Tag Archives: Cincinnati Opera

Cincinnati Opera Announces Reimagined 2021 Summer Festival

CO_Summer at Summit StageSUMMER AT SUMMIT

The company’s return to live performance will move outdoors to Summit Park in Blue Ash, Ohio 

The festival features three productions in repertory this July—CARMEN, TOSCA and THE BARBER OF SEVILLE—to be presented without intermission in specially tailored, ninety-minute versions 

Each production will be headlined by world-class artists, including J’Nai Bridges, Janai Brugger, Rihab Chaieb, Ana María Martínez, Aaron Blake, Stephen Costello, Quinn Kelsey, Chris Kenney, Christian Pursell, Reginald Smith Jr., Morris Robinson, Russell Thomas, and the Cincinnati Opera Chorus 

Conductors Xian Zhang, Renato Balsadonna, and Ramón Tebar will lead the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Cincinnati, Ohio—Fifty years after Cincinnati Opera presented its final open-air season at its first performance home, the Cincinnati Zoo, the company returns to the outdoors for its reimagined 2021 Summer Festival, Summer at Summit. The season will take place July 11-31 at Summit Park, located in the heart of Blue Ash, Ohio, and will feature internationally renowned artists, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of Cincinnati Opera’s 100th anniversary season in summer 2020. In September, the company announced plans to return to live performance in summer 2021 at its traditional venues, Music Hall and the School for Creative and Performing Arts. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend social distancing as a best practice to stem the virus’s spread, and Ohio’s state mandates continue to limit capacity at indoor performance venues. In the interest of audience, artist, and staff safety, the company has opted to transition to an all-outdoor season for its 2021 Summer Festival.

Summit Park was selected as the ideal performance site given its ability to host large-scale stage productions and its capacity to accommodate a significant, socially distanced audience. Additionally, Summit Park offers a central location and an abundance of public amenities, such as parking and nearby restaurants. During Cincinnati Opera performances, audience members will be able to sit together in socially distanced “pods” designated on Summit Park’s Great Lawn, and performances will be presented from an expansive stage constructed at the base of the park’s signature Observation Tower.

Cincinnati Opera’s Summer at Summit includes three beloved operas previously announced as part of the company’s 2021 season—CarmenTosca, and The Barber of Seville. Each opera will be presented without intermission in a reduced, ninety-minute version that will be partially staged with costumes, theatrical hair and makeup, and lighting. Opera in the Park, Cincinnati Opera’s season-opening celebration concert, also moves to Summit Park and will kick off the 2021 Summer Festival.

“Music Hall will always be our home, but we are fortunate to have found a gorgeous new venue in Summit Park for our return to the live stage,” said Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera. “Audience members can be assured that our Summer at Summit will have all of the hallmarks they’ve come to love about Cincinnati Opera—glorious singing, inspiring storytelling, and the chance to be swept away by the magic of live performance.”

“The promise of experiencing live singing again in the company of an enthusiastic, in-person audience is the dream that has carried us through this last year,” said Christopher Milligan, The Harry Fath General Director & CEO of Cincinnati Opera. “We’re grateful to the City of Blue Ash for their partnership as we’ve worked together to envision a one-of-a-kind opera-going experience for our community.”

“The City of Blue Ash is excited for this unique partnership with Cincinnati Opera,” said Blue Ash Mayor Marc Sirkin. “Summit Park is an outstanding outdoor venue that will grant attendees enough room to remain safely socially distanced. I’m thrilled that the Opera will be able to perform in the city, bringing a new type of entertainment to residents and visitors alike.”  

The previously announced world premieres of William Menefield and Sheila Williams’s Fierce and Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith’s Castor and Patience, originally planned for summer 2020 and rescheduled for summer 2021, have been postponed once more. Fierce is currently slated to receive its world premiere in fall 2021, and Castor and Patience will receive its world premiere in summer 2022.

