Cincinnati Opera and CCM announce details of next Opera Fusion: New Works workshops

Two new operas will receive workshops this April and May

Two new operas—Robeson by Scott Davenport Richards and David Cote and The Righteous by Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith—will receive workshops this spring, and the public is invited to attend a sneak peek.

Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) are pleased to announce the next events in their joint program, Opera Fusion: New Works.

Opera Fusion: New Works (OF:NW) is a creative partnership between CCM and Cincinnati Opera that fosters the development of new operatic works. Through OF:NW, composers and librettists are given a 10-day workshop to hone their operas-in-progress and further prepare them for the opera stage. Each workshop ends with a public performance of excerpts from the featured work.

'Robeson' Creative Team

This April 4–13, OF:NW will mount a second workshop for the new opera, Robeson, featuring music by Scott Davenport Richards and a libretto by Richards and David Cote, with CCM Professor and Co-Director of Opera Fusion: New Works Robin Guarino as dramaturg and stage director. The work received an initial workshop last May through OF:NW.

A portrait of Scott Davenport Richards, composer and co-librettist

Scott Davenport Richards, composer and co-librettist

A portrait of David Cote, co-librettist

David Cote, co-librettist

A portrait of Robin Guarino, stage director and dramaturg

Robin Guarino, stage director and dramaturg

From the creative team behind Cincinnati Opera’s critically acclaimed 2019 world premiere, Blind Injustice, Robeson is an epic and inspiring biographical examination of Black singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson (1898–1976). A global superstar, Robeson leveraged his fame to fight on the frontlines for equality. His heroic and uncompromising efforts against fascism and racism worldwide led Robeson to be entangled in the tragic power struggle between the two superpowers of the twentieth century—the United States and the USSR—with his own life and career hanging in the balance. Inspired by historical events, Robeson also resonates with today’s ongoing fights for social justice. The public performance of excerpts from Robeson will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, 2023, at Music Hall’s Wilks Studio.

'The Righteous' Creative Team

From May 5–15, OF:NW will host a workshop for The Righteous, the newest opera from composer Gregory Spears and librettist Tracy K. Smith, the creative team behind Cincinnati Opera’s celebrated 2022 world premiere, Castor and Patience. Kevin Newbury (Castor and Patience, Fellow Travelers) will serve as stage director and dramaturg.

A portrait of Gregory Spears, composer

Gregory Spears, composer

A portrait of Tracy K. Smith, librettist

Tracy K. Smith, librettist

A portrait of Kevin Newbury, stage director and dramaturg

Kevin Newbury, stage director and dramaturg

Commissioned by Santa Fe Opera and slated for a summer 2024 world premiere, The Righteous follows a preacher and leader of a growing church in the 1980s American Southwest, who finds himself caught up in the confluence of religion and politics. Slowly his connection to God is weakened as he becomes drawn to public office alongside contemporary events including the rise of feminism, the war on drugs, conflict in the Middle East and the AIDS epidemic. Along the way, those closest to him grapple with their own understanding of faith and truth. The Righteous explores the timeless struggle to reconcile spiritual humility with ambition in our modern world. The public performance of excerpts from The Righteous will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 15, 2023, at CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater.

How To Reserve Tickets

Admission to the public performances is free, and reservations are required. Reservations are available through the Cincinnati Opera Box Office by calling 513-241-2742 or visiting cincinnatiopera.org.


Calendar Information

Opera Fusion: New Works presents Robeson
Music by Scott Davenport Richards 
Libretto by David Cote and Scott Davenport Richards
Dramaturgy and stage direction by Robin Guarino 

When: 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 13
What: A performance of excerpts from the new opera-in-progress,
Robeson
Where: Music Hall’s Wilks Studio, 1241 Elm Street, Cincinnati
Admission: Free; reservations are required. Reservations are available by calling 513-241-2742 or visiting cincinnatiopera.org

Opera Fusion: New Works presents The Righteous
Music by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Tracy K. Smith
Dramaturgy and stage direction by Kevin Newbury

When: 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 15
What: A performance of excerpts from the new opera-in-progress,
The Righteous.
Where: Cohen Family Studio Theater, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 290 CCM Boulevard Cincinnati, OH 45221
Admission: Free; reservations are required. Reservations are available by calling 513-241-2742 or visiting cincinnatiopera.org.


About Opera Fusion: New Works

Funded through a generous gift from the Mellon Foundation, Opera Fusion: New Works (OF:NW) is a partnership between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) dedicated to fostering the development of new American operas. This collaboration is jointly led by Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera, and Robin Guarino, Professor of Opera at CCM. OF:NW offers composers or composer/librettist teams the opportunity to workshop an opera during a residency in Cincinnati. Residencies utilize the facilities, personnel and talent of both Cincinnati Opera and CCM. The workshops are cast with a combination of CCM students and professional artists, and each workshop concludes with a free public presentation of excerpts followed by an audience Q&A session, all of which is streamed online. For more information, visit ofnw.org.

About Cincinnati Opera

Cincinnati Opera’s mission is to enrich and connect our community through diverse opera experiences. Founded in 1920 and the second-oldest opera company in the nation, Cincinnati Opera presents a thrilling season of grand opera every summer and engaging programs throughout the year. The company’s repertoire includes beloved classics and contemporary masterworks brought to life by some of the world’s most dynamic performers and creative artists.

Season Presenting Sponsor for Cincinnati Opera’s 2023 Summer Festival is Chavez Properties. Cincinnati Opera is supported by the generosity of tens of thousands of contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign. Cincinnati Opera also receives general season support from the Ohio Arts Council, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, Patricia A. Corbett Estate and Trust, and the Harry T. Wilks Family Foundation, along with general season and project support from many other generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. Cincinnati Opera is a proud member of OPERA America. To learn more, visit cincinnatiopera.org.

About CCM

Nationally ranked and internationally renowned, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts. The school’s educational roots date back to 1867, and a solid, visionary instruction has been at its core since that time. CCM offers nine degree types (BA, BM, BFA, MFA, MM, MA, AD, DMA, PhD) in nearly 120 possible majors, along with a wide variety of pre-collegiate and post-graduate programs.

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. Several national opera companies hold auditions at the conservatory, and CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. 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. To learn more, visit ccm.uc.edu.

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Featured image at the top: The logo for Cincinnati Opera and CCM's Opera Fusion: New Works partnership.

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