Cincinnati Opera Announces Cast, Production, and Schedule Updates for 2022 Summer Festival

Cincinnati Opera opens its 2022 Summer Festival with a new-to-Cincinnati production of La Bohème

CO_La Boheme PreviewPhoto by Yves Renaud/Opéra de Montréal 

Cincinnati, Ohio—Cincinnati Opera today shared updated cast, production, and schedule details for its 2022 Summer Festival, which will take place June 18 through July 31, 2022. After two seasons away, the company returns this summer to its longtime performance venues, Cincinnati Music Hall and the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA).

As previously announced in September 2021, Cincinnati Opera will celebrate 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 company is pleased to share updates to the performance schedule, as well as full cast and production details for each opera. The 2022 season includes Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème (June 18, 23, 25), Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance (July 7, 8*, 10m), and Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida (July 22*, 26*, 29, 31m) at Music Hall, and two world premiere operas at SCPA’s Corbett Theater: William Menefield and Sheila Williams’s Fierce (July 6, 9m*, 10**) and Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith’s Castor and Patience (July 21*, 23m*, 24m, 28, 30).

The 2022 season will also feature an array of community events and celebrations, including: Opera for All and Opera in the Park (June 12), a day of free, family-friendly experiences at Music Hall followed by a free evening concert in Washington Park; the Bal de Triomphe (June 25), a black-tie season-opening dinner; and Morris and Friends (July 27), a special concert hosted by world-renowned bass and Cincinnati Opera Artistic Advisor Morris Robinson.

New subscriptions to Cincinnati Opera’s 2022 Summer Festival go on sale on February 28, 2022, and tickets to individual productions will be available beginning April 25, 2022. Visit cincinnatiopera.org for more information.

*New performance date
**Added performance date


Cincinnati Opera
2022 Summer Festival

New-to-Cincinnati Production

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 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. Baritone Thomas Dreeze sings the roles of Alcindoro and Benoit, and tenor Houston Tyrrell is Parpignol.

Our new-to-Cincinnati production, originally created for Opéra de Montréal by designer Olivier Landreville, brings a colorful, whimsical vision of the City of Light to the Music Hall stage. Stage director is Alain Gauthier, and Mark Gibson, director of orchestral studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), will conduct. Lighting design is by Thomas C. Hase, and wig and makeup design is by James Geier. Chorus master is Henri Venanzi.

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.
Saturday, July 9, 2022* | 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 10, 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 her libretto, while Cincinnati native William Menefield employed jazz, modern, and classical music styles in the opera’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.

The girls at the center of Fierce will be sung by mezzo-soprano Megan Graves (Rumer), soprano Victoria Ellington (Nyomi), soprano Alicia Russell (Morgan), and mezzo-soprano Lauren McAllister (Vesta). Appearing as the ensemble of Trolls are soprano Wendy Hill, tenor M. Andrew Jones, and baritone Antonio Cruz.

Lynn Meyers, producing artistic director of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, makes her Cincinnati Opera debut asFierce’s dramaturg and stage director. Production design is bySamantha 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

*New performance date
**Added performance date


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.
Friday, July 8, 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 Curran. Lighting design is by Thomas C. Hase, with wig and makeup design by James Geier. Chorus master is Henri Venanzi.

A veteran in the role of Major-General Stanley, bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi “brings down the house” with his “impeccable” (Times of San Diego) patter singing and comic timing. Zachary James offers a “striking bass voice and a tremendously magnetic presence” (Opera News) as 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. Mezzo-soprano Catherine Keen is Frederic’s nursemaid Ruth. Completing the cast are bass Samuel Smith as the Sergeant of Police, baritone Mark Diamond as Samuel, soprano Marlen Nahhas as Edith, mezzo-soprano Jasmin White as Kate, and mezzo-soprano Christina Hazen as Isabel.

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

*New performance date


World Premiere

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

Thursday, July 21, 2022* | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 23, 2022* | 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 24, 2022 | 3:00 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., who represented the U.S. at the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition last year, 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). Soprano Amber Monroe, mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams, tenor Victor Ryan Robertson, baritone Phillip Bullock, and bass Earl Hazell make up the opera’s ensemble.

Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Sung in English with projected titles

*New performance date


New-to-Cincinnati Production

Aida
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni

Friday, July 22, 2022* | 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 26, 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 closes 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. Lighting design is by Thomas C. Hase and wig and makeup design is by James Geier. Chorus master is Henri Venanzi.

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. Soprano Jennifer Cherest sings the High Priestess with bass Peixin Chen as the King of Egypt and tenor Houston Tyrrell as A Messenger.

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

*New performance date


Special Events 

Opera for All
Sunday, June 12, 2022
3:00 p.m. | Cincinnati Music Hall

Cincinnati Opera kicks off the 2022 season with Opera for All, a family-friendly, community open house at Music Hall. Guests will be invited to enjoy special demonstrations, performances, and hands-on activities. Admission is free. 

Opera in the Park
Sunday, June 12, 2022
7:30 p.m. | Washington Park

Following Opera for All, guests are invited to head outside for Opera in the Park, a free concert in Washington Park featuring a selection of opera and musical theater favorites performed by stars from the 2022 season, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Admission is free. 

Bal de Triomphe
Saturday, June 25, 2022
4:30 p.m. | Ballroom | Cincinnati Music Hall

Celebrating Cincinnati Opera’s return to Music Hall, the Bal de Triomphe will be a festive, Parisian-inspired evening featuring a black-tie dinner and glittering party surrounding the June 25 performance of La Bohème. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling 513-768-5524. Event co-chairs are Melanie M. Chavez and Jeannine Winkelmann. 

Morris and Friends
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
7:30 p.m. | Springer Auditorium | Cincinnati Music Hall

Hosted by world-renowned bass and Cincinnati Opera Artistic Advisor Morris Robinson, Morris and Friends is a special concert featuring selections from opera, gospel, and musical theater with surprise guest soloists and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Tickets will go on sale this spring.


Tickets and Information

New subscriptions to Cincinnati Opera’s 2022 Summer Festival go on sale on February 28, 2022, and tickets to individual productions will be available beginning on April 25, 2022.

The company continues to monitor conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic and will share health and safety policy updates in advance of each performance. For more information, visit cincinnatiopera.org or call the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at 513-241-2742.


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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