“Given the intimate scale of both Fierce and Castor and Patience, their optimum performance environment is an indoor theater,” said Mirageas. “The stories that both operas tell are compelling and important for our time. We look forward to giving these new works the premieres they so richly deserve in the very near future.”

Tickets for Cincinnati Opera’s 2021 Summer Festival will start at $15. Current subscribers will be contacted in April with additional information about their ticket options. Single tickets will go on sale to the general public on June 7. For additional information, including an extensive list of answers to frequently asked questions, visit cincinnatiopera.org.

Cincinnati Opera’s 2021 Summer Festival
SUMMER AT SUMMIT

OPERA IN THE PARK

When & Where:
Sunday, July 11, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Summit Park

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


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

When & Where:

  • Saturday, July 17, 2021 | 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 22, 2021 | 8:30 p.m.
  • Monday, July 26, 2021 | 8:30 p.m.
  • Friday, July 30, 2021 | 8:30 p.m.

Summit Park

The festival 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.

Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, a “rising star” (Los Angeles Times) known for her “plush-voiced mezzo-soprano” (The New York Times), makes her Cincinnati Opera debut as Carmen. Cincinnati Opera favorite tenor Stephen Costello, “a prodigiously gifted singer” (Associated Press), appears as Don José. Soprano Janai Brugger, who appeared most recently with Cincinnati Opera as Clara in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2019) and Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro (2019), brings her “opulent soprano voice” (Los Angeles Times) to the role of Micaëla. Bass-baritone Christian Pursell offers “power, precision, and congeniality” (Houston Chronicle) as the swaggering bullfighter Escamillo. Conductor Ramón Tebar, current music director of the Orquestra de Valencia (Spain) and artistic director of Opera Naples, leads the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and stage direction is by Omer Ben Seadia, recently hailed for her “imaginatively staged” (Cincinnati Business Courier) production of Cincinnati Opera’s Ariadne auf Naxos (2019).

Cast:

  • Carmen: J’Nai Bridges
  • Don José: Stephen Costello
  • Micaëla: Janai Brugger
  • Escamillo: Christian Pursell
  • Zuniga: Burak Bilgili
  • El Remendado: Victor Ryan Robertson
  • El Dancaïro: Thomas Dreeze

Creative Team:

  • Conductor: Ramón Tebar
  • Stage director: Omer Ben Seadia
  • Lighting designer: Thomas C. Hase
  • Costume director: Rebecca Senske
  • Wig & makeup designer: James Geier
  • Sound designer: Jonathan Burke
  • Chorus master: Henri Venanzi

Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera Chorus


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

When & Where:

  • Friday, July 23, 2021 | 8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 27, 2021 | 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 31, 2021 | 8:30 p.m.

Summit Park

Cincinnati Opera will then present 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 Mario 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 roller-coaster ride of love, power, and tragedy told through unforgettable music.

Grammy Award-winning soprano Ana María Martínez makes her Cincinnati Opera debut as Tosca, bringing a voice of “chocolate-rich vibrancy in the low and middle range and … thrilling brilliance at the top” (Opera News). Tenor Russell Thomas, hailed for his “heroically shining tone of exceptional clarity and precision” (Opera, U.K.), returns to Cincinnati Opera as Cavaradossi after last appearing with the company in 2016 (Florestan, Fidelio). In his company debut, the “superb” and “virile-voiced” (The New York Times) baritone Quinn Kelsey sings the role of Baron Scarpia. Conducting the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Music Director Xian Zhang. Stage director is Jose Maria Condemi, director of opera and musical theater at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Cast:

  • Floria Tosca: Ana María Martínez
  • Mario Cavaradossi: Russell Thomas
  • Baron Scarpia: Quinn Kelsey
  • Cesare Angelotti: Michael Sumuel
  • Spoletta: Julius Ahn

Creative Team:

  • Conductor: Xian Zhang
  • Stage director: Jose Maria Condemi
  • Lighting designer: Thomas C. Hase
  • Costume director: Rebecca Senske
  • Wig & makeup designer: James Geier
  • Sound designer: Jonathan Burke
  • Chorus master: Henri Venanzi

Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera Chorus


THE BARBER OF SEVILLE
Music by Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini
Sung in Italian with projected translation

When & Where:

  • Saturday, July 24, 2021 | 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 29, 2021 | 8:30 p.m.

