18 Organizations Set to Participate – Evans Mirageas Brings Together Cincinnati Arts, Culture, and Education Institutions to Commemorate Centenary. 

Cincinnati Opera to Present the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Opera Silent Night, Set in the Trenches of WWI.

 CINCINNATI, OH — Cincinnati Opera announces “Cincinnati Remembers World War I,” a citywide series of community events commemorating the centenary of the First World War. Cincinnati’s leading cultural institutions have formed a novel partnership to illuminate the history, innovation, art, music, and social impact of the war. The program was conceived by Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera. His vision of a cross-disciplinary collaboration has inspired institutions throughout Cincinnati to present programming focused on the WWI era. With this series, Cincinnati Opera continues a proud tradition of collaborative community programming centered on operas such as Dead Man Walking (2002), Margaret Garner (2005), Brundibár (2000), and Rise for Freedom: The John P. Parker Story(2007). 

“Cincinnati Remembers World War I” begins on November 11, 2013 and culminates in July 2014 with Cincinnati Opera’s production of the extraordinary new American opera Silent Night. Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music, the opera is based on the moving true story of the Christmas truce of 1914, when combatant soldiers on the Western Front declared a brief ceasefire and celebrated the holiday together. 

“I vividly recall being at the world premiere,” said Evans Mirageas. “Literally, before getting into the car after the curtain calls, I was on the phone to our general director and CEO Patty Beggs, because we simply had to produce Silent Night for Cincinnati. This story of a fragile truce at the first Christmas of that war is one of the most deeply heartfelt tales I have experienced in over forty years of opera-going. Not only that, the complete serendipity of our presenting it on the 100th anniversary of the start of the war quickly led us to this project.”

Mirageas seized the opportunity to not only share the story of the opera with Cincinnati, but to commemorate this almost-forgotten war. He envisioned a slate of programs covering disparate topics of the war, then reached out to diverse groups in the community to uncover the stories they could tell of WWI. 

“World War I changed the world and warfare forever,” continued Mirageas. “The insanity of it, the mechanization of killing as well as the political aftermath, resonates into our lives today. The opportunity to focus on this momentous period is a once-in-a-lifetime event. And, Cincinnati is a particularly interesting location for examining the war, due to its strong German heritage.” 

Silent Night is a poignant story of human connection in the midst of devastating conflict — a universal story, and even better, a true one,” said Patricia K. Beggs, General Director and CEO of Cincinnati Opera. “It is amazing that so many partner organizations are coming together to help us tell the stories of World War I. Cincinnati is truly a community where collaboration and connection are paramount.” 

“We salute Cincinnati Opera for bringing an exceptional new American opera to local audiences and, in association with this important event, paying tribute to a tragic war that changed the course of world events,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of national nonprofit service organization OPERA America. “Opera can be a portal through which we deepen the understanding of our shared history and offers many opportunities to partner with other cultural institutions. ‘Cincinnati Remembers World War I’ is a bold project that demonstrates the opera company’s admirable commitment to collaboration across the city.” 

Cincinnati Opera will open the series with “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914,” performed by the Cantus Vocal Ensemble at Christ Church Cathedral on November 11, the 95th anniversary of the armistice that ended WWI. A wide range of programming will follow over the next eight months, spanning the fields of visual art, dance, history, medicine, and music. Events include an exhibit of historical photographs at Cincinnati Museum Center; Cincinnati Art Museum’s exhibit “Cries in the Night: German Expressionism around World War I,” and a modern dance performance inspired by that exhibit performed by MamLuft&Co Dance; and a program of chamber music written before, during, and after World War I performed by concert:nova. 

“Only in Cincinnati could a series of events like this occur,” said Mirageas. “We will focus on the creativity that came from the conflict, the lessons we learned, and those we have yet to learn. My hope is that the eyes of the world will be upon us in the months to come as we bring into focus a landmark in world history, the war that was supposed to end all wars.” 

