Opera’s centenary latest victim of COVID-19

Hoping against hope for encouraging news about the coronavirus, Cincinnati Opera finally announced last week that the company’s 100th anniversary season would not take place this summer.

According to a statement from new General Director & CEO Christopher Milligan and Artistic Director Evans Mirageas, “Public orders currently prevent our artists, production crews, and staff from safely assembling to prepare for our season, a process that begins months in advance of opening night. We have followed guidance from public health experts while maintaining hope that we could move forward, but it is now clear we are unable to do so. With the uncertainty surrounding the resumption of public gatherings, it is our responsibility to act in favor of the continued safety of our audiences, artists, staff, and community.”

Christopher Milligan (photo by John Carrico)

To keep opera alive this summer, the company will debut new online programming such as its recently launched digital series, Apartment Arias, featuring at-home performances by artists who would have participated in this 2020 season. 

Details regarding the 2021 Summer Festival will be announced in the coming months, but will definitely include world premiere operas “Fierce” and “Castor and Patience,” both scheduled for this summer.

Evans Mirageas

The Ball of the Century, which was to take place opening night of the 2020 season, has been rescheduled to June 19, 2021. For sponsors and individuals who have already purchased tickets, reservations will be honored for the rescheduled event. 

The company has committed to keep its year-round staff intact and to provide “a level of compensation” to the nearly 400 onstage and backstage professionals – from singers and musicians to stage technicians and artisans.

Toward that end, subscribers are invited to donate the value of their 2020 tickets back to Cincinnati Opera. The Harry T. Wilks Family Foundation, Nanci Wilks Lanni & Nick Lanni, and Barbara Wilks have generously established a dollar-for-dollar Artists Relief Matching Gift Fund.


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