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Repertoire, Casting Announced for 2015 Cincinnati Opera Summer Festival

Mary Ellyn Hutton
Posted: Sep 25, 2014 - 3:02:12 PM in news_2014

Cincinnati Opera has announced repertoire and casting for its 2015 summer festival.

The season boasts a world premiere, “Morning Star” by Ricky Ian Gordon. Announced in April, it will be the Opera’s first main stage world premiere since 1929. There will be seven performances, June 30, July 2, 8, 10, 12, 17 and 19, all in Corbett Theater at the School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Cincinnati Opera will kick off the season June 7 in Washington Park with Opera in the Park, an evening of opera and musical theater favorites performed by stars of the season, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The festival proper will open with Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” June 18 and 20 at Music Hall. Also on the boards are “Don Pasquale” by Donizetti, July 9 and 11, and “Turandot” by Puccini, July 25, 29 and 31, also at Music Hall. The CSO, official orchestra for Cincinnati Opera, performs for all productions.

With a libretto by William M. Hoffman, “Morning Star” is based on the 1940 play by Sylvia Regan about a family of Russian Jewish immigrants in New York City during the early 20th century. Their experiences encompass the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, World War I, the Great Depression and the labor movement.

Starring as the matriarch Becky Felderman will be soprano Twyla Robinson. Becky’s lodger and suitor Aaron Greenspan will be sung by baritone Morgan Smith, Becky’s daughters Sadie, Fanny and Esther, by mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Pojanowski, soprano Jennifer Zetlan and soprano Elizabeth Zharoff, respectively. Baritone Andrew Lovato will sing Harry Engel, target of the daughters’ affections. Ron Daniels, who staged the world premiere of Daniel Catan’s “Il Postino” at Los Angeles Opera in 2010, will direct. Christopher Allen, associate conductor of Los Angeles Opera, will conduct.

Not heard at Cincinnati Opera since 1994, “Il Trovatore” will feature soprano Julianna Di Giacomo as Leonora, tenor Russell Thomas as Manrico, baritone Stephen Powell as Count di Luna and bass Morris Robinson as Ferrando. Jose Maria Condemi will direct.

“Don Pasquale” – also returning to Cincinnati Opera after a long absence – will feature bass-baritone Burak Bilgili in the title role. Singing Norina will be soprano Eglise Gutiérrez, with tenor Ji-Min Park in his U.S. debut, and baritone Alexey Lavrov as Malatesta. The opera will be directed by Chuck Hudson. Richard Buckley will conduct.

The Opera’s 95th summer festival will close with “Turandot” in a new production by André Barbe and Renaud Doucet, co-produced by Cincinnati Opera, Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Seattle Opera and Utah Opera. Heading the cast as Princess Turandot, will be soprano Marcy Stonikas. Tenor Stuart Neill will sing Calaf. Soprano Norah Amsellem will sing Liu, with baritone Jonathan Beyer as Ping, tenor Julius Ahn as Pang, tenor Joseph Hu as Pong and baritone Norman Garrett as the Mandarin. Stage director/choreographer will be Renaud Doucet. Carlo Montanaro will conduct.

All evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., matinees at 3 p.m. Cincinnati Opera artistic director Evans Mirageas presents a free lecture one hour prior to each performance.

Renewals will go out to Cincinnati Opera subscribers this fall. New subscriptions will be available in the winter, with single tickets on sale in the spring.

For further information, visit the Opera’s web site at www.cincinnatiopera.org, or call the Cincinnati Opera box office at (513) 241-2742.