New Initiatives to Enhance Appeal as a Destination for Regional, National, and International Opera Audience
Company to Expand Repertoire through Unique Partnership with School for Creative and Performing Arts
Opera Campus to Leverage Revitalized Over-the-Rhine Neighborhood
Summer Festival Events to Include Lectures, Recitals, and Outdoor Activities in Renovated Washington Park
Significant Gifts Totaling $2.55 Million from Haile Foundation, Schott Foundation, Groll Trust, Dorman Trust, and Anonymous Donors
CINCINNATI, OH—In anticipation of Cincinnati Opera’s 100th birthday in 2020, the company is thrilled to announce a transformational, multi-faceted initiative designed to renew its commitment to artistic excellence, deepen its connections with the community, expand the audience for opera, and enhance the opera-going experience.
“We’re laying a new foundation for Cincinnati Opera’s second century,” said Patricia K. Beggs, General Director & CEO of Cincinnati Opera. “This plan is the result of months of intense work by the Opera’s board and staff.”
“The recent developments in Over-the-Rhine—the new School for Creative and Performing Arts, the renovated Washington Park—have formed a campus-like setting that will allow us to create an opera-going experience like nowhere else in North America. It will be an opera lover’s paradise,” says Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of the company.
“We have long believed Cincinnati could become a destination for opera lovers,” said Robert W. Olson, President of the Opera’s Board of Trustees. “The extraordinary renaissance of Over-the-Rhine—a long-held dream—is nothing short of amazing. For us, it is a validation of our commitment to this neighborhood, and it is a pillar of the company’s vision for the future.”
The keystone of the Opera’s plan is the creation of a true summer opera festival in Cincinnati. This includes a return to festival scheduling, with the Opera’s productions performed in repertory; leveraging the renaissance of Over-the-Rhine to create an Opera Campus; and intensive, inspired collaborations with Cincinnati’s many arts and culture organizations. Cincinnati Opera will become a multi-venue destination festival with both traditional and innovative programming.
New Initiative Enables Festival Programming and Repertoire Expansion
While traditional grand operas have a majestic home in Music Hall’s Springer Auditorium, works of the Baroque period, chamber operas, and many modern operas are best suited to a smaller, more intimate space. Cincinnati Opera will embark on a new initiative, called CO2, which will enable the company to explore new areas of repertoire through the addition of a second stage, in addition to the Opera’s home at Music Hall. Beginning in 2013, Cincinnati Opera will produce one of its four summer festival productions in a smaller venue. Cincinnati Opera has received a $500,000 gift from The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation to support this endeavor in its first five years.
One of the core missions of the new initiative is to both deepen and broaden the company’s collaborations with diverse arts and culture groups throughout the community. This builds on a history of collaborative partnerships that are as old as the company itself; most prominent is the partnership with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, which began with the Opera’s very first performance in 1920. More recently, the Cincinnati Ballet and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) have become vital partners with the Opera.
The presentation of new repertoire promises to excite current patrons and entice newcomers. And, tickets for the small-venue productions will be moderately priced, further encouraging exploration by first-time attendees.
In addition to a longer performance run, the second stage creates an opportunity to return to festival programming. In recent years, Cincinnati Opera has presented each production two weeks apart. In a festival schedule, several operas are in performance at once, allowing patrons to see different operas on successive days. This significantly increases the allure of the Opera’s productions for regional and national operagoers.
“One of the most exciting things about these small-venue productions is our plan to offer extended runs with significantly more performances,” said Beggs. “A schedule with added performances opens up so many opportunities. It creates a better experience for all our audience members, both local patrons and visitors. This schedule provides flexibility in planning for our regional attendees, as well as the ability to see several shows in a single short visit for those traveling to the city. It will broaden our options for increased partnerships with local arts and educational organizations, and of course, it will give us more time to spread the word about our fantastic productions.”
The Opera Campus
As envisioned, the Opera Campus will take advantage of the many fine locations for arts performances in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood as well as the burgeoning amenities for the opera audience.
Music Hall, Cincinnati Opera’s home since 1972 and the performance venue for grand opera, will be at the heart of the Opera Campus. A National Historic Landmark built in 1878, and one of the most acoustically perfect halls in the world, it is also the site of the company’s offices at the Corbett Opera Center.
