Category Archives: Press Releases

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Announces Details for Free “LIVE FROM MUSIC HALL” Streamed Concerts This Fall and Musicians’ Contract Extensions

CSO_POPS logos

CSO Music Director Louis Langrée and Pops Conductor John Morris Russell to Lead Seven All-New Programs Inspired by Current Times;
Featured Artists include Angel Blue, Sharel Cassity, Aaron Diehl,
Adia Dobbins, Damon Gupton, Augustin Hadelich, Anthony McGill,
Awadagin Pratt and the Catalyst Quartet

Newly Ratified One-Year Musicians’ Contract Calls for Cost Savings
and Creates Significant Scheduling Flexibility

Free Access to All Seven Concerts Enhanced by Simulcasts
in Washington Park and Fountain Square

CINCINNATI, OH (September 14, 2020) – The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and Cincinnati Pops have announced detailed plans for seven Live From Music Hall concerts to be digitally streamed for free this autumn in lieu of live, in-person performances. The concerts are being recorded at Cincinnati Music Hall in accordance with strict safety protocols and will be broadcast throughout the fall on Saturday evenings at 8pm. The live-streamed programs will be free on the Orchestra’s website and social media channels and will also be simulcast for a live, socially distanced audience in downtown Cincinnati on large screens in Fountain Square and Washington Park.

Since the COVID 19-related cancellation of the Orchestra’s planned spring, summer and fall concerts at Music Hall, the organization has addressed budget shortfalls through a three-pronged plan of expense cuts and salary reductions for staff, executive and artistic leadership; special fundraising; and a draw from the organization’s cash reserves. Further, the staff has realigned around digital innovation and a newly announced DE&I plan to position for long-term growth. The streamed events are made possible due to a one-year agreement with the Orchestra’s musicians that allows greater scheduling and work rules flexibility made necessary due to restricted public gathering guidelines and increased safety measures.

Music Director Louis Langrée will conduct four CSO programs, September 26, October 24, November 21 and December 5. Program highlights include soprano Angel Blue singing Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915; the Catalyst Quartet joining the Orchestra for Jesse Montgomery’s Banner; Augustin Hadelich performing a violin concerto of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges; Anthony McGill as soloist in Anthony Davis’s You Have the Right to Remain Silent; and Awadagin Pratt performing a Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, K.414/385p. Western & Southern is the CSO Season Sponsor.

“We are living through challenging times, but music has the ability to elevate us, heals us and unite us,” said Louis Langrée. “We have chosen repertoire this fall that reflects our current sensitivities and sensibilities and we have invited guest artists who are not only great musicians but important voices in our collective consciousness.”

Cincinnati Pops Conductor John Morris Russell will conduct three Pops programs. October 3 focuses on American jazz “classics” from early ragtime to a new reduced orchestration Rhapsody in Blue with Aaron Diehl as soloist and a celebration of Charlie Parker’s 100th birthday with saxophonist Sharel Cassity and vocalist Adia Dobbins. October 31 is Halloween and autumn-themed with highlights including movie music from Psycho, Us, and a Harry Potter suite; tunes celebrating Dia De Los Muertes; and, Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton will narrate The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. And, on December 12, a special digital version of the beloved Holiday Pops will center around the theme Home for the Holidays. PNC Bank is the Pops Series Sponsor.

“In reprogramming the fall season, we’ve done a deep dive into amazing musical wonderments from Hollywood, popular classics and the panoply of American pop that can be performed on a more intimate scale,” said John Morris Russell. “We’ve discovered hot tunes from the Jazz Age and smoldering classics from the Be-bop era, eclectic music for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, and a charming collection of exquisite Holiday gems. And, we’re really excited about two world premiere orchestrations–The Legend of Sleepy Hollow we commissioned from James Stephenson III and a new reduced scoring of Rhapsody In Blue from Tim Berens. We can’t wait to share it all with Pops fans around the corner and across the globe!”

In addition to its virtual presence, the CSO and Pops is increasing its robust schedule of neighborhood and community events with the expansion of CSO In Your Neighborhood, pop-up concerts throughout Greater Cincinnati featuring small ensembles of CSO musicians.