“The Great War, to many historians, marks the true end of the 19th century and the true beginning of the 20th century,” said Dr. Elizabeth Frierson of the University of Cincinnati History Department. She is also the Director of World War I and the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute being held at UC in summer 2014. “Cincinnati Opera’s leadership in creating opportunities for conversation and reflection on the opening year of this war is extraordinary. UC’s Department of History is delighted to partner with Cincinnati Opera, and to partner with Cincinnati’s other leading cultural institutions to create town-gown partnerships around the many fascinating topics included under the umbrella of World War I and the Arts.” 

“War is hell and always challenges humanity to find meaning in its insanity. We, in medicine, learned some transformative lessons from World War I that changed the course of medical education and practice forever,” said Dr. John M. Tew, Jr. In spring 2014, Dr. Tew will lead a panel of prominent physicians discussing the impact of WWI on modern medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

“This community collaboration and commemoration of World War I speaks to Cincinnati’s rich history,” said Douglass W. McDonald, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center and CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “Both Cincinnati Museum Center and the Freedom Center are pleased to present aspects of our history collections. Through these objects and their stories, our community will glean new and deeper insights into a period of time that fundamentally changed our region and our world.”  

Cincinnati Opera’s partners for “Cincinnati Remembers World War I” include Catacoustic Consort, Christ Church Cathedral, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Boychoir, Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, concert:nova, Contemporary Arts Center, German-American Citizens League, MamLuft&Co. Dance, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Spring Grove Cemetery, Taft Museum of Art, UC Health, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati Department of History, and Xavier University Choir and Orchestra. In addition, Cincinnati Opera is part of the First World War Centenary Partnership, a network of over 1,400 cultural organizations led by Great Britain’s Imperial War Museum. Information on “Cincinnati Remembers World War I” events is listed below. More partnerships and events will be announced in the coming months. 

Cincinnati Opera’s “Cincinnati Remembers World War I” programs are sponsored in part by Christ Church Cathedral, Michael Cioffi, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. Cincinnati Opera’s production of Silent Night is sponsored by The Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation. 

Organizations interested in supporting or participating in “Cincinnati Remembers World War I” are encouraged to contact Kelly Holterhoff at kholterhoff@cincinnatiopera.org. For more information, visit www.cincinnatiopera.org. 

 

Cincinnati Opera presents Cincinnati Remembers World War I A Citywide Series of Community Events November 2013-July 2014 

Cincinnati Opera presents

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Featuring the Cantus Vocal Ensemble

When: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Christ Church Cathedral, 318 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202  

Admission: $20 adults, $10 students, FREE to veterans and active military servicemen and women. Call the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at (513) 241-2742 for information or to purchase tickets.

Description: On Veterans Day 2013, the 95th anniversary of the end of the First World War, Cincinnati Opera presents the Cantus Vocal Ensemble in a performance of “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914.” The work tells the story of the remarkable World War I truce between Allied forces and German soldiers at the Western Front on Christmas 1914 — the same story that inspired the opera Silent Night, which Cincinnati Opera will present in July 2014. “All is Calm” combines documentary sources — letters from soldiers at the front as well as contemporary news articles — with new arrangements of European carols and war songs to create a moving a capella concert. Acclaimed as “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the United States” (Fanfare), Cantus is committed to inspiring audiences with music performed at the highest level. Rehearsing and performing without a conductor or music director, the nine members of Cantus are renowned for adventurous programming spanning many periods and genres, including work commissioned specifically for the group. Sponsored by Christ Church Cathedral.

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Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra presents

Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand

Featuring conductor Louis Langrée and pianist Kirill Gerstein

When: Friday, November 29, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.

Where: Music Hall, 1241 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Admission: Ticket prices start at $12. To order, call the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Box Office at (513) 381-3300.

