Culture FIX: June 21-27

It ain’t summer until the crazy lady sings, at least that’s the case this year. Cincinnati Opera opens with works from 1835 (complete with “mad scene”) and 2021 this week, along with the debut of a new piano competition and the return of a newish chamber festival, while the 2022-23 theater season finally comes to a close. Happy summer!


Wednesday, June 21

Art of the PIano, Nina Simone Piano Competition | 7-10 p.m. Werner Recital Hall, UC College-Conservatory of Music. DETAILS: Named for the famed jazz singer, who was equally gifted as a pianist, this new biennial competition for Black American pianists was founded by Awadagin Pratt in collaboration with the Art of the Piano Festival, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and made possible by a generous grant from the Sphinx Organization. The competition aims to place more African American artists on concert stages, to commission new works, and to add more African American pianistic voices to the classical canon. This first session features Round One of the Artists Division. Admission is free, but registration is required. Round One continues through June 24.


We Create Jazz

Jazz Alive, Jazz in the Camp | 6:30 p.m. American Sign Museum | 1330 Monmouth Ave., Camp Washington. 513-280-8181. DETAILS: This jazz series has always been cool, but now is always dry, taking place indoors among the signs these Wednesdays. The We Create Jazz Ensemble featured this week is made up of young women eager to share their significant chops for all to hear.


Learning Through Art, Kids, Cultures, Critters and Crafts Festival | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Cincinnati Zoo, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. 513-281-4700. DETAILS: This beloved summer institution returns packed with fun activities that celebrate the art, culture, food and fashion of eight global destinations. A wonderful opportunity for everyone to experience our award-winning zoo, admission is $10 for adults (13-up), $5 for children (4 -12). For families with EBT/SNAP cards, the price of reduced admission is $6 for adults (13-up), $3 for children (4-12). All children age 3 and under may enter at no charge.

Thursday, June 22

Behringer-Crawford Museum, Music@BCM | 7-9 p.m. Devoe Park, Covington. 859-491-4003. DETAILS: This is the first – and more-likely-available – of two local performances by outstanding jazz vocalist Nicole Zuraitis, who will also appear at Caffe Vivace in Walnut Hills Friday evening. While you’re at B-C Museum, check out the “Dancing with Nature” photography exhibit of works by Kira MacNeil, or return for her artist reception on Saturday, 2-4 p.m.


CCM grad Raven McMillon sings the title role in “Lucia di Lammermoor.”
(Photo by Lynn Lane)

Cincinnati Opera Summer Season | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-241-2742. DETAILS: Opera season finally arrives in Cincinnati with the first of two bel canto era classics being staged this summer. Gaetano Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” (1835) is actually set in Scotland amidst a particularly nasty family feud. (Things don’t end well.) Don’t know “Lucia,” you say? You’ll recognize Lucia’s famous “mad scene” if you’ve ever seen the movie “The Fifth Element.” Bel canto style returns next month in the form of Rossini’s comic “The Barber of Seville.” Repeats Saturday evening.

If you prefer something contemporary, “The Knock” – with music by by Aleksandra Vrebalov and libretto by Deborah Brevoort – receives it’s staged world premiere on Friday evening in Wilks Studio at Music Hall, with five more performances through July 7. Get your tickets soon, as the first three performances have already been sold out and one was added to meet demand. More about “The Knock” here, c/o our David Lyman. July 5 and two performances on July 7 have ticket availability as of this writing.

Friday, June 23

The Galvin Cello Quartet

Ascent Music, Cello Virtuosity | 7:30 p.m. Patricia Corbett Theater, UC College-Conservatory of Music. DETAILS: The prize-winning Galvin Cello Quartet – whose members are from China, Brazil, South Korea and the United States – makes its Cincinnati debut at a busy CCM as a part of the ongoing Ascent chamber music festival. The program ranges from Bach and Mozart to Gershwin and Piazzolla. Not many active cello quartets operate at this level; definitely worth a listen. The Ascent festival continues Sunday evening in Corbett Auditorium with an appearance by revered violinist Cho-Liang Lin.