“To achieve this re-creation of our season required greatly increased flexibility in scheduling and work rules, and we are grateful to our musicians for understanding the need to incorporate these into a new one-year contract,” said CSO President & CEO Jonathan Martin. “Both COVID and societal issues around inclusiveness and equity have forever changed the CSO’s landscape. In addition to mitigating the financial implications caused by concert cancellations, our three-pronged financial stability plan includes a realigned staff structure around our elevated priorities: our presence in the digital space, and our rededication to a CSO that fully serves our community.”

The ability to produce the seven Live From Music Hall events as well as ongoing CSO In Your Neighborhood concerts is achievable due to a newly ratified one-year contract extension with the CSO’s musicians. Modifications to the contract include a 10% across-the-board wage reduction; much greater scheduling flexibility; the ability to deploy smaller groups of musicians for community and education activities; a hiring postponement for current vacancies in the Orchestra complement; and, increased presence of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows as extra and substitute musicians. Additionally, in tandem with similar initiatives being undertaken by the CSO board and staff, the contract specifies the creation of a task force to review hiring, contracting and compensation practices to ensure fairness and equity.

“This agreement opens the door for adjustments that all Orchestras may need to consider given the uncertainties of COVID and its long-term implications. It represents a decades-long tradition of collaboration based on the understanding that the Cincinnati community has supported its symphony orchestra since 1895,” said Paul Frankenfeld, President of the Cincinnati Musicians’ Association, Local 1 AFM and CSO Associate Principal Viola. “We thank the orchestra committee and particularly co-chairs Ted Nelson and Jennifer Monroe for their thoughtful consideration of what was best for the musicians and for our community. We thank our attorney Barbara Jaccoma for contributing to our ongoing conversation since 2001. And, we thank the Board and management for continuing to honor the contract by providing our current salary and benefits despite the suspension of all concert activity since March 12.”

“I’m proud of the creative way our artistic leaders, musicians and staff have worked over the past several months to keep the Cincinnati Symphony in the hearts and minds of our loyal audiences. If there is anything we’ve learned from this experience, it’s that the post-COVID world we eventually operate in will be different, and so we have taken this opportunity to better position ourselves for what lies ahead,” said CSO Board Chair Rob McDonald. “Music and art and are vital to our well-being, and, thanks to unwavering support from sponsors and donors, Live From Music Hall will help us continue to make meaningful connections with our audiences, our community and well beyond Cincinnati this fall.”

In addition to the Orchestra’s longstanding support from the Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, ArtsWave, the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, the CSO is sponsored by Western & Southern Financial Group.

“Western & Southern is committed to the arts in Cincinnati and is proud to support the CSO’s innovative digital concerts this fall. Like everyone at the CSO, we look forward to returning to Music Hall, but until then, we are glad to make these live streams possible,” said John Barrett, Chairman, President & CEO of Western & Southern.

Since mid-March, when the pandemic forced the suspension of large public gatherings, the CSO and Pops have remained connected with local and global audiences through the creation of new digital content and physically distanced pop-up concerts and events with musicians from the Orchestra under the CSO In Your Neighborhood umbrella. This fall, in addition to the seven large-scale concert events, the CSO will continue to create and curate original content for its social media platforms and for Orchestra at Home, an array of performances and aggregated resources on cincinnatisymphony.org. Orchestra at Home provides links to virtual concerts on May 16 and July 4 as well as other live streamed experiences produced since the beginning of the pandemic; performance and educational videos by CSO musicians (including a series of world premieres catalyzed by The Fanfare Project); education programs supplementing and supporting home learning and schools as they acclimate to adjusted teaching environments; and a collection of archived CSO and Pops videos, podcasts and recordings.

Educational programming will support schools, educators and students in the region with free Young People’s Concerts, in-school programs and educator professional development activities available virtually. And, Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras will provide modified in-person activities and supplemental virtual activities available to all students.

Subscribers to the CSO or Pops’ 2020-21 season who have tickets to fall 2020 concerts have been contacted directly by the Box Office with their options. Questions can be directed to the CSO Box Office at (513) 381-3300.

The complete schedule follows.

