The Cincinnati summer can bring the unpredictable in both music and weather, but for the many of us who prefer to stay put here during June, July and August, there are some very reassuring musical offerings awaiting our attendance.

The Cincinnati Opera (America’s second oldest) will celebrate its 96th anniversary in its temporary digs at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, while Music Hall undergoes renovations that we now hear will delay its reopening until 2017.

A line up of four works starts on June 16 with Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, set according to the company’s brochure, in the 1930’s and inspired by the film The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Soprano Nicole Cabell stars as Rosalinda and tenor Alek Shrader is her Alfred.

The tone of the season changes on July 7th with a new production of Fidelio, Beethoven’s one and only opera in a new production set in an unnamed country in the present.

Soprano, Christine Goerke is Leonore, the heroine of this grand masterpiece about love and liberty. Russell Thomas is her Florestan, and bass Nathan Stark is Rocco.

Later in July, Russian soprano, Evelina Dobraceva sings Tosca in a new period production. Surrounding her, tenor Marcello Giordani is Cavaradossi and baritone Gordon Hawkins is Scarpia.

Running concurrently with Tosca, Fellow Travellers, a new opera by the composer-librettist team of Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce, will feature a cast of young American singers, among them CCM alumni Joseph Lattanzi and Tanya Lieberman, and veteran baritone Vernon Hartman.

The work is set in the intrigue-ridden America of the McCarthy era.

Details on exact performance times and dates, and tickets: or 513 241 27 42.


Summermusik is the short one-word nickname for Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. The born-again organization boasts the cream of the crop of Cincinnati’s free-lance musicians, now gathered under one banner and about to get a new music director.

Each of five contenders for the position will lead an audition-concert. At the end of the season, one of the five will be invited to assume the position of permanent music director of the CCO.

Daniel Meyer will conduct the opening concert of the season on August 13: Haydn Symphony no, 85, Ravel’s piano concerto in G Major, with Joyce Yang as soloist, and Mother Goose Suite, plus yet another suite of Copland’s, Music For The Movies.

Meyer’s resume reflects his penchant for re-energizing regional orchestras all over the United States and guest-conducting in Europe.

Christopher Zimmerman has accumulated some impressive credits throughout a career that straddles Europe and America, opera and orchestral concerts. He will lead the CCO in music by Elgar, Piazzolla and Beethoven’s Symphony no, 7.

The soloist in the program will be Chinese violinist Chee-Yun, in the local premiere of the Argentine composer’s Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas.

Former CCO Assistant Conductor Sarah Ioannides takes the podium on August 27th in a program that includes Rossini, Poulenc, Milhaud’s Creation of the World and the premiere of Caribbean Rhapsody, a new work by Roberto Sierra, with saxophonist, James Carter as soloist.

In a world largely dominated by white, middle-aged men, she may have a good shot at the position of Musical Director of the CCO, given her gender, youth, and experience.

German-born Eckart Preu combines teaching, writing and community activism with his very busy conducting career, all qualities and skills that just may serve him in good stead.

He will helm the CCO in an off-beat line up of two premieres: Miguel del Aguila’s Conga-Line in Hell and Daniel Bjarnason’s FROM Bow to String, off-set by Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite, Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto No. 1, with Joshua Roman as soloist, and Mozart’s Paris symphony.

Kelly Kuo returns to conduct the CCO on September 3, his slot at the end of the season perhaps guaranteeing that memory of his appearance will be at its most vivid by being the most recent before a decision is reached. His program is yet to be announced.

In addition to the orchestral concerts, the CCO will again present a handful of Little Afternoon Musiks and Chamber Crawls. These are informal chamber music concerts given in various eateries and watering holes around town, supervised and assembled by several of the conducting candidates as well as by members of the orchestra.

Details on exact performance times and dates, and tickets: or 513 723 1182


  1. Thank you, Rafael, for your article about Summermusik… the exciting summer festival presented by the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Just to clarify… Kelly Kuo’s audition concert took place Sept. 3, 2015. The concerts at SCPA this summer will be the audition concerts for the other four music director candidates. Daniel Meyer – 8/13/16, Christopher Zimmerman – 8/20/16, Sarah Ioannides – 8/27/16, and Eckart Preu – 9/1/16.


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