This fall, Cincinnati Opera’s Opera Outbound embarks on a new long-term initiative, “The Essentials,” that will introduce six important opera masterpieces to students in grades 7-12 and the community over the course of six years. Each year, Cincinnati Opera will produce a fun and educational 45-minute touring program on one of the great works of opera, in which audiences will learn about the composer, the characters, and the story, and hear brilliant music performed by professional singers.
The series will begin with Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in 2015, followed by Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in 2016, Verdi’s La Traviata in 2017, Bizet’s Carmen in 2018, Puccini’s La Bohèmein 2019, and will close with Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in 2020. These masterpieces of opera will be presented chronologically in the order that they were created, which allows the series to provide an overview of the development of opera from the Classical period to the 20th century. Ideally, a student who follows the cycle beginning in the seventh grade will see all six of the great works by the time they graduate. The program aims to reach 50,000 middle and high school students during the six-year series.
“For decades, Cincinnati Opera has been dedicated to introducing young people to our art form. With ‘The Essentials,’ we are making a long-term commitment to bring the best works of opera to our community in an accessible, impactful way,” said Patricia K. Beggs, The Harry Fath General Director and CEO of Cincinnati Opera.
“It is our hope that when students who have experienced ‘The Essentials’ head off to college, they will have an interest in and familiarity with the art form, so they won’t be shy about seeing a full-fledged opera on the stage, whether it’s with us in Cincinnati or at the Metropolitan Opera in New York,” said Opera Outbound Manager Kemper Florin.
Participating schools and community centers will receive a pre-performance study guide, and the singers will engage with students in a talk-back following each performance.
The opening opera of the series, The Marriage of Figaro, will tour Greater Cincinnati from October 10 through 24, 2015. Written by Brian Robertson and directed by Marcus Shields, a graduate student in the directing program at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the cast will include singers Erin Keesy, Tyler Alessi, Jasmine Habersham, and Adria Caffaro. Public performances will be announced at a later date. The touring production is sponsored by The Daniel and Susan Pfau Foundation.