Summit Park

Based on the play of the same name by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, The Barber of Seville introduces us to Figaro, the titular barber bursting with bravado. He’s enlisted by the lovelorn Count Almaviva to 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.”

Mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb brings “sheer dramatic charm and vocal clarity” (San Francisco Chronicle) to the role of Rosina, after last appearing with the company as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro (2019). Appearing as Almaviva is Cincinnati Opera favorite tenor Aaron Blake, whose voice was hailed by The New York Times as “endearing and sweet-sounding … with youthful fervor and stamina.” Making his company debut as Figaro is baritone Chris Kenney, a recent alum of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s prestigious Ryan Opera Center Ensemble. Singing the role of Doctor Bartolo is baritone Reginald Smith Jr., who last appeared with Cincinnati Opera as Jake in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2019) and in the company’s recent digital Winter Festival production of Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View. Bass and Cincinnati Opera Artistic Advisor Morris Robinson, whose recent engagements with Cincinnati Opera include a star turn as Porgy in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2019), is Don Basilio. Acclaimed conductor Renato Balsadonna leads the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and stage director is Joshua R. Horowitz, making his company debut.

Cast:

  • Rosina: Rihab Chaieb
  • Count Almaviva: Aaron Blake
  • Figaro: Chris Kenney
  • Doctor Bartolo: Reginald Smith Jr.
  • Don Basilio: Morris Robinson
  • Berta: Wendy Hill

Creative Team:

  • Conductor: Renato Balsadonna
  • Stage director: Joshua R. Horowitz
  • Lighting designer: Thomas C. Hase
  • Costume director: Rebecca Senske
  • Wig & makeup designer: James Geier
  • Sound designer: Jonathan Burke
  • Chorus master: Henri Venanzi

Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera Chorus


Tickets and Additional Information

Tickets to Cincinnati Opera’s 2021 Summer Festival start at $15. Current subscribers will be contacted in April with additional information about their ticket options. Single tickets will go on sale to the general public on June 7. For additional information, including an extensive list of answers to frequently asked questions, visit cincinnatiopera.org.


About Summit Park
Summit Park, located in the center of Blue Ash, is a beautiful, 130-acre world-class park that provides exciting, year-round events, activities, and unique learning opportunities. Experience a breathtaking 360-degree view of the tristate in the free Observation Tower, explore the Naturescape playground, discover trails, catch a fish in the pond, take your furry friend to the dog park, and dine in one of four outstanding on-site restaurants. In the winter months, the park offers unique and affordable fun with ice skating and sledding. Summit Park is also an exceptional venue for national and regional entertainment, and it is the perfect site for your next gathering or event. 

To learn more, visit summitparkblueash.com.

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 receives support from ArtsWave, 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 many other generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. Cincinnati Opera is a proud member of OPERA America. 

To learn more, visit cincinnatiopera.org.

###


 

Leave a comment

Filed under opera, Press Releases, Season Announcements

Cincinnati Opera and CCM Opera’s Opera Fusion: New Works Program Hosts Workshop for THE HOURS

CO_The HoursBy Kevin Puts and Greg Pierce, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and The Philadelphia Orchestra

A free, public livestream of performance excerpts can be viewed Monday, March 15, at cincinnatiopera.org

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

In collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera and The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cincinnati partners are hosting the first workshop for the new opera The Hours, by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts (Cincinnati Opera’s Silent Night, 2014) and librettist Greg Pierce (Cincinnati Opera’s Fellow Travelers, 2016). During this workshop, Puts and Pierce collaborate in real time with artists to shape and refine this work-in-progress, which is commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and The Philadelphia Orchestra. The Met will premiere the work in its 2022-23 season.

