021 season, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, and the CSO.

“We realize that planning to produce a full opera season in these uncertain times can seem audacious,” said Mirageas. “But as long as there is a chance that conditions will allow us to inspire our community through live opera performances again, that will be our goal. We look to the future with optimism and embrace the same bold vision we have always had. That said, our plans are necessarily contingent on conditions that will allow us to ensure a safe experience for all. If we conclude we cannot, we’ll be prepared to adjust our programming and will communicate broadly with our patrons about their options.”

Mirageas continued, “For our return to the stage, we’re looking forward to presenting some of the most beloved titles in the operatic repertoire—BarberCarmen, and Tosca—as well as the much-anticipated world premieres of Castor and Patience and Fierce. We commissioned these two new operas as part of our ongoing vision to celebrate diverse stories and creators, and we can’t wait to share them with the world.”

Several events that were originally scheduled to take place during the summer of 2020, including The Ball of the CenturyOpera for AllIn Harmony Community ChorusMorris and Friends, and Opera Goes to Church/Opera Goes to Temple, are currently being rescheduled for summer 2021. Details will be announced at a later date.

For ticket information and program updates, visit cincinnatiopera.org.

Cincinnati Opera

Opera in the Park
Sunday, June 13, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Washington Park

Cincinnati Opera celebrates the opening of the 2021 season with Opera in the Park, a free, family-friendly outdoor concert in Washington Park. Opera in the Park will showcase favorite selections from opera and musical theater performed by stars from the 2021 season, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

The Barber of Seville
Music by Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini
Sung in Italian with projected translation

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Friday, June 18, 2021 | 8:00 p.m.
Music Hall’s Springer Auditorium

The curtain will rise at Music Hall with Rossini’s delightful rom-com, The Barber of Seville. Based on the play of the same name by Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, the opera introduces us to Figaro, the titular barber bursting with bravado. He’s enlisted by the lovelorn Count Almaviva to help win the heart of the clever and comely Rosina. With whimsy, wit, and plenty of woo, The Barber of Seville reminds us that, as Beaumarchais once said, “Where love is concerned, too much is not even enough.”

The production hails originally from the Glimmerglass Festival and features scenic design by John Conklin, costume design by Lynly A. Saunders, and lighting design by Robert Wierzel. Wig and make-up design is by James Geier. Said BroadwayWorld.com, “This innovative interpretation of a traditional opera shines with contemporary sparkle.”

Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
Sung in French with projected translation

Thursday, July 1, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 8, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 10, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 11, 2021 | 3:00 p.m.
Music Hall’s Springer Auditorium

The season continues with the most popular opera of all time, Georges Bizet’s Carmen. Opera’s quintessential femme fatale, Carmen shows us she’s that and so much more—a fearless, flirtatious force of nature who refuses to answer to anyone but herself. Her confidence attracts the attention of Don José, whose passion turns to obsession, then spirals into madness. When José threatens Carmen with death should she refuse him, she chooses freedom over all. Featuring some of opera’s best-known melodies, from the sultry “Habanera” to the rousing “Toreador Song,” Carmen is an ageless ode to one woman’s fierce independence.

The new-to-Cincinnati production is designed by R. Keith Brumley for Lyric Opera of Kansas City, with lighting design by Thomas C. Hase and wig and make-up design by James Geier.

World Premiere!
Castor and Patience
Music by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Tracy K. Smith
Sung in English with projections

Friday, July 9, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 13, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Thursday July 15, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 17, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 18, 2021 | 3:00 p.m.
SCPA’s Corbett Theater

Cincinnati Opera proudly presents the world premiere of Castor and Patience. With music by Gregory Spears, composer of the company’s acclaimed 2016 commission Fellow Travelers, and an original libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winner and former U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith, the story is centered on two cousins from an African American family who find themselves at odds over the fate of a historic parcel of land they have inherited in the American South. Deeply relevant to ongoing calls for racial justice, Castor and Patience probes historical and continuing obstacles to Black land ownership in the United States.

Kazem Abdullah conducts, and Kevin Newbury (Fellow Travelers) directs. The design team features Vita Tzykun (scenic design), Jessica Jahn (costume design), Rachel Eliza Griffiths (image design), S. Katy Tucker (projection design), Thomas C. Hase (lighting design), and James Geier (wig and make-up design). 

World Premiere!
Music by William Menefield
Libretto by Sheila Williams
Sung in English with projections

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 16, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 18, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 23, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
SCPA’s Mayerson Theater

A collaboration with WordPlay Cincy, The Music Resource Center—Cincinnati (MRC), and i.imagine, Fierce receives its highly-anticipated world premiere during Cincinnati Opera’s 2021 season. The opera focuses on four teenage girls who face struggles with school, family, and friendship, and follows their journeys toward finding empowerment. Interviews with WordPlay and MRC participants inspired the opera’s libretto by novelist Sheila Williams, and the score is by composer and Cincinnati native William Menefield. Teenage girls participating in i.imagine’s photography-based educational programs will partner with Cincinnati Opera on promoting the production to their peers.

Lynn Meyers, producing artistic director of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, makes her Cincinnati Opera debut asFierce’s stage director and dramaturg. Production design is by Samantha Reno, with lighting design by Thomas C. Hase and wig and make-up design by James Geier. 

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Sung in Italian with projected translation

Thursday, July 22, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 24, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 25, 2021 | 3:00 p.m.
Music Hall’s Springer Auditorium

The 2021 Summer Festival culminates with Giacomo Puccini’s glorious Tosca. In the city of Rome during a time of political turmoil, the tempestuous opera diva Floria Tosca is madly in love with the painter Cavaradossi. When Tosca’s lover becomes entangled in a crime and is condemned to death, the lecherous police chief Scarpia insists only one thing can save him: Tosca herself. Tosca is a passionate melodrama suffused with political intrigue—a rollercoaster ride of love, lust, and tragedy told through unforgettable music.

Cincinnati Opera’s “stunning” and “sumptuous” production (Cincinnati Enquirer), which received rave reviews at its unveiling in 2016, was designed by Robert Perdziola, who has previously designed for the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera. Lighting design is by Thomas C. Hase with wig and make-up design by James Geier. 

Founded in 1920 and the second-oldest opera company in the nation, Cincinnati Opera presents a thrilling season of grand opera every summer. The company’s repertoire includes beloved classics and contemporary masterworks brought to life by some of the world’s most dynamic performers and creative artists. 

Cincinnati Opera’s 2021 Summer Festival runs June 13 through July 25, featuring Opera in the Park (June 13), Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (June 16 & 18), Georges Bizet’s Carmen (July 1, 8, 10 & 11m), the world premiere of Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith’s Castor and Patience (July 9, 13, 15, 17 & 18m), the world premiere of Fierce by William Menefield and Sheila Williams (July 14, 16, 18, 21 & 23), and Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca (July 22, 24 & 25m). 

The 2021 Summer Festival is made possible through support from ArtsWave, Ohio Arts Council, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, Patricia A. Corbett Estate and Trust, the Harry T. Wilks Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, OPERA America, and The P&G Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, along with many other generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. 

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

For more information, visit cincinnatiopera.org. 


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