After two seasons away, Cincinnati Opera has announced plans to return to Music Hall and the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) next June and July for its 2022 Summer Festival.
The 2022 season includes Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” and Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida” at Music Hall, plus two world premiere operas at SCPA’s Corbett Theater: William Menefield and Sheila Williams’s “Fierce” and Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith’s “Castor and Patience.”
According to Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director Evans Mirageas, the 2022 season has been planned “to bring us together and remind us what it feels like to fall in love, to give us a reason to laugh out loud, and to move us with compelling stories that reflect the modern American experience. For the audience, we hope it will feel like both a welcome return to form and an exciting leap forward – a not-to-be-missed chapter in Cincinnati Opera’s vibrant history.”
Renewing subscribers will be contacted with purchase information in October, and new subscriptions go on sale in January. Single tickets will be available beginning in Spring 2022.
2022 Summer Festival
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.
Saturday, June 18, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 23, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 25, 7:30 p.m.
Springer Auditorium, Music Hall
The 2022 season sweeps in on a romantic high with one of the most famous love stories ever sung. Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème has captivated audiences for generations with its unforgettable music and its sweetly sentimental tale of young bohemian lovers in Paris. It all begins in a cold apartment on Christmas Eve, where the penniless poet Rodolfo prepares to celebrate with friends on the city’s bustling streets. But with a quiet knock on the door, he meets Mimì, whose single candle has gone out. While searching for a match in the dark, hands touch, sparks fly, and lives change forever. Soprano Talise Trevigne portrays Mimì with tenor Ji-Min Park as Rodolfo. Soprano Raven McMillon sings the role of Musetta, and baritone Rodion Pogossov (Marcello), bass-baritone André Courville (Colline), and baritone Ethan Vincent (Schaunard) appear as Rodolfo’s trio of artistic friends. Mark Gibson, director of orchestral studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, will conduct.
This production features the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, sung in Italian with projected translations.
Music by William Menefield
Libretto by Sheila Williams
Wednesday, July 6, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 8, 7:30 p.m.
Corbett Theater, School for Creative and Performing Arts
With authenticity and sensitivity, “Fierce” tells the stories of four teenage girls struggling with school, family and friendship as each embarks on a transformative journey toward empowerment and self-assurance. A collaboration with WordPlay Cincy, the Music Resource Center- Cincinnati (MRC) and i.imagine – three arts organizations serving Greater Cincinnati youth – “Fierce” was originally slated to debut in summer 2020 and has been rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Northern Kentucky-based novelist Sheila Williams interviewed WordPlay and MRC participants to inspire the opera’s libretto, while Cincinnati native William Menefield employs jazz, modern and classical music styles in the work’s high-energy score. Teenage girls participating in i.imagine’s photography program will partner with Cincinnati Opera to promote the production to their peers. D. Lynn Meyers, producing artistic director of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, makes her Cincinnati Opera debut as Fierce’s stage director and dramaturg. Production design is by Samantha Reno, with lighting design by Thomas C. Hase and wig and makeup design by James Geier.
“Fierce” will feature the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, sung in English with projected titles.
“The Pirates of Penzance“
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Libretto by W.S. Gilbert
Thursday, July 7, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 9, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 10, 3 p.m.
Springer Auditorium, Cincinnati Music Hall
Gilbert and Sullivan’s perfectly preposterous comic operetta “The Pirates of Penzance” sets sail at Music Hall in July 2022. Frederic, an orphan apprenticed to a lively band of pirates, is soon to celebrate his 21st birthday, when he’ll be free to pursue a life and love all his own. The charming Mabel catches his eye, and she’s supremely smitten in return. But the crafty Pirate King finds a loophole in Frederic’s contract, setting the young lovers’ future upon stormy seas. Will Frederic and Mabel steer their way to a happily-ever-after?
Bursting with memorable tunes and rapid-fire laughs, this production features vivid sets and costumes originally created for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis by designer James Schuette. David Agler conducts, with stage direction and choreography by Seán Curran. Zachary James brings a “striking bass voice and a tremendously magnetic presence” (Opera News) to the role of the swashbuckling Pirate King. Tenor Matthew White joins soprano Lauren Snouffer as the lovebirds Frederic and Mabel.
“Pirates of Penzance” will feature the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera Chorus sung in English with projected titles. This production was originally created for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni
Thursday, July 21, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 23, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 29, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 31, 3 p.m.
Springer Auditorium, Music Hall
The 2022 season continues with the grandest of grand operas. As war rages between enemy nations, a forbidden love burns brightly between Radamès, an Egyptian warrior, and Aida, his captive. But Aida’s keeping a secret of her own—she’s the daughter of the Ethiopian king and deeply devoted to her people. Will she betray Radamès to save her nation or risk everything to follow her heart?
From its passionate romance to its thunderous “Triumphal March,” which features a 60-voice chorus, “Aida” is the definition of “epic.” This production evokes the opulence of Ancient Egypt with its “lavish design” (Pittsburgh Theater) by Claude Girard and Bernard Uzan and will be helmed by stage director Crystal Manich with Christopher Allen conducting. Making her company debut in the title role is soprano Mary Elizabeth Williams, and tenor Gregory Kunde as Radamès. Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano and Metropolitan Opera regular, Tichina Vaughn is the imperious Egyptian princess Amneris, while baritone Gordon Hawkins reprises the role. Bass Morris Robinson is Ramfis, with bass Peixin Chen as the King of Egypt and soprano Jennifer Cherest as the High Priestess.
“Aida” will feature the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus and Cincinnati Ballet, sung in Italian with projected translations. Production will be done by Opéra de Montréal, Pittsburgh Opera, and Utah Opera.
“Castor and Patience“
Music by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Tracy K. Smith
Friday, July 22, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 24, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 28, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 30, 7:30 p.m.
Corbett Theater, School for Creative and Performing Arts
Originally commissioned for Cincinnati Opera’s 100th anniversary in 2020 and postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Castor and Patience” receives its much-anticipated world premiere in July 2022. With music by Gregory Spears and an original libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winner and former U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith, the opera centers on two cousins from an African American family who find themselves at odds over the fate of a historic parcel of land they have inherited in the American South. Deeply relevant to ongoing calls for racial justice, Castor and Patience probes historical and continuing obstacles to Black land ownership in the United States.
At the podium is conductor Kazem Abdullah, and Kevin Newbury directs. The new production will be created by Vita Tzykun (scenic design), Jessica Jahn (costume design), Rachel Eliza Griffiths (image design), S. Katy Tucker (projection design), Thomas C. Hase (lighting design) and James Geier (wig and makeup design). A renowned interpreter of contemporary opera, soprano Talise Trevigne is Patience, and baritone Reginald Smith Jr. is Castor. They’re joined by a stellar supporting cast: mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano (Celeste), soprano Victoria Okafor (Willie), baritone Benjamin Taylor (West), tenor Frederick Ballentine (Judah) and soprano Raven McMillon (Ruthie). Mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams, tenor Victor Ryan Robertson and baritone Phillip Bullock make up the opera’s ensemble.
“Castor and Patience” will feature the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, sung in English with projected titles.