The Opera Fusion: New Works workshop for The Hours will culminate in a free, public livestream of performance excerpts on Monday, March 15, 2021, from 5–6 p.m., at cincinnatiopera.org. The livestream also will feature a conversation about the creation of the work with Puts, Pierce, and Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera and co-artistic director of Opera Fusion: New Works.

Opera Fusion: New Works is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About The Hours
The Hours is a new opera based on the book by Michael Cunningham and the Paramount Pictures film. It tells the story of three women whose lives have a literary connection: Clarissa is a New York City book editor in the early 2000s, whose best friend, Richard, a celebrated poet dying of AIDS, nicknames her Mrs. Dalloway, after the heroine of the Virginia Woolf novel. Woolf also appears as a central character—in suburban London in 1923—as she struggles to write Mrs. Dalloway while battling suicidal thoughts. A third character, Laura, is a housewife in 1949 Los Angeles wrestling with depression and seeking escape by reading Mrs. Dalloway. Their three stories are elegantly interwoven, as parallels and echoes in their lives shed light on the eternal search for meaning, fulfillment, and connection, particularly for women constrained by societal roles and their own complicated desires and expectations. 

About Opera Fusion: New Works
Opera Fusion: New Works 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. Opera Fusion: New Works offers composers and composer/librettist teams the opportunity to workshop an opera during a residency in Cincinnati. Residencies use 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 a Q&A session, all of which is streamed online. Since its founding in 2011, Opera Fusion: New Works has developed 18 new American operas, including Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce’s Fellow Travelers, Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott, Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, Rufus Wainwright and Daniel MacIvor’s Hadrian, and Matthew Aucoin and Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice. For more information, visit ofnw.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 receives support from ArtsWave, 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 many other generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. Cincinnati Opera is a proud member of OPERA America. To learn more, visit cincinnatiopera.org.

About CCM Opera/Voice
Declared a top college vocal program by Backstage Magazine and described as ”one of the continent’s major music schools” by the Toronto Star, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’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.

CCM sends its students out into the profession. Several national opera companies now hold auditions at the conservatory, and the Opera Department also hosts a series of informational talks by nationally renowned professionals working both in America and in Europe. CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and 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 ccm.uc.edu/opera.

###

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, opera, Press Releases

Cincinnati Opera Releases Premiere Recording of Scott Davenport Richards and David Cole’s BLIND INJUSTICE

co_logoCincinnati, Ohio—Cincinnati Opera is proud to release the live audio recording of the world premiere production of Blind Injustice, the critically acclaimed new opera with music by Scott Davenport Richards and libretto by David Cote. Directed by Robin Guarino, Blind Injustice was hailed as a “powerful piece of music theater” (The Wall Street Journal) and a “masterpiece” (CityBeat). The opera was recorded in the Wilks Studio at Cincinnati’s Music Hall in July 2019 and is being released on the Fanfare Cincinnati label.

The digital album is now available for purchase via Amazon, iTunes, and other digital music retailers, and for streaming via Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Amazon Music, and other music streaming services. The compact disc release is available for pre-order at cincinnatiopera.org/bravo-shop.

Blind Injustice premiered at Cincinnati Opera in July 2019 to sold-out audiences and rave critical reviews. The opera explores the true stories of six innocent people who were convicted of crimes they did not commit, then ultimately freed by the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP). A collaboration with the OIP and Cincinnati’s Young Professionals Choral Collective (YPCC), the opera is based on casework by the OIP and the book Blind Injustice by University of Cincinnati law professor and OIP Director Mark Godsey, as well as interviews with the six exonerees: Rickey Jackson, Nancy Smith, Clarence Elkins, and the East Cleveland 3—Derrick Wheatt, Laurese Glover, and Eugene Johnson. Through Richards’s music and Cote’s libretto, the opera brings to life the anguish, perseverance, and grace of these men and women.

