Cincinnati Opera Announces 2015 Summer Festival Repertoire and Casting


Cincinnati Opera proudly announces repertoire and casting highlights for the company’s 2015 Summer Festival. The company’s 95th anniversary season will feature four operas, including the world premiere of Morning Star, with music by Ricky Ian Gordon and a libretto by William M. Hoffman, originally announced in April 2014.

The 2015 Summer Festival, which runs from June 18 to July 31, will open with Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Next, Cincinnati Opera proudly presents the world premiere of Morning Star with seven performances in the Corbett Theater at the School for Creative and Performing Arts. The season continues at Music Hall with Gaetano Donizetti’s delightful comedy Don Pasquale, and will close with a stunning new production of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot.

On Sunday, June 7, Cincinnati Opera kicks off the season with Opera in the Park, a magical evening of music in Washington Park, featuring a selection of opera and musical theater favorites performed by stars from the 2015 season, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Cincinnati Opera 2015 Season Repertoire and Casting Highlights

Il Trovatore

Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano

Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Music Hall

Last performed in 1994, Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore, a suspenseful tale of star-crossed love and bitter vengeance, opens the company’s 95th season at Music Hall. Stephen Powell brings his “rich, lyric baritone, commanding presence, and thoughtful musicianship” (Wall Street Journal) to the role of Count di Luna, following a memorable turn in the title role of Rigoletto (2011). “Vibrant” tenor Russell Thomas (Opera News) will enliven the role of Manrico, following recent Cincinnati Opera appearances as the Prince in A Flowering Tree (2011) and Cassio in Otello (2010). Leonora will be sung by soprano Julianna Di Giacomo, whose “bright, elegant tone” was praised by The New York Times. Ferrando is sung by the “sonorous” Morris Robinson (The New York Times), who most recently commanded the Music Hall stage as Ramfis in Aida (2013). Jose Maria Condemireturns to direct following his work on La Traviata in 2012.

Morning Star


Music by Ricky Ian Gordon

Libretto by William M. Hoffman

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 2, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, July 10, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.

Friday, July 17, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.

Corbett Theater, School for Creative and Performing Arts

Cincinnati Opera will present the world premiere of the opera Morning Star, with music by Ricky Ian Gordon and a libretto by William M. Hoffman, at the Corbett Theater at the School for Creative and Performing Arts. Morning Star marks the company’s first world premiere in more than 50 years.

Adapted from Sylvia Regan‘s 1940 play, Morning Star follows the Feldermans, a family of Russian Jewish immigrants in New York City, during the early twentieth century. Their struggles epitomize the immigrant experience as they encounter the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, World War I, the Great Depression, and the Labor Movement. Through their journey, the opera addresses with humor and humanity such issues as political ideology, race, religion, and identity.The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati has provided a lead gift of $50,000 in support of production costs and community programming related to issues explored in the opera.

Soprano Twyla Robinson, whose Cincinnati Opera performances include the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier (2013) and Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (2010), stars as matriarch Becky Felderman. Morgan Smith will bring his “richly textured baritone” (The Wall Street Journal) to the role of Aaron Greenspan, Becky’s lodger and suitor. The interactions of Becky’s three daughters create the major tensions in the story. Sadie, the ambitious eldest daughter, will be sung by mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Pojanowski, who returns to Cincinnati Opera following her 2014 appearance as Mercédès in Carmen. Fanny, the middle daughter who longs to be a singer, will be played by the “bright-voiced” Jennifer Zetlan (The Wall Street Journal). Esther, the naïve youngest daughter, is brought to life by the “distinctive voice” of Elizabeth Zharoff (San Francisco Chronicle). Harry Engel, whose affections inflame sisterly rivalry, will be sung by Andrew Lovato.

The opera will be directed by Ron Daniels, who staged the world premiere of the new American opera Il Postino at Los Angeles Opera in 2010, and conducted by Christopher Allen, associate conductor at Los Angeles Opera.

Don Pasquale

Music by Gaetano Donizetti

Libretto by Giovanni Ruffini

Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 11, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Music Hall

After an absence of almost 20 years, Don Pasquale returns to the Music Hall stage in a charming new production which premiered at Arizona Opera in April 2014. Updating the action to 1950s Hollywood, Don Pasquale is a forgotten silent movie actor who schemes to add color to his life by marrying young Norina, but she proves to have a clever plan of her own.

“Blessed with a deep basso and perfect comic timing” (Cincinnati Enquirer), bass-baritone Burak Bilgili leads the cast as Don Pasquale after appearing as Leporello in Don Giovanni (2013). The object of Pasquale’s amorous attentions, Norina, is sung by soprano Eglise Gutiérrez, whose “beautiful sound” (The New York Times) returns to Music Hall after her company debut as Violetta in La Traviata (2008). Norina’s young lover, Ernesto, will be played by the “powerfully moving” tenor Ji-Min Park in his U.S. debut (Opera News). The cunning Malatesta will be sung by Alexey Lavrov, a recent graduate of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Richard Buckley wields the baton, and Chuck Hudson directs.


Music by Giacomo Puccini

Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni

Saturday, July 25, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, July 31, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Music Hall

The 95th Summer Festival closes with Giacomo Puccini’s soaring Turandot in a stunning new production by the imaginative duo of André Barbe and Renaud Doucet. Cincinnati Opera is a co-producer of the Turandot production with The Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Seattle Opera, and Utah Opera. Leading the cast is soprano Marcy Stonikas, who brings her “big, resonant voice” (Seattle Times) to the icy princess Turandot. With a voice of “lustrous beauty” (The New York Times), tenor Stuart Neill sings the lovestruck hero Calaf. Praised for “a rich sound and elegant lyricism” (The New York Times), rising star Norah Amsellem will portray the tragic Liù, a role she has previously performed at The Metropolitan Opera. The comic trio of court advisors will be sung by baritone Jonathan Beyer as Ping, tenor Julius Ahn as Pang, and tenor Joseph Hu as Pong. Baritone Norman Garrett returns to play the Mandarin following his Cincinnati Opera debut as the Sergeant in La Bohème (2010). Renaud Doucet will reprise his role as stage director and choreographer of the production. Carlo Montanaro will conduct, after leading the orchestra for La Traviata in 2012.

Cincinnati Opera 2015 Summer Festival

June 18-July 31

Il Trovatore

June 18 & 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Morning Star

June 30 and July 2, 8, 10 & 17 at 7:30 p.m.

July 12 & 19 at 3:00 p.m.

Don Pasquale

July 9 & 10 at 7:30 p.m.


July 25, 29 & 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Evening performances take place at 7:30 p.m., with matinee performances at 3:00 p.m. All performances feature the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera, presents a free Opera Insights lecture one hour prior to each performance.

Cincinnati Opera subscription renewals will be available in the fall. New subscriptions will go on sale in winter 2014-15, with single tickets on sale in spring 2015. For additional information, please visit or contact the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at (513) 241-2742.

Cincinnati Opera’s 2015 Summer Festival runs June 18 through July 31, featuring Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore, the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and William M. Hoffman’s Morning Star, Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, and Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot. The season will open with Opera in the Park, a free community concert in Washington Park, on June 7. Cincinnati Opera’s 2015 season is made possible with support from ArtsWave, Ohio Arts Council, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, and many generous individuals, corporations, and foundations.