Cincinnati Opera presents 2021 Summer Festival



‘Carmen,’ ‘Tosca,’ ‘Barber of Seville’ to be held outdoors at Summit Park

Cincinnati Opera will present its 2021 Summer Festival July 11-31 at Summit Park in Blue Ash featuring internationally renowned artists, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.



Last year’s season, the organization’s 100th anniversary season, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers hope audience interest increases this season not only due to box office-friendly programming but a safer transition to an all-outdoor format.

In fact, Summit Park was chosen because of its success with hosting large-scale productions as well as its capacity to accommodate a socially distanced audience. During Cincinnati Opera performances, audience members will be able to sit together in socially distanced “pods” on the Great Lawn, and performances will be presented from an expansive stage constructed at the base of the park’s Observation Tower.

The organization will produce three beloved opera favorites: “Carmen,” “Tosca” and “The Barber of Seville.” Each opera will be presented without intermission in a reduced, 90-minute version that will be partially staged with costumes, theatrical hair and makeup, and lighting. “Opera in the Park,” Cincinnati Opera’s season-opening celebration concert, also moves to Summit Park and launches the 2021 Summer Festival.

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“Audience members can be assured that our Summer at Summit will have all of the hallmarks they’ve come to love about Cincinnati Opera – glorious singing, inspiring storytelling, and the chance to be swept away by the magic of live performance,” said Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera, in a release.

In addition, the previously announced world premieres of William Menefield and Sheila Williams’ “Fierce” and Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith’s “Castor and Patience,” originally planned for summer 2020 and rescheduled for summer 2021, have been postponed once more. “Fierce” is currently slated to receive its world premiere in fall 2021, and “Castor and Patience” will receive its world premiere in summer 2022.

“Given the intimate scale of both ‘Fierce’ and ‘Castor and Patience,’ their optimum performance environment is an indoor theater,” Mirageas said. “The stories that both operas tell are compelling and important for our time. We look forward to giving these new works the premieres they so richly deserve in the very near future.”

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Tickets for Cincinnati Opera’s 2021 Summer Festival start at $15. For tickets or additional information, visit For more information about Summit Park, visit

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Cincinnati Opera’s 2021 Summer Festival: Summer at Summit

Opera in the Park

Sunday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m.

A free, family-friendly outdoor concert showcasing favorite selections from opera and musical theater performed by stars from the 2021 Summer Festival, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.


Music by Georges Bizet

Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy

Sung in French with projected translation

Saturday, July 17, Thursday, July 22, Monday, July 26 and Friday, July 30 at 8:30 p.m.

Acclaimed mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges makes her Cincinnati Opera debut as Carmen, the quintessential femme fatale who attracts the attention of the obsessive Don José (tenor Stephen Costello). The score includes the sultry “Habanera” and rousing “Toreador Song.”


Music by Giacomo Puccini

Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica

Sung in Italian with projected translation

Friday, July 23, Tuesday, July 27 and Saturday, July 31 at 8:30 p.m.

In Rome, during a time of political upheaval, opera diva Floria Tosca (Ana María Martinez) madly adores painter Mario Cavaradossi (tenor Russell Thomas). When Mario becomes caught up in a crime and condemned to death, dastardly police chief Scarpia (baritone Quinn Kelsey) insists only one thing can save him: Tosca herself. Martinez, a Grammy Award-winning soprano, makes her Cincinnati Opera debut as Tosca.

The Barber of Seville

Music by Gioachino Rossini

Libretto by Cesare Sterbini

Sung in Italian with projected translation

Saturday, July 24 and Thursday, July 29 at 8:30 p.m.

In this whimsical, witty comedy, Figaro, the titular barber, is asked by the lovelorn Count Almaviva (Aaron Blake) to win the heart of the clever Rosina (mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb). Baritone Chris Kenney, a recent alum of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s prestigious Ryan Opera Center Ensemble, makes his company debut as Figaro.

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