Pablo Picasso, “Café in Royan,” 1940
oil and ripolin on canvas, 38 3/16″ x 51 3/16″

Cincinnati Art Museum, “Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds” | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 953 Eden Park Dr., Eden Park. 513-721-2787. DETAILS: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), regarded by many as the most innovative and influential artist of the 20th century. The CAM is celebrating his legacy with the first exhibition to examine Picasso’s lifelong engagement with landscape. The exhibit is intended to trace the elemental role of place, environment and interface between humanity and the natural world in Picasso’s art. On display until Oct. 15.


Cincinnati Music Theatre, “Musicals She Wrote: Celebrating Women Songwriters” | 7:30 p.m. Fifth Third Theater, Aronoff Center, downtown. 513-621-2787. DETAILS: This revue will trace the history of women writing music or lyrics from the early days of operetta and musical comedy through the Golden Age, the Post-Golden Age and today. Five more performances through July 1.


Save Our Souls Art, SOS Art 2023 | 6-9 p.m. Art Academy of Cincinnati, Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: SOS founder and curator Saad Ghosn encourages and showcases art and artful words that express universal themes of peace and justice. This annual exhibit continues through July 16.


Village Players, “Relatable and Inflatable (The Beachball Chronicles)” | 8 p.m. 8 N. Ft. Thomas Ave., Ft. Thomas. 859-392-0500. DETAILS: The annual festival of new works by this six-decade old company spotlights six new plays by local authors: Teri Foltz (2 plays), Roger Collins, Bill Brohaugh and Lisa Holt, Rose Vanden Eynden, and A.K. Forbes. Repeats Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Saturday, June 24

Harriet Beecher Stowe House, Semi Colon Club | 10:30 a.m. Walnut Hills Branch Library or virtual. 513-751-0651. DETAILS: Jeff Aupperle’s “The Light of Knowledge: How James Bradley and the Lane Rebels forever changed American higher education” details an example of how integral Cincinnati was within the 19th-century pre-Civil War slavery debate. A group called the Lane Rebels left the local Lane Theological Seminary in 1834 and re-located to Oberlin College. The reasons for the separation were strong disagreements over the role of Christianity regarding abolition. Lyman Beecher, father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was then president of Lane Seminary. Attend the discussion in person or participate via Zoom.


Price Hill Will, Price Hill Music Festival | 4:30-9 p.m. ARCO, 3301 Price Ave., East Price Hill. 513-251-3800. DETAILS: Organizers have chosen to focus this former arts festival to a concentration on music, which is the everyday business of MYCincinnati, the centerpiece, after-school orchestral program of Price Hill Will. Ten ensembles are slated to perform with 60 professional musicians, including Queen City Opera and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

Sunday, June 25

“Let it Be New” composers for 2023

Cincinnati Song Initiative, “Let it Be New” | 4 p.m. Virtual. DETAILS: According to our Ray Cooklis, “The area’s only professional organization fully dedicated to art-song performance, CSI wrapped up its seventh season of live concerts in May, but has an intriguing online-only streaming encore available in June and July.” This program, now in its third year, presents world premieres of 10 songs it commissioned as part of the 2022-23 National Association of Teachers of Singing composer mentorship program. Available to stream free until July 30, and the 2022 program is also available to watch.


Playhouse in the Park, season-ending performances | 2 p.m. 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mt. Adams. 513-421-3888. DETAILS: The Playhouse season comes to a close with both current productions finishing their runs today – “Origin Story” in the Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre and the classic Western, “Shane,” re-imagined in the Rouse Theatre. Check out next season.

Monday, June 26

Matt Tolentino

Washington Park, Jazz at the Park | 6-9 p.m. Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: Multi-instrumentalist Matt Tolentino is equally at home on accordion, clarinet, tuba, piano, tenor guitar, banjo and saxophones. Expect a nostalgic turn, as Tolentino’s specialty is early forms of jazz.

Tuesday, June 27

Taylor Nelson

Fountain Square, Jazz at the Square | 5 p.m. Downtown. 513-621-4400. DETAILS: This Tuesday series, curated by the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, features tributes to jazz legends. This week, University of Dayton faculty member, guitarist Taylor Nelson, brings her attention to the music of Pat Metheny.


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