Cincinnati Opera and CCM to Workshop Two Operas-in-Progress This Spring

The two new operas—Robeson by Scott Davenport Richards and David Cote and The Righteous by Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith—will receive workshops this April and May.

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Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) have announced the next events in their joint program, Opera Fusion: New Works.

Opera Fusion: New Works (OF:NW) is a creative partnership between CCM and Cincinnati Opera that fosters the development of new operatic works. Through OF:NW, composers and librettists are given a 10-day workshop to hone their operas-in-progress and further prepare them for the opera stage. Each workshop ends with a public performance of excerpts from the featured work.

This April 4-13, OF:NW will mount a second workshop for the new opera, Robeson, featuring music by Scott Davenport Richards and a libretto by Richards and David Cote, with CCM Professor and Co-Director of Opera Fusion: New Works Robin Guarino as dramaturg and stage director. The work received an initial workshop last May through OF:NW.

From the creative team behind Cincinnati Opera's critically acclaimed 2019 world premiere, Blind Injustice, Robeson is an epic and inspiring biographical examination of Black singer, actor, and activist Paul Robeson (1898-1976). A global superstar, Robeson leveraged his fame to fight on the frontlines for equality. His heroic and uncompromising efforts against fascism and racism worldwide led Robeson to be entangled in the tragic power struggle between the two superpowers of the twentieth century-the United States and the USSR-with his own life and career hanging in the balance. Inspired by historical events, Robeson also resonates with today's ongoing fights for social justice. The public performance of excerpts from Robeson will take place on Thursday, April 13, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. at Music Hall's Wilks Studio.

From May 5-15, OF:NW will host a workshop for The Righteous, the newest opera from composer Gregory Spears and librettist Tracy K. Smith, the creative team behind Cincinnati Opera's celebrated 2022 world premiere, Castor and Patience. Kevin Newbury (Castor and Patience, Fellow Travelers) will serve as stage director and dramaturg.

Commissioned by Santa Fe Opera and slated for a summer 2024 world premiere, The Righteous follows a preacher and leader of a growing church in the 1980s American Southwest, who finds himself caught up in the confluence of religion and politics. Slowly his connection to God is weakened as he becomes drawn to public office alongside contemporary events including the rise of feminism, the war on drugs, conflict in the Middle East, and the AIDS epidemic. Along the way, those closest to him grapple with their own understanding of faith and truth. The Righteous explores the timeless struggle to reconcile spiritual humility with ambition in our modern world. The public performance of excerpts from The Righteous will take place on Monday, May 15, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. at CCM's Cohen Family Studio Theater.

Admission to the public performances is free, and reservations are required. Reservations are available through the Cincinnati Opera Box Office by calling 513-241-2742 or visiting


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