Description: As part of “Rhapsody in Blue,” a concert of works by Gershwin and Ravel, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra presents a performance of Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. This masterpiece of ingenuity was commissioned by Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, brother of the philosopher Ludwig. A budding concert pianist who made a promising debut in 1913, Wittgenstein was conscripted when war broke out. During an assault on Ukraine, he was shot in the elbow and captured by Russian forces, and his right arm was amputated. While he recuperated in a Siberian prisoner-of-war camp, Wittgenstein vowed to continue his career, and went on to commission a number of famous composers, including Ravel, Benjamin Britten, Paul Hindemith, Sergei Prokofiev, and Richard Strauss, to write works specifically for him. Sponsored by Paycor and PNC.

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concert:nova presents

re:member

When: Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

Where: The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Boulevard, Covington, KY 41011

Admission: $25 adult, $12 student. To order, visit www.concertnova.com/tickets or call (513) 739-NOVA (6682).

Description: In honor of the World War I Centennial, concert:nova presents a stirring program of chamber music written before, during, and after the Great War. From Debussy’s Syrinx played by Randy Bowman, to Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht performed by principals from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Ballet dancers, to songs from the trenches and soldiers’ letters recited by guest artist Naomi Lewin, each piece paints a picture of the human spirit during one of the bloodiest wars in human history. Sponsored by Kolar Design.

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Cincinnati Museum Center presents

Treasures in Black and White: Historic Photographs of Cincinnati

When: April-October 2014

Where: Cincinnati History Museum at Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45203

Admission: $8.50 adults, $6.50 children ages 3-12

Description: Cincinnati Museum Center presents an exhibit of historical photographs chronicling Cincinnati from 1860 to 1960. The exhibit will include images documenting the city during World War I.

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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center presents

Online Interpretive Exhibit

When: April-July 2014

Where: Online at www.freedomcenter.org.

Admission: FREE
Description: The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center presents an online interpretive exhibit tracing the roles of women, children, and African Americans in World War I.

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Cincinnati Boychoir presents

All Quiet

When & Where:

Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, 325 West 8th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at Summit Country Day School Chapel, 2161 Grandin Road, Cincinnati, OH 45208

Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 225 Ludlow Street, Hamilton, OH 45011

Admission: $15 adults, $10 students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.cincinnatiboychoir.org/concerts.

Description: While many countries suffered great losses in the First World War, much of the protracted trench warfare took place in France, causing destruction of both the countryside and its population. In memory of all who gave their lives and for those who were children at the time, the Cincinnati Boychoir will sing several great works that would have been heard in France before and after the Great War, including Noël des Enfants by Claude Debussy, Messe cum jubilo by Maurice Duruflé, and Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem.

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Xavier University Choir and Orchestra present

Vaughan Williams’s Dona Nobis Pacem

When: Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.

Where: Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, 1140 Madison Avenue, Covington, KY 41011

Admission: FREE

Description: The chorus and orchestra of Xavier University present a cantata by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Dona Nobis Pacem (“Grant us peace”). Drawing his text from the Roman Catholic Mass, three poems by Walt Whitman, a political speech, and sections of the Bible, Vaughan Williams’s 1936 work was a plea for peace that lamented past wars during a time of growing fear of another war to come.

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Cincinnati Museum Center presents

Online Exhibition of World War I Propaganda Posters

When: May-July 2014

Where: Online at library.cincymuseum.org.

Admission: FREE

Description: Cincinnati Museum Center will present an online exhibition of World War I propaganda posters from its collection, demonstrating the large-scale publicity campaign needed to mobilize men and money quickly. These posters served as an inexpensive and eye-catching method to arouse public emotion and unify support for the war. Nearly 3,000 posters were designed during WWI by volunteer artists in service to government and civilian agencies. They were printed in mass quantities and distributed in support of war fund drives. Many posters from WWI were reprised during World War II. The Cincinnati-based Strobridge Lithographing Company produced several of these posters. An Insights lecture on World War I will also be presented.