The recording features the original cast, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, members of YPCC, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra led by Cincinnati Pops Conductor John Morris Russell.

Lead support for the Blind Injustice recording has been generously provided by Dianne and J. David Rosenberg.

Blind Injustice received its initial workshop through Opera Fusion: New Works, a partnership between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) that supports the development of new operas. Opera Fusion: New Works is made possible through funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

For more information, visit cincinnatiopera.org.

Blind Injustice
World Premiere Recording

  • Digital album now on sale via Amazon, iTunes, and other digital music retailers
  • Digital album now streaming on Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Amazon Music, and other music streaming services
  • CD now available for pre-order via cincinnatiopera.org/bravo-shop

Commissioned and produced by Cincinnati Opera
Composed by Scott Davenport Richards
Libretto by David Cote
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
John Morris Russell, conductor
Robin Guarino, stage director and dramaturg
Presented in partnership with the Ohio Innocence Project and the Young Professionals Choral Collective
Released by Fanfare Cincinnati

Cast

  • Prosecutor: Joseph Lattanzi
  • Defense Attorney: Samuel Levine
  • Alesha/Ensemble #1: Victoria Okafor
  • Nancy Smith: Maria Miller
  • Laurese Glover: Terrence Chin-Loy
  • Derrick Wheatt: Sankara Harouna
  • Eugene Johnson: Miles Wilson-Toliver
  • Clarence Elkins: Thomas J. Capobianco
  • Rickey Jackson: Eric Shane
  • Derrick’s Mother/Ensemble #2: Deborah Nansteel
  • Earl Mann/Ensemble #3: Morgan Smith
  • Earl Mann’s Cellmate/Ensemble #4: Joseph Parrish
  • Voice of Clarence’s Niece: Shannon Cochran
  • Edward Vernon: William Boatwright

Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, and the Young Professionals Choral Collective

About the Creative Team

Scott Davenport Richards (composer) creates works that inhabit various addresses at the intersection of jazz, musical theatre, and opera. New York City Opera performed two of his works—A Star Across the Ocean and Charlie Crosses the Nation—at its Vox Festival. Musical theatre commissions include The Rumble of Myth (The Public Theater) and The Break (Signature Theatre). Other musical theatre works include A Thousand Words Come to Mind, a musical monologue for Paulette Haupt’s Premieres company, Coyote Goes Salmon Fishing directed by Molly Smith at Perseverance Theatre, and the original score for A Christmas Story: The Musical at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. His play-scores have been heard at Yale Repertory Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Madison Repertory Theatre, Powerhouse Theatre, and New Federal Theatre. An early recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award, he taught at New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and is currently professor of musical theatre and composition at Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music.

David Cote (librettist) is a librettist, playwright, and arts journalist based in New York City. Operas include Three Way (BAM and Nashville Opera) with Robert Paterson; The Scarlet Ibis (Prototype Festival and Chicago Opera Theater) with Stefan Weisman; and We’ve Got Our Eye on You (SUNY New Paltz) with Nkeiru Okoye. Plays include Saint JoeFear of Art, and Otherland (O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference finalist). Premieres in 2021 include the Bach-inspired Cocoa Cantata with Robert Paterson at the Mostly Modern Festival and a short opera with Nkeiru Okoye co-commissioned by Cleveland Opera Theater and On Site Opera. Cote also wrote the text for Okoye’s Black Lives Matter piece for baritone and orchestra, Invitation to a Die-In, and lyrics for Paterson’s dating-site song cycles In Real Life I and In Real Life II. Cote’s reporting and criticism appear in 4 ColumnsObserver, and American Theatre. He has written popular companion books about the hit Broadway musicals WickedJersey Boys, and Spring Awakening.

