MEDIA RELEASE: August 15, 2011
Contact: Ashley Tongret, Communications Manager
(513) 768-5526 or email@example.com
CINCINNATI OPERA CONCLUDES THRILLING 2011 SEASON DISTINGUISHED BY ARTISTIC SUCCESSES AND COMMUNITY IMPACT
Community engagement programming expanded through Opera Goes to Church!TM, insightful education events, and the third annual Opera IdolTM competition.
CINCINNATI, OH—Cincinnati Opera closed its 2011 Summer Festival on July 31 with a performance of Mozart’s charming comedy The Magic Flute that inspired both laughter and a lengthy standing ovation. The company’s 91st season was notable for both artistic successes and an expanded commitment to community engagement.
“It has been a deeply satisfying season on every level,” said Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera. “From the vocal fireworks of Sarah Coburn in Rigoletto, to an innovative collaboration with the video team at Crossroads Church on our new production of A Flowering Tree. We were treated to amazing, world-class singing in Eugene Onegin, and to cap it all off, the humane, joyful triumph of The Magic Flute. It has been a summer for the history books.”
“You can really see how our audience is expanding, as well,” Mirageas continued. “At the opening night of A Flowering Tree, composer John Adams remarked that he had never seen so many young people at the opera. And he’s seen a fair few opera performances.”
The 2011 Summer Festival featured four mainstage productions at Music Hall: Verdi’s Rigoletto (June 16 & 18), John Adams’s A Flowering Tree (June 30 & July 2), Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (July 14 & 16), and Mozart’s The Magic Flute (July 27, 29 & 31). Total attendance for the season’s nine performances was 22,675, slightly below the attendance goal of 24,000. Ticket income was $1.36 million, reaching 90% of the sales goal.
The 2011 Summer Festival attracted audiences from across the United States and beyond, with patrons traveling to Cincinnati from 35 states, the District of Columbia, and four foreign countries. Almost 2,000 student tickets were sold over the course of the season, and 2,880 audience members attended Cincinnati Opera for the first time in 2011.
Despite lower-than-projected ticket sales, fundraising efforts remained strong, and the company continues to carefully manage its resources. The company’s fiscal year ends August 31, 2011, after which final figures will be available.
Expansion of Community Engagement
Cincinnati Opera considerably increased the scope of its community engagement events, and season-related education programming inspired a deeper connection with the audience. Together, these activities reached almost 6,000 people around the region.
“Involvement in the community is one of our guiding principles,” said Mirageas. “We could not have had grand opera in Cincinnati for more than nine decades without the support of our audience and a community that believes in the arts. We want to return the favor by bringing opera to the community, and with luck, we will inspire an appreciation for the arts in the next generation.”
Opera Raps were presented throughout the spring and summer for adult audiences interested in learning more about the season’s operas. Programming focused primarily on Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, which returned to the Music Hall stage this summer after a 27-year absence. Mirageas led a sold-out one-day immersion course, “The Onegin Experience,” to familiarize participants with the story, the opera, and the music of this hauntingly beautiful work. In July, Mirageas was joined by superstar baritone Nathan Gunn at an event hosted by Joseph-Beth Booksellers, where the pair discussed the opera and Gunn’s preparation for his role debut as Onegin before a standing-room-only crowd of 90 people.
For young audiences and families, Cincinnati Opera presented “Opera Redux: The Magic Flute,” an original 50-minute version of Mozart’s beloved opera. This fun, accessible work toured schools throughout the region and was presented at four well-attended public performances in April and May.
Cincinnati Opera presented its third annual Opera IdolTM competition during the 2011 season. On May 7, amateur singers from Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky turned out for open auditions before a panel of professional judges. Through multiple rounds of voting, five finalists were chosen. Videos of the finalists were posted online, and the public was invited to vote for the winner. Olivia Yokers, a 19-year-old soprano from Hamilton, Ohio and a rising sophomore at Indiana University, was named the 2011 winner, receiving a $3,500 prize.
In partnership with Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Cincinnati Opera presented the second annual Back to the Zoo concert on June 1, a free performance for a capacity crowd at the Zoo’s Wings of Wonder Theater. Curtain Up!, a season kick-off party with a Bollywood theme, was held on June 4 with enthusiastic participation by the Opera’s young professionals group, Center Stage, and was completely sold out.
Opera Goes to Church!TM, a free concert series incorporating classical, sacred, gospel, and jazz music, was expanded to three locations in its sixth year: Allen Temple A.M.E. Church in Bond Hill (June 13), St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Montgomery (July 1), and College Hill Presbyterian Church in College Hill (July 19). The concerts were produced in partnership with the host churches and local community groups, and each event played to a full house, with reservations reaching capacity weeks in advance.
The 5th annual Pride Night Celebration, welcoming the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual) community, featured an after-party following the July 16 performance of Eugene Onegin. At this event, the first Friend of Diversity Award was presented to Dabby Blatt, a Cincinnati Opera board member and longtime supporter.
The 21st annual Community Open Dress Rehearsal took place July 25 at the final dress rehearsal of The Magic Flute and provided the opportunity for diverse community groups, families, and children to experience opera for the first time. More than 2,000 people attended this year’s event.
Looking Ahead to the 2012 Season
The 2012 Summer Festival, which will take place June 14 through July 29, 2012, opens with a double bill of Italian one-act operas, pairing the tragic verismo of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci with the comedic charm of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Next, Cincinnati Opera proudly presents its first-ever production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. The season will close with a lavish production of Giuseppe Verdi’s heartbreaking romance La Traviata. All performances will take place at historic Music Hall and feature the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
For additional 2012 season and casting information, please visit www.cincinnatiopera.org.
Cincinnati Opera’s 2011 Season Presenting Sponsor is PNC. The 2011 season is also made possible with support from ArtsWave, Ohio Arts Council, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, and many generous individuals, corporations, and foundations.
Cincinnati Opera presents grand opera every summer at historic Cincinnati Music Hall accompanied by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. All performances feature projected English translations. Evening performances at 7:30 p.m.; matinee performances begin at 3:00 p.m. You’re invited.