One block south of Music Hall sits the new School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), whose state-of-the-art Corbett Theater will be the location of Cincinnati Opera’s second stage, where the company will perform innovative new productions in an intimate setting. The smaller scale created by the 750-seat Corbett Theater will provide the perfect counterpoint to the grandeur of Music Hall, which has a seating capacity over four times as large.
Cincinnati Opera will embark on a partnership with SCPA that is unique in the opera world, and the collaboration will extend beyond simply the use of the facility. SCPA, the only K-12 performing arts school in the nation, will partner with Cincinnati Opera to provide learning opportunities for students. Aspiring singers, musicians, dancers, designers, and stage technicians will receive invaluable real-world experience through apprenticeships alongside Cincinnati Opera professionals.
“This collaboration illustrates how the School for Creative and Performing Arts is not only a school, but a full partner in the arts community,” said Principal Steve Brokamp. “We are so excited that Cincinnati Opera will take residence in our Corbett Theater as part of its mainstage season.”
Dr. Isidore L. Rudnick, Artistic Director at SCPA, agreed. “This is a unique and wonderful opportunity for our students to apprentice during the summer with many professional artists at Cincinnati Opera. Learning from the Cincinnati Opera’s singers, technical designers, orchestral musicians, and artistic and administrative staff will enable our students to better prepare for careers in the arts.”
Just across Elm Street is Washington Park, which just completed a $48 million renovation. Cincinnati Opera will kick off each season with Opera in the Park, a free outdoor concert for the community. Throughout the opera season, festival attendees will picnic on the Civic Lawn between performances, stroll through the tree-shaded paths, and enjoy the interactive fountain during intermissions. Parking for all campus activities is made simpler with the park’s new 450-car underground garage. Operagoers will be spoiled with choices for dining at the many top-quality restaurants within a three-block area.
“The revitalized Washington Park will be a true asset for the neighborhood, including Music Hall and its resident organizations,” said Steve Leeper, President and CEO of 3CDC, which manages the park on behalf of the City of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Park Board. “We’ve already planned a number of arts performances in the park, including a free joint Grand Opening concert by the four Music Hall companies, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with all of them on future programming and events. Cincinnati Opera’s incorporation of the park in its Opera Campus is another example of how Washington Park can bring people together in Over-the-Rhine.”
Next door to Music Hall is Memorial Hall, a stunning turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts performance hall. It will be the site of recitals by visiting opera stars and promising young artists, as well as informative lectures by opera scholars. And, the company hopes to inspire and collaborate with other community organizations to program events linked to the Opera’s season, such as films and exhibits.
“What we’re most excited about is that this plan allows us to connect with the community through a variety of locations, a range of programming, more performances, and increased accessibility,” said Beggs. “From the refined experience at Music Hall, to the modestly-priced small venue productions at SCPA, to the free public offerings in Washington Park and beyond, our goal is to reach everyone with the magic of live opera.”
Future Season Repertoire and Funding
Cincinnati Opera’s vision for the future will begin to take shape with its 2013 season, which will see operas presented at both Music Hall and at SCPA. The season begins with Opera in the Park, a celebratory gala concert on Sunday, June 9, 2013 in Washington Park.
2013 Summer Festival
Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – June 13 & 15
Mozart’s masterwork will be presented on the Music Hall stage in a production last seen in 2004. Rising young American baritone Lucas Meachem will take on the title role, which he has portrayed to great acclaim at Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, and the Glyndebourne Festival.
Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss – June 27 & 29
The company continues its commitment to German opera with the return of Richard Strauss’s glorious and great comic opera Der Rosenkavalier to the Music Hall stage. The cast features a trio of Cincinnati Opera favorites: Twyla Robinson (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, 2010), Sarah Coburn (Rigoletto, 2011; Lucie de Lammermoor, 2008); and Ruxandra Donose (Carmen, 2009).
Galileo Galilei by Philip Glass – July 11, 14e, 17, 19 & 21m
To kick off the CO2 initiative, the third production of the summer will take place at SCPA. The company extends a longstanding commitment to American opera with its first-ever production of an opera by the popular composer Philip Glass. Kelly Kuo will lead the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in five performances.
Aida by Giuseppe Verdi – July 18, 20, 26 & 28m
The 2013 season will also see the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi. In celebration, Cincinnati Opera will remount the 2007 production of his masterpiece Aida at Music Hall. The Cincinnati Enquirer called this Aida “the most sensational production this city has ever seen.” The cast features the company debut of the fast-rising soprano Latonia Moore in a role she has sung at both London’s Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera.
