For the first time in its 100-year history, Cincinnati Opera is presenting a free winter festival, an all-digital series of three productions for audiences of all ages.
The series provides insights into this unique art form through song and theater, featuring vocalists, instrumentalists and actors who are part of the Cincinnati Opera company and the local arts community.
The three-part series begins on Feb. 5 with a new performance every two weeks, concluding on March 5 with livestreams available for repeated viewing.
Opera….From a Sistah’s Point of View opens the festival with an adaptation of internationally acclaimed dramatic soprano Angela Brown’s popular show. An engaging performer who makes deft use of humor, storytelling, opera arias, art songs and spirituals to challenge opera’s stereotypes, Brown tackles everything from plotlines and characters to stories of Black singers’ contributions to American opera. Brown is joined by mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter, tenor Jamez McCorkle, soprano Victoria Okafor, and baritone Reginald Smith, Jr., and CCM professor of opera Marie-France Lefebvre at the piano. The presentation is in partnership with Opera Birmingham.
After Aida follows on Feb. 19, a collaboration with Ensemble Theater Cincinnati. Giuseppe Verdi claimed to be retired after scoring a huge success with his opera Aida in 1879. But his wife, publisher and others knew his composing career was far from over. Julian Mitchell’s 1985 play explores how Verdi was coaxed into working with librettist Arrigo Boito to create his acknowledged masterpiece, Otello. The great Bruce Cromer portrays Verdi in this reading directed by ETC artistic director Lynn Meyers.
Wanderlust concludes the festival on March 5, acknowledging our collective yearning to travel beyond pandemic limitations. The musical travelogue features soprano Talise Trevigne who portrayed Bess in Cincinnati Opera’s 2019 Porgy and Bess, CSO music director Louis Langrée, conductor William R. Langley, and the innovative ensemble concert:nova. Trevigne sings three Debussy art songs accompanied by Maestro Langrée and is joined by concert:nova for the Cincinnati premiere of a small-ensemble arrangement of Ravel’s Shéhérazade. concert:nova also Debussy’s sensual Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and is presented in partnership with IATSE Local 5.
All programs begin at 7:30 p.m. and are available for livestreaming through March 21. Performances are free and require registration. Visit cincinnatiopera.org for more information.