Robin Guarino (stage director and dramaturg) is a theatre, opera, and film director who has directed more than 90 original productions. Her work has been presented by esteemed opera companies, festivals, theatre companies, and symphony orchestras around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, BAM Next Wave Festival, Canadian Opera Company, Cincinnati Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco, The Glimmerglass Festival, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, among others. Guarino’s films have been shown at international film festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, and her film, Crossing the Atlantic, was broadcast on PBS. As co-artistic director of Opera Fusion: New Works, a groundbreaking partnership between the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and Cincinnati Opera, she has co-produced 18 workshops of new operas, many of which have gone on to world premieres at major U.S. opera houses. Renowned as a teacher and leader in young artist training, she has taught at The Juilliard School and held The J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera at CCM for more than a decade. She has also taught at the San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Program, Wolf Trap Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program, and Houston Grand Opera’s young artist program. She is currently working with Scott Davenport Richards and David Cote on a second opera about the singer and activist Paul Robeson.

John Morris Russell (conductor) is in his tenth year as conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Russell is also music director of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, where he leads the classical subscription series and the prestigious Hilton Head International Piano Competition. Additionally, Russell serves as principal Pops conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, following in the footsteps of Marvin Hamlisch and Doc Severinsen. With the Cincinnati Pops, Russell leads performances at historic Music Hall, concerts throughout the region, as well as domestic and international tours. His visionary leadership at the Cincinnati Pops created the “American Originals Project,” which has garnered both critical and popular acclaim for its two landmark recordings: American Originals, featuring the music of Stephen Foster, and American Originals 1918, a tribute to the dawn of the Jazz Age, for which Russell was awarded a GRAMMY nomination for “Best Classical Compendium.” Russell helped launch the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s wildly successful Classical Roots initiative, which celebrates African American musical traditions. As a guest conductor, Russell has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Boston Pops, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

The Ohio Innocence Project at Cincinnati Law (OIP) was founded in 2003 and is the primary component of the University of Cincinnati’s Rosenthal Institute for Justice. Harnessing the energy and intellect of law students as its driving force, the OIP seeks to identify inmates in Ohio prisons who are innocent of the crimes they were convicted of committing. To date, the OIP’s work has led to the release of 32 wrongfully convicted citizens who served a total of more than 625 years behind bars for crimes they did not commit. The book Blind Injustice written by Mark Godsey, the director of the Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project, served as source material for the opera of the same name.

The Young Professionals Choral Collective (YPCC) is an innovative choral ensemble that combines Cincinnati’s love of singing, socializing, and culture for young professionals ages 21 to 45. The ensemble brings together young, energetic people to create quality choral music and connect in a fun, accessible, and low-pressure environment. YPCC was formed in 2011 at Below Zero Lounge in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Now comprised of a roster of more than 1,200 volunteer singers who live and work throughout the area, YPCC has quickly found a niche in the vibrant arts community of Cincinnati and has pioneered a choral model that is gaining national attention.

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 receives support from ArtsWave, 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 many other generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. Cincinnati Opera is a proud member of OPERA America. 

To learn more, visit cincinnatiopera.org.

###

Leave a comment

Filed under Press Releases

Cincinnati Opera’s First-Ever, All-Digital WINTER FESTIVAL Streaming Online in February and March

CO_Winter Festival logoWINTER FESTIVAL features three opera-inspired programs

Cincinnati, Ohio—Well known among opera fans as a summertime arts experience, Cincinnati Opera steps into winter with its first-ever, all-digital Winter Festival. Featuring three, free streamed programs premiering in February and March, Cincinnati Opera’s Winter Festival spotlights celebrated singers, actors, and instrumentalists in an eclectic variety of artistic genres.

“While we’ve eagerly anticipated the opportunity to return to live performance, we knew we couldn’t wait until summer to share opera again with our community,” said Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director. “We reached out to some of our favorite artists and partners and invited them to collaborate. What emerged are three exceptional programs that highlight the many ways opera can surprise, delight, and inspire.”

