Nationally recognized partnership between CCM and Cincinnati Opera receives new grant funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The groundbreaking Opera Fusion: New Works program supports the development of new operas

Cincinnati Opera recently announced that it was awarded a $1.3 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In addition to providing key financial support for a new artistic initiative by Cincinnati Opera to commission operas that celebrate Black stories, the gift will also fund the continuation of Opera Fusion: New Works, the groundbreaking workshop program from Cincinnati Opera and CCM that supports the development of new operas.

Under the Opera Fusion: New Works program, composers and librettists come together with Cincinnati Opera and CCM administrators, musicians, and artistic and production personnel to workshop their operas in progress. Since 2011, the program has produced workshops for 19 operas, and many of these works have subsequently received their world premieres on professional stages across the U.S., including Cincinnati Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Minnesota Opera. The program is co-directed by Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera, and CCM Professor Robin Guarino.

Through [Cincinnati Opera and CCM's] unique partnership along with the Mellon Foundation’s support, Cincinnati has become fertile ground for the development of new opera

Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera

The current gift from the Mellon Foundation provides support for Opera Fusion: New Works through 2024, with the next workshop taking place in May 2022: Robeson/Moscow, a new opera about the life and work of artist and activist Paul Robeson from composer Scott Davenport Richards and librettist David Cote, the creators of Cincinnati Opera’s 2019 world-premiere opera Blind Injustice. Guarino will serve as dramaturg and stage director.

“Although CCM’s ties to Cincinnati Opera date back more than a century, ours is a partnership that is truly defined by the exploration of ‘what’s next’,” said Stanley E. Romanstein, the Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music and Dean at CCM. “Thanks to the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CCM and Cincinnati Opera continue to take a leading role in our respective industries through Opera Fusion: New Works. This initiative’s emphasis on the creation of new operas allows us to tell bold stories from diverse perspectives and explore themes that are vitally important to contemporary audiences, while also allowing CCM students, faculty, and staff to play an active role in the evolution of the art form. We are proud to continue this important work, and we could not ask for better partners than Cincinnati Opera and the Mellon Foundation.”

“CCM is an extraordinary cultural asset, and we are fortunate to have such an outstanding conservatory as our collaborator,” said Mirageas. “Through our unique partnership along with the Mellon Foundation’s support, Cincinnati has become fertile ground for the development of new opera. We can’t wait to see where this next chapter leads.”

About CCM Opera/Voice

Declared a top college vocal program by Backstage Magazine and described as “one of the continent’s major music schools,” by the Toronto Star, CCM’s Departments of Opera and Voice provide one of the most comprehensive training programs for opera singers, coaches and directors in the United States. CCM offers an international faculty of dedicated educators who are also celebrated professionals in their own right, widely and currently active in their respective fields.

CCM sends its students out into the profession. Several national opera companies now hold auditions at the conservatory, and the Opera Department also hosts a series of informational talks by nationally renowned professionals working both in America and in Europe. CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and CCM graduates have performed on the stages of the world’s greatest opera companies, including Cincinnati Opera, the Metropolitan Opera (New York), Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera (London), La Scala (Italy), and more.

Featured image at the top: A scene from the 2019 Opera Fusion: New Works workshop of Castor and Patience. Image/Cincinnati Opera.

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