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louis Langrée, Music Director
Cincinnati Pops, John Morris Russell, Conductor
Live From Music Hall, Fall 2020

Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at Cincinnatisymphony.org
Simulcast at Washington Park and Fountain Square
Louis Langrée conductor
Angel Blue, soprano
Catalyst Quartet, string quartet

Jessie Montgomery                                       Banner, for Solo String Quartet
(b. 1981)                                                             and Chamber Orchestra

Samuel Barber                                                 Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24
(1910-1981)                                                                     Angel Blue, soprano

Aaron Copland                                                 Suite from Appalachian Spring      (1900-1990)                                                                 (1944 original orchestration)

Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at Cincinnatisymphony.org
Simulcast at Fountain Square
John Morris Russell conductor
Aaron Diehl, piano
Sharel Cassity, saxophone
Adia Dobbins, vocalist

American jazz classics, from ragtime to a celebration of Charlie Parker’s centenary. Works by Scott Joplin, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, James Reese Europe, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter and Harry Warren & Mack Gordon.

Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at Cincinnatisymphony.org
Simulcast at Fountain Square
Louis Langrée conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin

Charles Ives                                                                   The Unanswered Question
(1874-1954)

Joseph Bologne,                Chevalier Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra
de Saint-Georges               in A Major, Op. 5, No. 2
(1745-1799)                                Allegro moderato
Largo
Rondeau
Augustin Hadelich, violin

Igor Stravinsky                                      Pulcinella Suite (1949 revision)
(1882-1971)                                             I. Sinfonia
II. Serenata
III. Scherzino
IV. Tarantella
V. Toccata
IV. Gavotta con due variazioni
VII. Vivo
VIII. Minuetto
IX. Finale
The appearance of Augustin Hadelich is made possible by Mace Justice.

Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at Cincinnatisymphony.org
Simulcast at Fountain Square
John Morris Russell conductor
Stefani Matsuo, violin
Damon Gupton, narrator

A celebration of autumn, Halloween and Dia De Los Muertes. Featuring Stefani Matsuo as soloist in “Autumn” from Astor Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires; movie music including selections from Michael Abels’ Us, Bernard Hermann’s Psycho and John Williams’ Harry Potter; the traditional La Llorona; and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in a special orchestration by James Stephenson III and narrated by Cincinnati Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton.

Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at Cincinnatisymphony.org
Simulcast at Fountain Square
Louis Langrée conductor
Anthony McGill, clarinet

Julia Perry                                              Homunculus C.F.
(1924-1979)

Richard Wagner                                     Siegfried Idyll
(1813-1883)

Anthony Davis                                         You Have the Right to Remain Silent
(b. 1951)                                                                   Interrogation
Loss
Incarceration
Dance of the Other
Anthony McGill, clarinet

Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at Cincinnatisymphony.org
Simulcast at Fountain Square
Louis Langrée conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin
Awadagin Pratt, piano

Marianna Martines                                                Overture in C Major
(1744-1812)                                                                   Allegro con spirito
Andante ma non troppo
Allegro spiritoso

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart                              Concerto No. 12 in A Major for
(1756-1791)                                                          Piano and Orchestra, K.414/385p
Allegro
Andante
Allegretto
Awadagin Pratt, piano

Maurice Ravel                          Five Nursery Songs (Suite) from Ma mère l’oye
(1875-1937)                                     (Mother Goose)
Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty
Tom Thumb
Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas
Conversations of Beauty and the Beast
The Enchanted Garden

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier               Movement III, Rondo, from Concerto for
de Saint-Georges             Violin and String Orchestra in A Major, Op. 5, No. 2
(1745-1799)                               Augustin Hadelich, violin
ed. Badley

The appearance of Augustin Hadelich is made possible by Mace Justice.

Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at Cincinnatisymphony.org
Simulcast at Fountain Square
John Morris Russell conductor

Holiday Pops—Home for the Holidays
The Cincinnati Pops presents a special digital version of its beloved annual Holiday Pops concerts, featuring seasonal music and a few surprises.

Supported by Graeter’s Ice Cream.

Programs and artists subject to change.

