Cincinnati Opera and CCM to Workshop Two Operas-in-Progress This Spring Through Opera Fusion: New Works Partnership

co_logoThe two new operas—Robeson by Scott Davenport Richards and David Cote and The Righteous by Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith—will receive workshops this April and May, and the public is invited to attend a sneak peek

Cincinnati, Ohio—Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) are pleased to announce the next events in their joint program, Opera Fusion: New Works.

Opera Fusion: New Works (OF:NW) is a creative partnership between CCM and Cincinnati Opera that fosters the development of new operatic works. Through OF:NW, composers and librettists are given a 10-day workshop to hone their operas-in-progress and further prepare them for the opera stage. Each workshop ends with a public performance of excerpts from the featured work.

This April 4–13, OF:NW will mount a second workshop for the new opera, Robeson, featuring music by Scott Davenport Richards and a libretto by Richards and David Cote, with CCM Professor and Co-Director of Opera Fusion: New Works Robin Guarino as dramaturg and stage director. The work received an initial workshop last May through OF:NW.

Robeson Creative Team

man with glasses and blue shirt

Scott Davenport Richards
Composer & Co-Librettist

man wearing glasses and a dark suit jacket
David Cote

Robin Guarino
Stage Director & Dramaturg

From the creative team behind Cincinnati Opera’s critically acclaimed 2019 world premiere, Blind InjusticeRobeson is an epic and inspiring biographical examination of Black singer, actor, and activist Paul Robeson (1898–1976). A global superstar, Robeson leveraged his fame to fight on the frontlines for equality. His heroic and uncompromising efforts against fascism and racism worldwide led Robeson to be entangled in the tragic power struggle between the two superpowers of the twentieth century—the United States and the USSR—with his own life and career hanging in the balance. Inspired by historical events, Robeson also resonates with today’s ongoing fights for social justice. The public performance of excerpts from Robeson will take place on Thursday, April 13, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. at Music Hall’s Wilks Studio.

From May 5–15, OF:NW will host a workshop for The Righteous, the newest opera from composer Gregory Spears and librettist Tracy K. Smith, the creative team behind Cincinnati Opera’s celebrated 2022 world premiere, Castor and PatienceKevin Newbury (Castor and PatienceFellow Travelers) will serve as stage director and dramaturg.

The Righteous Creative Team

black and white photo of a man with short hairGregory Spears

woman in a pink shirt
Tracy K. Smith

Kevin Newbury
Stage Director & Dramaturg

Commissioned by Santa Fe Opera and slated for a summer 2024 world premiere, The Righteous follows a preacher and leader of a growing church in the 1980s American Southwest, who finds himself caught up in the confluence of religion and politics. Slowly his connection to God is weakened as he becomes drawn to public office alongside contemporary events including the rise of feminism, the war on drugs, conflict in the Middle East, and the AIDS epidemic. Along the way, those closest to him grapple with their own understanding of faith and truth. The Righteous explores the timeless struggle to reconcile spiritual humility with ambition in our modern world. The public performance of excerpts from The Righteous will take place on Monday, May 15, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. at CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater.

Admission to the public performances is free, and reservations are required. Reservations are available through the Cincinnati Opera Box Office by calling 513-241-2742 or visiting


Opera Fusion: New Works presents

Music by Scott Davenport Richards
Libretto by David Cote and Scott Davenport Richards
Dramaturgy and stage direction by Robin Guarino

When: Thursday, April 13, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
What: A performance of excerpts from the new opera-in-progress, Robeson.
Where: Music Hall’s Wilks Studio, 1241 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Admission: Free; reservations are required. Reservations are available by calling 513-241-2742 or visiting

Opera Fusion: New Works presents
The Righteous

Music by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Tracy K. Smith
Dramaturgy and stage direction by Kevin Newbury

When: Monday, May 15, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
What: A performance of excerpts from the new opera-in-progress, The Righteous.
Where: Cohen Family Studio Theater, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 290 CCM Boulevard, Cincinnati, OH 45221
Admission: Free; reservations are required. Reservations are available by calling 513-241-2742 or visiting

About Opera Fusion: New Works
Funded through a generous gift from the Mellon Foundation, 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. For more information, visit

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.

Season Presenting Sponsor for Cincinnati Opera’s 2023 Summer Festival is Chavez Properties. 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

About CCM
Nationally ranked and internationally renowned, 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.

Declared a top college vocal program by Backstage Magazine and described as “one of the continent’s major music schools,” by the Toronto Star, CCM’s Departments of Opera and Voice provide one of the most comprehensive training programs for opera singers, coaches and directors in the United States. CCM offers an international faculty of dedicated educators who are also celebrated professionals in their own right, widely and currently active in their respective fields. Several national opera companies hold auditions at the conservatory, and CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. CCM graduates have performed on the stages of the world’s greatest opera companies, including Cincinnati Opera, the Metropolitan Opera (New York), Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera (London), La Scala (Italy) and more. To learn more, visit

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