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UC Health and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine present

Lessons from the Trenches: How World War I Changed the Study and Practice of Medicine

When: Spring 2014

Where: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Admission: FREE, but reservations are required. More information TBA.

Description: This event includes a panel discussion on the impact of World War I on the medical field, focusing on how warfare spurred major advances in medicine. A panel of prominent physicians from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine will be led by Dr. Michael Edwards and Dr. John M. Tew, Jr. The event will also include tours of UC’s historic surgical amphitheater, one of the few surgical amphitheaters remaining in the U.S., and the collection of surgical artifacts in the Institute of Wartime Medicine at the UC College of Medicine. A short program of WWI poetry and songs will be presented by Cincinnati Opera during a cocktail reception following the panel discussion.

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Taft Museum of Art presents

World War I At Home

When: Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.

Where: Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Admission: Price TBA. Visit www.taftmuseum.org or call (513) 684-4515 for more information.

Description: Dinner as the Tafts might have had it during World War I is served up along with three short talks about what life was like in Cincinnati during the war. Patricia Van Skaik, Manager of the Genealogy and Local History Department at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County will discuss how the war impacted Cincinnatians on the home front. Taft Museum of Art Manager of Public Programs Mary Ladrick looks at the Taft family’s contributions to the war effort, and Taft Curator of Education Nancy Huth will talk about ways the war forever changed the role of women.

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Taft Museum of Art presents

Chamber Music Concert featuring the Music of World War I

When: Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.

Where: Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Admission: FREE. Visit www.taftmuseum.org or call (513) 684-4515 for more information.

Description: The Taft Museum of Art wraps up its annual Chamber Music Series with an outdoor concert featuring music of the World War I era.

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Cincinnati Opera presents

Opera in the Park Concert

When: Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Washington Park, 1230 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Admission: FREE

Description: Cincinnati Opera presents Opera in the Park, a free concert featuring opera favorites performed by stars of the 2014 season, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Selections will include works commemorating World War I and selections from the company premiere of the new American opera Silent Night.

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Cincinnati Opera and the Catacoustic Consort co-present

The Songs of Love and War

When: Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: First Lutheran Church, 1208 Race Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Admission: $25 adults, $10 students. To order, contact the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at (513) 241-2742. Single tickets go on sale in spring 2014.  

Description: Cincinnati Opera and the Catacoustic Consort co-present The Songs of Love and War, a program that draws parallels between Claudio Monteverdi’s final masterpiece Madrigals of Love and War and the poetry and letters of World War I. The program is conducted by Annalisa Pappano and directed by Ted Huffman. Sponsored by Michael Cioffi.

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Cincinnati Art Museum presents

Cries in the Night: German Expressionism around World War I

When: June 21-August 17, 2014

Where: Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Admission: FREE

Description: Expressionism developed during a period of intense social and aesthetic transformation in Germany and Austria. This exhibition of prints traces the avant garde and the concurrent renaissance in the graphic arts, particularly printmaking, with the founding of the Brücke in 1905, through the devastating and transformative impact of the artists’ careers after Germany entered World War I in August 1914, and its aftermath during the early years of the Weimar Republic. Among the German printmakers featured are Erich Heckel, Ernst Kirchner, Franz Marc, Käthe Kollwitz, Max Beckmann, Max Pechstein, and Otto Dix.

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Cincinnati Art Museum and MamLuft&Co. Dance co-present

The Tragedy of Time: Expressionist Art and Dance

When: Friday, June 20, 2014: 7:00 p.m. tour, 8:00 p.m. performance

Sunday, June 22, 2014: 6:00 p.m. tour, 7:00 p.m. performance

Where: Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Admission: General admission: $25 advance, $30 at the door; students $10 advance, $15 at the door; Cincinnati Art Museum members: $20 advance, $25 at the door. To purchase, visit www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org or www.mamluftcodance.org.

