The Cincinnati Opera has been around since 1920, making it the second oldest opera company in America. The Queen City’s gem looks like it might be around for at least another century thanks to the visionary leadership of Evans Mirageas, its Artistic Director.
The company has held on to the simple formula of presenting a season of opera every June and July, of old in the Cincinnati Zoo and now in the newly-renovated Music Hall and, for chamber opera, the nearby School for the Performing Arts.
The gambit works. With most major opera companies lying low during the dog days of summer, the CO can pull off some terrific casting coups, share productions with other opera companies, and fill out a void in the Queen City when other music producing organizations shut down
Director Mirageas is unpredictably inventive. While there will always be a Puccini or a Verdi up his sleeves, he will also manage to mix it up with some off-the-beaten path offerings, which this summer include Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, and the world premiere of Blind Injustice by Scott Davenport Richards and David Cote.
He is serving that up from June 13 through July 28 with Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.
The 2020 Summer Festival of the Cincinnati Opera boasts the world premiere of Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith’s Castor and Patience. Also on tap: Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, starring the superb Isabel Leonard, with tenor Aaron Blake and baritone Rodion Pogossov in the cast.
There will be also be an Aida, Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka with British-Swiss soprano Kim-Lillian Strebel Fierce in the title role.
A yearlong program of Anniversary events begins in September 2019 with tenor Stephen Costello in concert, and a series of concerts by the In Harmony Community Chorus.
In April 2020, Cincinnati Opera will present the regional premiere of Bryce Dessner’s Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), a new work inspired by Dessner’s experience of growing up in Cincinnati during protests against an exhibit of the work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe at the Contemporary Arts Center in 1990.
In conjunction with the meeting of the 2020 national Opera America board in Cincinnati, Cincinnati Opera will present Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin, a song cycle about the first woman elected to Congress, by composers Kitty Brazelton, Laura Kaminsky, Laura Karpman, and Ellen Reid, with text by Kimberly Reed.
In addition, Cincinnati Opera will present its usual lineup of community and education programming, including Opera Raps, the 30th annual Community Open Dress Rehearsal, The Opera Express mobile opera theater, the Inside Opera podcast series, performances through the UC Medical Center and Cincinnati Opera Voice Health Partnership, and the 15th annual Opera Goes to Church/Opera Goes to Temple concert series. Whew!
Rafael de Acha http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com