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July 17 Opera Rap event offers first look at 'Blind Injustice' opera

Meet two of the exonerees featured in the sold-out opera, listen to excerpts from the production and hear from the creative team behind the innovative opera

When Marcus Küchle, the Cincinnati Opera’s former director of artistic operations and new work development, first brainstormed the idea of an opera centered on the stories of men and women exonerated by the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, he knew the idea was a novel one.

“It’s audacious because it was fairly untested that we could pull this off,” said Küchle, who oversaw the opera’s development before stepping down from his post in December 2018 to accept a top position at the Tyrolean Festival in Erl, Austria.

And yet, when tickets for “Blind Injustice,” which debuts July 22-27 at Cincinnati Music Hall’s Wilks Studio, went on sale earlier this year, they quickly sold out.

A collaboration between the OIP, Cincinnati Opera, the Young Professionals Choral Collective (YPCC) and the UC College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) opera department, the production is based on casework by the OIP and the book “Blind Injustice” by UC law professor and OIP Director Mark Godsey, as well as interviews with the six exonerees. The production features a small cast, chorus composed of YPCC members and a 12-piece orchestra.

For those unable to snag tickets to the performance, here’s another chance to experience it: An Opera Rap will take place 7-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 17, at Allen Temple, 7080 Reading Road, Bond Hill.

The evening features two of the six exonerees from the opera, Nancy Smith and Rickey Jackson. Opera cast members will sing excerpts from the production, and members of the creative team — librettist David Cote, composer Scott Davenport Richards, stage director and dramaturg Robin Guarino and OIP director Godsey — will discuss the work with Cincinnati Opera Artistic Director Evans Mirageas.

“Because the opera sold out so quickly, we wanted others to experience it. It will be a great show with the added benefit of a behind-the-scenes look from the artistic team, composer, director and the exonerees,” said Godsey.

Admission is free, but tickets are required and available online at or by calling the Cincinnati Opera box office at 513-241-2742.