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About the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
With a rich tradition that dates back 125 years, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is considered one of America’s finest and most versatile ensembles. Led by Music Director Louis Langrée, Matthias Pintscher will be the Orchestra’s Creative Partner beginning with the 2020-21 season. The Orchestra also performs as the Cincinnati Pops, founded by Erich Kunzel in 1977. John Morris Russell has been Pops Conductor since 2010 and Damon Gupton is Principal Guest Conductor.

Since its beginnings, the CSO been a proponent of the music of its time, performing the American premieres of works by important composers including Claude Debussy, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel and Béla Bartók, and commissioning many works that have since become mainstays of the classical repertoire, including two iconic works by Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man and Lincoln Portrait. The Orchestra continues to commission works, amplifying new voices from a diverse array of backgrounds.

With groundbreaking initiatives including CSO Proof, CSO Look Around, LUMENOCITY and the MusicNOW Festival collaboration, the Orchestra champions innovation. As an ambassador for Cincinnati, the region, and for the U.S., the CSO has toured extensively, most recently to Asia and Europe in 2017. The CSO was the first American orchestra to be featured on a national radio broadcast and continues to reach millions of listeners across the country and around the world through the airwaves, digital streaming and commercial recordings on the CSO’s own Fanfare Cincinnati label. The Orchestra also performs, records and tours as the Cincinnati Pops and elevates Cincinnati’s vibrant arts scene by serving as the official orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet.

Committed to inclusion and relevance and to enhancing and expanding music education for the children of Greater Cincinnati, the Orchestra works to bring music education, in its many different forms, to as broad a public as possible. Education and outreach programs currently serve more than 80,000 individuals annually. The groundbreaking CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship, a nationally recognized program in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, provides Masters degree-level education and professional development and performance opportunities for extraordinary young musicians from historically underrepresented populations in classical music.

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Falcon Theatre to Produce DAISY as On-Demand Theater/Film Project 

FT_Daisy logoIn 1964, the New York advertising firm Doyle Dane Bernbach forever changed the course of political advertising with a 60-second television spot.

Today, the ad is usually referred to simply as “Daisy.”

The making of this groundbreaking and landscape-altering advertisement is the subject of Sean Devine’s play of the same title. Falcon Theatre, in a partnership with the College of Informatics at Northern Kentucky University, is producing Daisy as what director Tara Williams describes as “theater for film” and will be available for on-demand streaming from October 30 to November 7.

The black-and-white ad featured a three-year-old girl in a simple dress standing in a sunny field. The girl counted aloud as she plucked the petals from a daisy. When the last petal had been plucked, the girl’s voice was supplanted by an adult voice ominously counting backward from ten as the camera zoomed to an extreme close-up of the girl’s eye. As the countdown reached “zero,” the image was replaced with horrifying footage of a nuclear explosion.

“Daisy is a play that we have wanted to stage for a few years at Falcon, and we’ve been holding onto it until an election year because the play chronicles the beginnings of political attack ads,” Ms. Williams says. “And with live theater on hold during the pandemic, this project serves as a different creative outlet for our artists and production team and makes it possible to reach our audience in a new way.”

“The project,” Ms. Williams continues, “ will call to mind the days of CBS’s Playhouse 90, a television anthology drama series that aired from 1956 to 1961, which featured broadcasts of stagings of theater dramas and teleplays. The broadcasts relied heavily on wide shots and long camera takes. The result was a television/theater hybrid that became a staple of CBS’s primetime lineup for years.”

Daisy is currently in production and features David Levy, Lisa D. Dirkes, Jay Dallas Benson, Terry Gosdin, R. DeAndré Smith and Bill Keeton. Details for streaming the presentation will appear soon on Falcon’s website (www.falcontheater.net) and on Falcon’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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CATCH ME IF YOU CANON Scavenger Hunt Available Through Sept. 25 from Cincy Shakes

CSC_CatchMeCanon LogoIntroducing CATCH ME IF YOU CANON, Cincinnati Shakespeare’s interactive, outdoor scavenger hunt adventure!

What are you hunting? All the plays in Shakespeare’s canon!

Follow hints to find QR Codes hidden around downtown in shop windows, murals, and other Cincy landmarks. Each code links to a short video of a snippet of a Shakespeare play, performed by some of your favorite CSC ensemble members!

