Onstage: Great Scott

His latest project, Great Scott, is being intensively workshopped as part of Opera Fusion: New Works, a collaboration between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of

Jake Heggie is one busy composer — a rarity in itself. That he’s a busy —and successful — opera composer is even more noteworthy. His latest project, Great Scott, is being intensively workshopped as part of Opera Fusion: New Works, a collaboration between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. 


Heggie’s librettist is renowned playwright and Tony Award-winner Terrence McNally. Great Scott marks their first major work together since Dead Man Walking, which premiered in 2000 and has since become a classic with more than 40 productions throughout the world. 

Great Scott is Arden Scott, a famous opera diva, returning to her hometown to help save the struggling local opera company by appearing in a long-lost bel canto opera. Trouble is, the performance is scheduled on the same day as the Super Bowl — and the hometown team is playing in it. Lest you think that could never happen, opera companies often schedule as much as five years in advance. As for the Super Bowl, anyone with that kind of foresight belongs on betus.com. McNally sees the story as an exploration of America’s obsession with pro football and the often precarious state of the performing arts. 

Heggie and McNally were commissioned to do the work by Dallas Opera in 2012 and the opera premieres next October. 

Great Scott’s public reading takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Hall. Admission is free but reservations are required: 513-241-2742.

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