The Winter Festival opens on February 5 with Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View, created by and starring the ebullient soprano Angela Brown. Premiering next on February 19, Cincinnati Opera partners with Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati to present a reading of Julian Mitchell’s play After Aida, inspired by the life of composer Giuseppe Verdi and starring Cincinnati favorite actor Bruce Cromer. The festival’s final program, premiering March 5, is Wanderlust, which showcases works by Debussy, Ravel, and more, and features performances by renowned soprano Talise Trevigne, the groundbreaking chamber ensemble concert:nova, and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Director Louis Langrée on piano.

Each program will premiere for free on Cincinnati Opera’s website, cincinnatiopera.org, and will be available for on-demand streaming through March 21, 2021. Registration is required to access the free digital stream; visit cincinnatiopera.org to sign up, or call (513) 241-2742 for more information.

Cincinnati Opera’s
WINTER FESTIVAL

Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View
Created by Angela Brown

Premiering on cincinnatiopera.org on Friday, February 5, 2021, at 7:30 p.m.
Available to stream through March 21, 2021
Access is free, but registration is required—visit cincinnatiopera.org to register

Opera for everyone. International opera superstar Angela Brown adapts her popular show using humor, storytelling, and song to dispel common opera myths. With her signature wit and effervescent personality, Brown demystifies classic opera plotlines and celebrates the diversity of opera’s characters while tracing the beauty of its music through the stories and voices of Black singers. Performing a mix of showstopping arias, poignant art songs, and moving spirituals, Brown is joined for this program by mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter, tenor Jamez McCorkle, soprano Victoria Okafor, and baritone Reginald Smith, Jr., with Marie-France Lefebvre as pianist. This program is presented in partnership with Opera Birmingham.

After Aida
Written by Julian Mitchell
Directed by D. Lynn Meyers
Presented in collaboration with Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati

Premiering on cincinnatiopera.org on Friday, February 19, 2021, at 7:30 p.m.
Available to stream through March 21, 2021
Access is free, but registration is required—visit cincinnatiopera.org to register

Portrait of an artist. Following the triumphant reception of Aida, Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi retired to his country estate at the height of his fame and popularity. Yet his wife and friends remained convinced Verdi should write another new work and spent the next decade coaxing him into partnership with a talented young librettist. The result: the composer’s late-career masterpiece Otello, now considered one of the great Shakespearean-based operas. Inspired by this touching true story, Julian Mitchell’s acclaimed play is presented in collaboration with Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati in a reading featuring several popular Cincinnati actors, led by Bruce Cromer as Verdi. The gripping, humorous, and loving tale integrates musical excerpts, providing a compelling peek behind opera’s curtain and a humanizing portrait of one of its great artists.

Wanderlust
Featuring works by Claude Debussy, Maurice Delage, Luciano Berio, and Maurice Ravel

Premiering on cincinnatiopera.org on Friday, March 5, 2021, at 7:30 p.m.
Available to stream through March 21, 2021
Access is free, but registration is required—visit cincinnatiopera.org to register.

Songs from afar. One of the many wonderful things about music is the way it allows us to travel the world without leaving the comfort of our homes. This special remote concert combines the talents of Grammy-nominated soprano Talise Trevigne (Cincinnati Opera’s Porgy and Bess, 2019), rising-star conductor William R. Langley, and the provocative chamber ensemble concert:nova to create an enchanting musical travelogue. Highlights of this globe-spanning program include Debussy’s popular Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, three stunning Debussy songs featuring Trevigne as vocalist and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Louis Langrée as pianist, and the Cincinnati premiere of a small ensemble orchestration of Ravel’s Eastern-flavored Shéhérazade. This program is also presented in partnership with IATSE Local 5.

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 receives support from ArtsWave, 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 many other generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. 

To learn more, visit cincinnatiopera.org.

###

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Online Performance, opera, Press Releases

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. 

###

Leave a comment

Filed under Press Releases, Season Announcements