It is designed to be completely walkable, take about an hour to complete, and require nothing more than your phone and some brainpower. The hunt remain active all week, so this can be completed on your own schedule and at your own pace. Each person/team that competes the hunt will be entered into a drawing to win exciting CSC prizes! Enjoy this fun and engaging activity for family and friends that gets you outside exploring some of Cincy’s greatest spots- and delivers the canon like you’ve never seen it before!

This week’s hunt is in OTR! The clues are live on the website now until next week on Sep. 25. Happy hunting!

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2021 Summer Festival Announced by Cincinnati Opera

co_logoCINCINNATI OPERA ANNOUNCES 2021 SUMMER FESTIVAL
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
2021 SUMMER FESTIVAL

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.”

Carmen
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!
Fierce
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. 

Tosca
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. 

ABOUT CINCINNATI OPERA
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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Live Performance Returns to Memorial Hall with Safe, Soul-Searching Theatrical Reading Series

memo_logoCINCINNATI, OH – Live performance returns to historic Memorial Hall as gifted theatre artists explore vital dialogues of our turbulent times in the Resilience Staged Reading Series. The series will play in repertory October 10 through November 21, 2020, and is comprised of four contemporary plays and adaptations. The first two pieces are being announced at this time:

THE STORY OF KING LEARRegional Premiere Adaptation
Adapted from Shakespeare by Daniel Elihu Kramer | Directed by Gabriella DiVincenzo
A ruler abdicates power, yet demands honor and privilege.
October 10, 17, 20, 23 & 31, 2020; all performances at 8:00pm

CRY IT OUTRegional Premiere Dramedy
By Molly Smith Metzler | Directed by Leslie Goddard
First-time mothers reckon with boundaries of class, economy, and the impossibility of “having it all.”
October 15, 22, 24, 29 & 30, 2020; all performances at 8:00pm

Two shows playing in November will be announced during the week of September 28.

The series takes place in Memorial Hall’s opulent Green Ballroom, which offers a safe setting for up to 24 guests at socially distant tables. Seating is available for socializing groups of two or four; single tickets are not available. Patrons may reserve tables by making a pay-what-you-can donation; the recommended donation is $20.00 per patron. All net proceeds of the intimate productions will directly benefit the theater artists on stage and behind the scenes. Seats may be reserved online at MemorialHallOTR.com, or by calling the Memorial Hall Box Office at 513.977.8838 (Tu – Fr, 12pm – 4pm).

Simple, Safe and Soul-Searching
The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered performing arts venues largely impotent in a time when the unique voice of the arts could further empathy and understanding in a deeply divided America. Recent regulations from the State of Ohio cap performing arts venues at 15% of their maximum capacity, or 300 guests, whichever is lower. The economics of presenting traditional performing arts in this environment are simply untenable. Yet the current moment demanded that something be done, according to Joshua Steele, Memorial Hall Manager.

“As the summer passed with still no end in sight for the pandemic, we saw a mostly empty calendar and nearly uniform unemployment among theatre professionals, yet a pressing need for the kinds of conversations the performing arts create,” says Steele. “As a presenter, Memorial Hall rarely has the opportunity to host acts that speak to the moment. The Resilience Staged Reading Series provides some modicum of support to our theatre community, and offers a forum for the today’s vital issues, all in a safe and lightly-attended environment.”

Safety is a Priority at Memorial Hall
As part of Memorial Hall’s commitment to the health and well-being of our staff, guests and the community, the venue will implement preventive measures consistent with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health agencies. Special safety protocol for the Resilience Staged Reading Series include:

  • Masks are required upon entry and throughout patrons’ time in the venue.
  • Maximum seating of 24 guests in a 1,400 square foot room, which can normally accommodate more than 160 guests seated.
  • Socially distanced seating at tables. Patrons are seated 6’ apart, and 12’ from performers.
  • Socially distanced formation of lines at box office, bar and restrooms.
  • Reduced touch box office and concession interactions, including card-only transactions on site.
  • Plastic shielding at box office and concessions.
  • Ample hand sanitizer throughout venue.
  • Staff, actors and production team will conduct temperature checks at beginning of shifts.
  • Venue staff will wear masks at all times.
  • Hourly disinfecting of high touch surfaces and restrooms.
  • Full disinfection of facility following each performance, including use of electrostatic sprayers.
  • Outside air mix via Dedicated Outside Air System.
  • Digital playbills.
  • No cast larger than five actors.
  • All performances will be presented without intermission to minimize social contact.
    • In addition to pre-show bar service, Memorial Hall will emphasize use of its Noble app, which allows patrons to order drink service at their tables during the performances.

