Cincinnati Opera Announces 2022 Summer Festival

co_logoThe company comes home to Cincinnati Music Hall after two seasons away, with live, in-person performances from June 18−July 31, 2022 

The lineup includes two world premieres (Castor and PatienceFierce), two classic love stories (La BohèmeAida), and Gilbert and Sullivan’s rollicking comedy, The Pirates of Penzance 

The season stars a thrilling roster of world-class singers, including Raven McMillon, Lauren Snouffer, Talise Trevigne, Mary Elizabeth Williams, Tichina Vaughn, Zachary James, Gregory Kunde, Ji-Min Park, Rodion Pogossov, Reginald Smith Jr., and Matthew White

Cincinnati, Ohio—After two seasons away, Cincinnati Opera today announced plans to return to Cincinnati Music Hall and the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) next June and July for its 2022 Summer Festival. The company celebrates this special homecoming with a full, five-opera season—including two world premieres and new-to-Cincinnati productions—plus creative collaborations with renowned singers, conductors, directors, and designers, as well as the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, Cincinnati Ballet, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

The 2022 season includes Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème (June 18, 23, 25), Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance (July 7, 9, 10m), and Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida (July 21, 23, 29, 31m) at Music Hall, and two world premiere operas at SCPA’s Corbett Theater: William Menefield and Sheila Williams’s Fierce (July 6, 8) and Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith’s Castor and Patience (July 22, 24m, 26, 28, 30).

“As the arts reopen and stages in Cincinnati once again come alive, we can’t wait to get back home to Music Hall and SCPA,” said Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director. “We know how lucky we are to do what we love in such extraordinary venues, and to share with our community all that opera can be. Our 2022 season has been planned to do just that—to bring us together and remind us what it feels like to fall in love, to give us a reason to laugh out loud, and to move us with compelling stories that reflect the modern American experience.”

Continued Mirageas, “For the audience, we hope it will feel like both a welcome return to form and an exciting leap forward—a not-to-be-missed chapter in Cincinnati Opera’s vibrant history.”

Renewing subscribers will be contacted with purchase information in October, and new subscriptions go on sale in January 2022. Single tickets will be available beginning spring 2022. For additional information, visit cincinnatiopera.org.


Cincinnati Opera
2022 Summer Festival

La Bohème

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

Saturday, June 18, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 23, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 25, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Springer Auditorium | Cincinnati Music Hall

The 2022 season sweeps in on a romantic high with one of the most famous love stories ever sung. Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème has captivated audiences for generations with its unforgettable music and its sweetly sentimental tale of young bohemian lovers in Paris. It all begins in a cold apartment on Christmas Eve, where the penniless poet Rodolfo prepares to celebrate with friends on the city’s bustling streets. But with a quiet knock on the door, he meets Mimì, whose single candle has gone out. While searching for a match in the dark, hands touch, sparks fly, and lives change forever.

Soprano Talise Trevigne, who dazzled Cincinnati audiences in the title role of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2019), portrays Mimì with tenor Ji-Min Park (Alfredo in Cincinnati Opera’s La Traviata, 2018) as Rodolfo. Soprano Raven McMillon, a 2021 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, sings the role of Musetta, and baritone Rodion Pogossov (Marcello), bass-baritone André Courville (Colline), and baritone Ethan Vincent (Schaunard) appear as Rodolfo’s trio of artistic friends. Mark Gibson, director of orchestral studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, will conduct.

Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera Chorus

Sung in Italian with projected translations


World Premiere
Fierce
Music by William Menefield
Libretto by Sheila Williams
Wednesday, July 6, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 8, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Corbett Theater | School for Creative and Performing Arts

Cincinnati Opera proudly presents the world premiere of Fierce during summer 2022. With authenticity and sensitivity, Fierce tells the stories of four teenage girls struggling with school, family, and friendship, as each embarks on a transformative journey toward empowerment and self-assurance. A collaboration with WordPlay Cincy, the Music Resource Center−Cincinnati (MRC), and i.imagine—three arts organizations serving Greater Cincinnati youth—Fierce was originally slated to debut in summer 2020 and has been rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northern Kentucky-based novelist Sheila Williams interviewed WordPlay and MRC participants to inspire the opera’s libretto, while Cincinnati native William Menefield employs jazz, modern, and classical music styles in the work’s high-energy score. Teenage girls participating in i.imagine’s photography program will partner with Cincinnati Opera to promote the production to their peers. D. Lynn Meyers, producing artistic director of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, makes her Cincinnati Opera debut as Fierce’s stage director and dramaturg. Production design is by Samantha Reno, with lighting design by Thomas C. Hase and wig and makeup design by James Geier.

Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Sung in English with projected titles


CO_Pirates of Penzance promo

Jeff Roffman, Atlanta Opera

New-to-Cincinnati Production
The Pirates of Penzance
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Libretto by W.S. Gilbert

Thursday, July 7, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 9, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 10, 2022 | 3:00 p.m.
|Springer Auditorium | Cincinnati Music Hall

Gilbert and Sullivan’s perfectly preposterous comic operetta The Pirates of Penzance sets sail at Music Hall in July 2022. Frederic, an orphan apprenticed to a lively band of pirates, is soon to celebrate his 21st birthday, when he’ll be free to pursue a life—and love—all his own. The charming Mabel catches his eye, and she’s supremely smitten in return. But the crafty Pirate King finds a loophole in Frederic’s contract, setting the young lovers’ future upon stormy seas. Will Frederic and Mabel steer their way to a happily-ever-after?

Bursting with memorable tunes and rapid-fire laughs, our production of The Pirates of Penzance is a modern, major spectacle, featuring vivid sets and costumes originally created for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis by designer James SchuetteDavid Agler conducts, with stage direction and choreography by Seán CurranZachary James brings a “striking bass voice and a tremendously magnetic presence” (Opera News) to the role of the swashbuckling Pirate King. Tenor Matthew White, who last appeared with Cincinnati Opera as Gounod’s Romeo, joins soprano Lauren Snouffer, who offers “beautifully clear, unaffected singing … informed with intelligence and wit” (Opera News), as the lovebirds Frederic and Mabel.

Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera Chorus

Sung in English with projected titles

Production originally created for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis


CO_Aida promo

Opéra de Montréal, Yves Renaud.

New-to-Cincinnati Production
Aida
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni

Thursday, July 21, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 23, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 29, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 31, 2022 | 3:00 p.m.
Springer Auditorium | Cincinnati Music Hall

The 2022 season continues with the grandest of grand operas, Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. As war rages between enemy nations, a forbidden love burns brightly between Radamès, an Egyptian warrior, and Aida, his captive. But Aida’s keeping a secret of her own—she’s the daughter of the Ethiopian king and deeply devoted to her people. Will she betray Radamès to save her nation or risk everything to follow her heart?

From its passionate romance to its thunderous “Triumphal March,” which features a 60-voice chorus, Aida is the definition of “epic.” Our production evokes the opulence of Ancient Egypt with its “lavish design” (Pittsburgh Theater) by Claude Girard and Bernard Uzan and will be helmed by stage director Crystal Manich with Christopher Allen conducting. Making her company debut in the title role is soprano Mary Elizabeth Williams, who possesses a voice with “a gleaming top and luxuriant richness” (The Guardian, U.K.), and tenor Gregory Kunde brings a “robust voice” with “clear, strong, focused tone” (The New York Times) as Radamès. Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano and Metropolitan Opera regular Tichina Vaughn is the imperious Egyptian princess Amneris, while baritone Gordon Hawkins, who appeared as Amonasro in the company’s 2013 production, reprises the role. Bass Morris Robinson, Cincinnati Opera’s artistic advisor, is Ramfis, with bass Peixin Chen as the King of Egypt and soprano Jennifer Cherest as the High Priestess.

Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, and Cincinnati Ballet

Sung in Italian with projected translations

Production by Opéra de Montréal, Pittsburgh Opera, and Utah Opera


World Premiere
Castor and Patience
Music by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Tracy K. Smith

Friday, July 22, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 24, 2022 | 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 26, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 28, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 30, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.
Corbett Theater | School for Creative and Performing Arts

Originally commissioned for Cincinnati Opera’s 100th anniversary in 2020 and postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Castor and Patience receives its much-anticipated world premiere in July 2022. 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 opera centers 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.

At the podium is conductor Kazem Abdullah, and Kevin Newbury (Fellow Travelers) directs. The new production will be created by 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 makeup design). A renowned interpreter of contemporary opera, soprano Talise Trevigne is Patience, and baritone Reginald Smith Jr., this year’s U.S. representative at the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, is Castor. They’re joined by a stellar supporting cast: mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano (Celeste), soprano Victoria Okafor (Willie), baritone Benjamin Taylor (West), tenor Frederick Ballentine (Judah), and soprano Raven McMillon (Ruthie). Mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams, tenor Victor Ryan Robertson, and baritone Phillip Bullock make up the opera’s ensemble.

Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Sung in English with projected titles


Tickets and Information

Renewing subscribers will be contacted with purchase information in October, and new subscriptions go on sale in January 2022. Single tickets will be available beginning spring 2022. In September, the company joined several of Cincinnati’s performing arts organizations in announcing COVID safety requirements for audience members, including mask-wearing and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. For more information, visit cincinnatiopera.org.


About Cincinnati Opera
Cincinnati Opera’s mission is to enrich and connect our community through diverse opera experiences. Founded in 1920 and the second-oldest opera company in the nation, Cincinnati Opera presents a thrilling season of grand opera every summer and engaging programs throughout the year. 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 is supported by the generosity of tens of thousands of contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign. Cincinnati Opera also receives general season support from the Ohio Arts Council, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, Patricia A. Corbett Estate and Trust, and the Harry T. Wilks Family Foundation, along with general season and project support from many other generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. Cincinnati Opera is a proud member of OPERA America.

To learn more, visit cincinnatiopera.org. 

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