Cincinnati Opera strategic partnerships a true win-win


By Hillary Copsey

Supporters can enjoy the work of Cincinnati Opera and three partner organizations – Catacoustic Consort, ROKCincy and concert:nova – at a music showcase April 12.

Cincinnati Opera formalized strategic partnerships in 2014 it had formed with smaller organizations in order to find efficiencies and drive costs down in the arts sector, said Sneja Tomassian, director of development. The music showcase is the first fundraising event in support of the strategic partnerships, which give the smaller organizations greater potential for growth, administrative capacity and artistic focus while encouraging creative collaborations.

“It’s a win-win for all the organizations,” Tomassian said.

Two Opera staff members work on shared services, including ticketing, development and technology support, for the three organizations. Concert:nova is a cutting-edge chamber music group. ROKCincy takes opera to local schools. And Catacoustic Consort is an ensemble specializing in music composed before 1750.

Other Opera staff members help on an as-needed, project-by-project basis. The three smaller organizations have office space as well as access to rehearsal space, equipment and – perhaps most importantly, according to the organizations’ directors – the Opera staff’s expertise.

“It’s been amazing to tap into their best practices,” said Kelly Holterhoff, ROKCincy director. She added that Patricia K. Beggs, Cincinnati Opera general director and CEO, has been an “incredible mentor.”

The strategic partnerships also allow the smaller organizations to connect with the Opera’s networks for marketing and fundraising.

“They’re a large, very successful organization, and we can learn from them,” said Annalisa Pappano, artistic director of Catacoustic Consort. “They have a greater name recognition and a much larger audience, which, when we work with them, certainly helps.”

Meanwhile, the Opera has tapped into the creative talent of its partners. Concert:nova and the Opera collaborated on “María de Buenos Aires” in 2012, “re:member” in 2014, and they are working on Missy Mazzoli’s opera,“Song from the Uproar,” for the 2017 summer season. The Opera and Catacoustic Consort worked together on Monteverdi’s “Songs of Love and War” and Cavalli’s “La Calisto” in 2014. Monteverdi’s “The Coronation of Poppea” is on tap for 2018.

“It would be great if there was a way to combine forces even more,” said Ixi Chen, concert:nova artistic director. “It could open the doors for a whole new repertoire.”

At the showcase, each of the partners will offer performances that represent their work with the Opera. Catacoustic Consort will present a baroque piece for which Pappano will play the lirone, a stringed instrument, played with a bow, that provides a rich, almost organ-like sound.

“It’s really quite exquisite,” Pappano said.

Concert:nova will share a Spanish-themed piece inspired by “Frida,” which the Opera will present this summer, based on the life of Frida Kahlo. ROKCincy will perform an excerpt from its school tour of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” also performed by the company at the Aronoff.

“It’ll be fun to present to the older-than-K-6 crowd,” Holterhoff said.


Cincinnati Opera Spring Music Showcase

April 12, 6 p.m., Art Design Consultants, 310 Culvert St., downtown.

Drinks and hors d’oeuvres: 6 p.m. Performance: 7 p.m.

Tickets: $100 ($80 tax-deductible). All ticket proceeds and 20 percent of evening’s arts sales support the strategic partnerships.

Reservation deadline, April 7: 513-768-5535.

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