A complete list of COVID-19 protocol at Memorial Hall is available at MemorialHallOTR.com/COVID. Patrons with additional questions may contact the Memorial Hall Box Office at 513.977.8838 (Tu – Fr, 12pm – 4pm).

Productions and Performances
The Resilience Staged Reading Series will feature four contemporary plays and adaptions which each speak to the vital issues of today. Actors will perform at stools with their scripts, situated 12’ away from the nearest audience member and 6’ away from each other. All performances will feature video and/or sound design. The acoustically excellent Green Ballroom does not require amplification. Actors will not be masked when performing, though they may don masks when not actively involved in a scene.

THE STORY OF KING LEAR
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Drama and Cincinnati Artists’ Theatre co-founder Gabriella DiVincenzo explores the nature of authority and privilege in THE STORY OF KING LEAR, an adaptation of the Shakespearean drama featuring contemporary language and a small cast playing multiple roles. DiVincenzo’s was introduced to the piece by her former professor, Brant Russell, who is a colleague of adapter and Chester Theatre Company (Massachusetts) director Daniel Elihu Kramer. DiVincenzo was attracted to both the utility and timelessness of the re-told classic.

“The story of King Lear is a familiar one,” muses DiVincenzo. “It is about fathers and daughters. It’s about brothers fighting against brothers. It’s a story of war and emptiness—promises left unfulfilled and a kingdom divided in two halves. This play hits closer to home than any of us would have ever expected in the year 2020.”

THE STORY OF KING LEAR is a regional premiere. Anticipated duration is 50 minutes, and there will be no intermission.

CRY IT OUT
Jessie is a corporate lawyer in a Manhattan firm. Lina is a community-college dropout and born-and-bred Long Islander. They don’t seem to have anything in common, but marooned at home with infants, they strike up a fast friendship. In the yard between their houses—as far as their baby monitors will reach—they bond over sleep deprivation, unreliable childcare, and “having it all.” A candid comedy about who gets to make which hard choices in the tinderbox of parenthood and class in the United States.

Broadway veteran Leslie Goddard has been the go-to director for theatrical productions at Memorial Hall, where she has staged THE WHO’S TOMMY and RING OF FIRE over the past two years. At a time when society is grappling with issues around maternity leave, working from home, and pervasive loneliness and depression, Goddard found the 2017 piece fresh and poignant.

“I was drawn to CRY IT OUT because it unapologetically addresses the trials and tribulations that go along with new parenthood,” explains Goddard. “These new moms (and a new dad) navigate so many of the issues facing parents in today’s society – how, when, or IF a new mom should return to work, financial struggles that arise from adding a new baby to the family mix, breastfeeding, and so much more. It’s a hilariously, wild ride through the pain and pleasure of becoming a parent.”

Debuting at Louisville’s venerated Humana Festival of New Plays in 2017, CRY IT OUT will be a Greater Cincinnati premiere. Anticipated duration is 90 minutes, and there will be no intermission. CRY IT OUT IS Produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY of Woodstock, Illinois.

Two Additional Plays to be Announced
The week of September 28, Memorial Hall will announce two additional productions, playing in repertory in November:

  • The world premiere reading of a new play by a lauded Cincinnati playwright. The piece follows a time travelling protagonist who encounters the dark corners of American history, featuring an exceptional cast of actors of color. Northern Kentucky University’s Daryl Harris directs.
  • Air Force veteran and theatre artist Phillip Webster directs the regional premiere reading of an award-winning play about a veteran returning from Afghanistan, who works to recuperate her injuries and save the domestic life she knew.

