SAVE THE DATES: Cincinnati Opera announces big plans for 2021 Summer Festival

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, former Poet Laureate of the United States, is the librettist of Cincinnati Opera's world premiere of "Castor and Patience," slated July 9-18, 2021. CONTRIBUTED



Cincinnati Opera canceled its 100th anniversary season this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the organization is pressing forward with details of its 2021 Summer Festival slated June 13-July 25.

Two world premieres, three familiar classics and a free concert in Washington Park will be presented. The season consists of:

  • Opera in the Park (June 13 at Washington Park)
  • Gioachino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” (June 16 and 18 at Music Hall)
  • Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” (July 1, 8, 10 and 11 at Music Hall)
  • The world premiere of Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith’s “Castor and Patience” (July 9, 13, 15, 17 and 18 at Corbett Theater)
  • The world premiere of William Menefield and Sheila Williams' “Fierce” (July 14, 16, 18, 21, and 23 at Mayerson Theater)
  • Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” (July 22, 24 and 25 at Music Hall)

World Premieres

“Castor and Patience” tells the story of 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. A relevant tale considering ongoing pleas for racial justice across the country, the opera pinpoints historical and continuing obstacles to Black land ownership in the United States. Gregory Spears notably composed Cincinnati Opera’s acclaimed 2016 commission “Fellow Travelers.” Tracy K. Smith served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2017 to 2019 and also received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

“Fierce,” a collaboration with WordPlay Cincy, The Music Resource Center – Cincinnati, and i.imagine, is an empowering tale of four teenage girls who face struggles with school, family and friendship. Interviews with WordPlay and MRC participants inspired the opera’s libretto by novelist Sheila Williams. William Menefield is a Cincinnati native. “Fierce” will be helmed by D. Lynn Meyers, producing artistic director of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, who will make her Cincinnati Opera debut as stage director and dramaturg.

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“We realize that planning to produce a full opera season in these uncertain times can seem audacious,” said Evans Mirageas, Cincinnati Opera Artistic Director. “But as long as there is a chance that conditions allow us to inspire our community through live opera performances again, that will be our goal. We look to the future with optimism and embrace the same bold vision we have always had. That said, our plans are necessarily contingent on conditions that will allow us to ensure a safe experience for all. If we conclude we cannot, we’ll be prepared to adjust our programming and will communicate broadly with our patrons about their options.”

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