Description: The Cincinnati Art Museum and MamLuft&Co. Dance co-present a tour and performance centered on Cincinnati Art Museum’s special exhibit, “Cries in the Night: German Expressionism around World War I.” The evenings begin with guided tours of the special exhibition and conclude in the Art Museum’s monumental Great Hall, where MamLuft&Co. Dance will perform. The Modern Dance performance is inspired by the exhibit and the Expressionist movement itself, a pivotal era in both visual art and dance.

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University of Cincinnati presents

World War I and the Arts: Sounds, Sights, Psyches

When: June 23-July 20, 2014

Where: University of Cincinnati

Admission: FREE for select evening events

Description: From June 23 to July 20, 2014, the University of Cincinnati Department of History will host a Summer Institute for college and university faculty on World War I and the Arts, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Institute brings a dozen leading historians of the Great War as a global conflict, including Asia and Africa, to lead 25 college and university research and teaching faculty in an intensive course of readings and collaboration. The end result will be new research and teaching materials on World War I as a conflict that reached well beyond Europe, and as evidence in the arts, including the healing arts, disseminated on the internet to benefit curriculum wherever WWI is taught. Several public events will be held in coordination with Cincinnati Opera and other leading cultural institutions in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Opera presents

A Musical Introduction to Silent Night

When: Saturday, June 28, 2014

Where: Spring Grove Cemetery, 4521 Spring Grove Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45232

Admission: FREE

Description: Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera, leads an introduction to the new American opera Silent Night, featuring singers from the cast of Silent Night and music from the WWI era. Sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

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Cincinnati Opera presents

The Music of James Reese Europe

When: Sunday, June 29, 2014

Where: Washington Park, 1230 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Admission: FREE

Description: A free public concert of the music of the first African American military bandmaster, James Reese Europe. The first black man to conduct on Broadway, Europe enlisted to fight when the U.S. entered the war. However, his talent and celebrity were quickly discovered, and he was ordered to organize an all-black military band to entertain the troops in France. His compositions and arrangements survive, and Cincinnati Opera is proud to present a selection of works by this early master of jazz and ragtime. Sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

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German-American Citizens League presents

German-Americans as Huns: The Anti-German Hysteria of World War I

Featuring Dr. Don Heinrich Tolzmann

When: TBA

Where: German Heritage Museum, 4764 West Fork Road, Cincinnati, OH 45247

Admission: TBA

Description: Dr. Don Heinrich Tolzmann will lecture on the anti-German hysteria which swept the U.S. during World War I. Dr. Tolzmann is the author and editor of numerous books on German-American history and culture, and recently retired as Curator of the German-Americana Collection and Director of the German-American Studies Program at the University of Cincinnati.

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Cincinnati Opera presents

Silent Night

When: Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Music Hall, 1241 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Admission: Tickets start at $25. To order, contact the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at (513) 241-2742 or visit www.cincinnatiopera.org. Single tickets go on sale in spring 2014.

Description: To commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I, Cincinnati Opera will present Silent Night, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Inspired by a true story and based on the 2005 film Joyeux Noël, this new American opera by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell recounts the moving tale of the Christmas truce of 1914, when combatant soldiers on the Western Front declared a brief ceasefire and celebrated the holiday together. The production was hailed as “a triumph of contemporary stagecraft” (Opera News) at its November 2011 premiere. The opera is a co-production of Minnesota Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Fort Worth Opera, and Cincinnati Opera. The company premiere of this important work is supported by a gift from The Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation.

Cincinnati Opera’s 2014 Summer Festival will take place June 12 through July 27, featuring Georges Bizet’s Carmen, Kevin Puts’s Silent Night, Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto, and Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. The season will open with Opera in the Park, a free community concert in Washington Park. Cincinnati Opera’s 2014 season is made possible with support from ArtsWave, Ohio Arts Council, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, and many generous individuals, corporations, and foundations.   www.cincinnatiopera.org

 

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