Reservations & Complete Schedule
The Resilience Staged Ready Series takes place in Memorial Hall’s opulent Green Ballroom, which offers a safe setting for up to 24 guests at socially distant tables. Seating is available for socializing groups of two or four; single tickets are not available. Patrons may reserve tables by making a pay-what-you-can donation; the recommended donation is $20.00 per patron.

Seats may be reserved online at MemorialHallOTR.com, or by calling the Memorial Hall Box Office at 513.977.8838 (Tu – Fr, 12pm – 4pm).

Artist Biographies

MEMO_Gabriella DiVeincenzo headshot

Gabriella DiVeincenzo.

GABRIELLA DIVINCENZO is a Boston native who earned a BFA in Acting from the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music (CCM). Gabriella has been working consistently as a director and producer in Cincinnati since moving to the Queen City in 2015. She is a Co-Founder, Resident Director and the Project Coordinator/Director of Artist Relations at the Cincinnati Artists’ Theatre (CAT). The Liberty Exhibition Hall is home to C.A.T. and where Gabriella has directed a number of her productions including TOO MUCH LIGHT MAKES THE BABY GO BLIND, MEN ON BOATS, LUNGS, and LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS. She has also worked at the Know Theatre as a director in the One Minute Play Festival, and Assistant Director to Brant Russell on the world premiere production of DARKEST NIGHT AT THE GNARLY STUMP. Gabriella has also directed THE FLICK by Annie Baker which was voted a 2020 Staff Pick in CityBeat at The Esquire Theatre. www.gabrielladivincenzo.com

MEMO_Leslie Goddard headshotLESLIE GODDARD (Director, CRY IT OUT) has been performing, directing, and choreographing for over 25 years. She was last seen on stage in SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM at The Lex and as Bridgit in LIZZIE at The Human Race Theatre Company. Other credits include Brenda/ Penny u/s in HAIRSPRAY on Broadway, Francine et.al. in JERSEY BOYS (Las Vegas), and roles on many local stages including Gerogie Bukatinsky in THE FULL MONTY at HRTC, Missy in THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES: CAPS AND GOWNS at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Gemini in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Roxie in CHICAGO at The Carnegie, and Deb in ORDINARY DAYS at Short North Stage. Among the numerous shows she has choreographed, Leslie had the great pleasure of staging and choreographing THE WHO’S TOMMY and RING OF FIRE at the newly renovated Memorial Hall in Cincinnati. Her most notable accomplishments to date are her two daughters, Jocelyn and Mika.

DARYL HARRIS (Director, Play To Be Announced) is a Full Professor in the Theatre and Dance Program in the School of the Arts (SOTA) at Northern Kentucky University. He is a 52-year veteran of traditional,
experimental, educational, and applied theatre. He has studied and worked throughout North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. In addition to teaching diverse interdisciplinary theatre courses, Daryl also acts in, directs and costume-designs theatrical productions. His primary passion: engaging scholars and communities transculturally and transnationally across disciplines.

PHILLIP WEBSTER (Director, Play To Be Announced) is a musician, actor and all-around dilettante who’s been onstage and behind the scenes at the Horizon Theatre (Atlanta), the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Prince George’s Co. Shakespeare in the Park, The Carnegie and New Stage Collective, among others. He is also veteran of the US Air Force and a graduate of the Defense Language Institute’s Arabic program. Phillip is the creator of two podcasts, a historical news program called Queen City Bulletin and the upcoming Froghammer Shakespeare Radio Hour, a behind the scenes look at Northern Kentucky’s longest-running and most bizarre classical theatre company.

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About Memorial Hall: Memorial Hall, managed and programmed by 3CDC, is conveniently located in the heart of the revitalized arts district of Over-the-Rhine. This exquisite venue overlooks Washington Park, and is adjacent to Music Hall in addition to being down the street from both the School for Creative and Performing Arts and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Designed by Samuel Hannaford, the hall features marble staircases adorned with intricate wrought iron that lead to the 550-seat proscenium theater, dubbed the Annie W. and Elizabeth M. Anderson Theater. Exceptional acoustics, decorative murals and Tiffany chandeliers enhance this historic theater. Memorial Hall offers an elegant setting for performances and unique spaces for social and business events.

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