2014 Summer Festival
Carmen by Georges Bizet
Our 94th season will open with one of the best-loved operas of all time, featuring mezzo-soprano Stacey Rishoi in the title role and bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch as the toreador Escamillo. Both are rising stars and graduates of the acclaimed program at CCM.
Silent Night by Kevin Puts
A gift of $300,000 from The Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation will make possible the exciting company premiere of Kevin Puts’s important new opera Silent Night, which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Inspired by a true story and based on the 2005 film Joyeux Noël, Silent Night recounts the moving tale of the Christmas truce of 1914, when combatant soldiers on the Western Front of the First World War declared a brief ceasefire and celebrated the holiday together.
Cincinnati Opera’s performances will take place near the 100th anniversary of the outset of World War I. To commemorate that conflict, which reshaped world politics and ushered in the modern era, the company will spearhead a multi-disciplinary program of educational lectures, films, exhibits, and symposiums, collaborating with organizations throughout the arts, education, and cultural community.
La Calisto by Francesco Cavalli
The third production of the 2014 season will take place at SCPA. Francesco Cavalli’s 1651 work La Calisto will be Cincinnati Opera’s first-ever Baroque opera, and the earliest opera the company has ever mounted. The production will feature the company debut of the internationally-acclaimed male soprano Michael Maniaci. La Calisto, like Galileo Galilei in 2013, draws inspiration from the stars and heavenly bodies. Cincinnati Opera will create a new production with a unified concept to serve both pieces, drawing on resonances between the two works.
Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
The season will close with Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, starring Italian soprano Maria Luigia Borsi. Ms. Borsi wowed audiences with her charming Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi (2012) and a heartbreaking turn as Desdemona in Otello (2010).
Monumental New Productions in 2015
To open the 2015 season, Cincinnati Opera will present the regional premiere of Jake Heggie’s blockbuster opera Moby-Dick in the groundbreaking, state-of-the-art production which premiered at The Dallas Opera in 2010.
A magical new production of Turandot by the imaginative duo Renaud Doucet and André Barbe will close the 2015 season. Cincinnati Opera is a co-producer of the Turandot production with The Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Seattle Opera, and Utah Opera. Cincinnati Opera’s presentation of the work is funded in part by an anonymous donor, who has given $340,000 to support the Opera’s long-established strength of presenting grand operatic masterpieces on the main stage. The gift will allow the company to bring new productions of traditional works to Cincinnati Opera, and ensures its continuing ability to present opera at the highest caliber of artistic excellence. “Grand opera is at the heart of our mission,” said Mirageas. “This gift endorses our belief in our core product, even as we embark on exciting new projects.”
Major Gifts Insure Continued Growth and Sustainability
In addition to these gifts targeted toward new ventures and productions, Cincinnati Opera is also grateful for several recent, important gifts which will insure sustainability as the company grows toward its 100th anniversary. A $1.1 million bequest from The Katherine H. Groll Trust, a $300,000 gift from the Luba Dorman Trust, and a $50,000 gift from the estate of Dr. Stanley Kaplan will boost the company’s endowment fund as a stable source of annual income.
Added Beggs, “Of course, what we do would not be possible without the continued support of our season presenting sponsor PNC Bank, ArtsWave, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and many other generous individuals, corporations, and foundations.”
Cincinnati Opera 2013 Summer Festival
June 13–July 28
Don Giovanni • Der Rosenkavalier • Galileo Galilei • Aida
Cincinnati Opera subscription renewals will be available in the fall. New subscriptions will go on sale in winter 2012, and single tickets go on sale in spring 2013. For additional information, please visit www.cincinnatiopera.org or contact the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at (513) 241-2742.
Cincinnati Opera’s 2012 Summer Festival continues through July 28 with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata.
Next summer, come experience Cincinnati Opera’s internationally acclaimed Summer Opera Festival, where you’ll see extraordinary, thrilling opera in both grand and intimate styles. You’ll see beautiful, world-class productions at Music Hall and innovative, magical productions in the Corbett Theater. All performances feature the finest singers in the world, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, and the powerful Cincinnati Opera Chorus. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time attendee and supporter, we invite you to experience the nation’s most inspiring and welcoming opera festival.
###Cincinnati Opera Announces Opera Campus, Unique Partnership, and Repertoire Through 2014