The Cleveland Orchestra Announces Second Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival

The Cleveland Orchestra announces details of the second Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival.

By: Nov. 16, 2023
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The Cleveland Orchestra has announced details of the second Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival, which will take place at Severance Music Center and partner locations throughout Cleveland from May 15 to 26, 2024.
Anchored by four fully staged performances of Mozart's The Magic Flute directed by Nikolaus Habjan and featuring The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, this year's festival examines the theme of Power. A core element of Mozart's beloved work, this theme will further be explored through a series of concerts, exhibitions, and conversations over the course of two extended weekends.


“Building on last season's successful launch of the Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival, the 2024 edition will continue to bring together our community and several of Cleveland's great cultural institutions for exploration, discussion, and reflection around the theme of Power,” said André Gremillet, President and CEO of The Cleveland Orchestra. “Opera has a unique capacity to draw upon a multidimensional view of our world and shared human experience, and this year's performances of Mozart's The Magic Flute conducted by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst will set the stage for exploring different facets of Power through music, art, and lectures, among others. We are thankful for our wonderful partners and for the support of our generous donors, including the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, without whom this festival would not be possible.”

“Mozart's The Magic Flute is an extremely fitting centerpiece for our 2024 Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival. Its touching and beautiful narrative makes it not only one of the greatest operas ever written, but also the greatest opera about humanity, given its many philosophical layers. This presentation of The Magic Flute at Severance Music Center, staged with imaginatively designed puppets, will once again highlight The Cleveland Orchestra's artistry and adaptability as both a symphonic and operatic ensemble,” said Franz Welser-Möst, Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra.


“The festival's theme of Power comes from Mozart's idea to place the universe of The Magic Flute within the surroundings of the Masonic temples of Nature, Wisdom, and Reason, thus reflecting upon the power of our planet, humanity, and order,” said Elena Dubinets, who returns this year as the festival's curator. “By situating Mozart's musical vision both in his contemporaneous and in our current contexts, we will be exploring different power structures embedded in the world, including the powers of music and love that transcend human fear and hatred, the Enlightenment doctrines of political liberalism and religious tolerance, and the prevalence of knowledge over ignorance.”


Additional information available at


The festival opens on May 15 with a keynote lecture by Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer and journalist Kai Bird, who co-authored American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer on which the blockbuster movie Oppenheimer was based. The evening also includes performances of works inspired by the festival's theme by Cleveland Orchestra musicians and soloists.


On May 17, pianist Conrad Tao performs a thought-provoking solo recital, pegged to the enduring power of Rachmaninoff's music and its timeless influence on American classical and popular music.


In addition to the opera performances, Welser-Möst also leads the Orchestra in two concert performances on May 23 and 25 featuring Mozart's Serenade No. 10, “Gran Partita.” It is paired with selections from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, “The most influential opera in all musical history” (The New Kobbe's Opera Book) and the world premiere of a concerto by Jüri Reinvere, featuring violinist Leila Josefowicz and Cleveland Orchestra principal harpist Trina Struble,Alice Chalifoux Chair.


Two exhibitions — The Magic Lens: A Photographic Journey by Chuck Stewartat Severance Music Center (April 11–May 26, 2024) and Africa and Byzantium & The Magic Flute at the Cleveland Museum of Art (April 14–July 21, 2024) — consider the festival themes through visual art.


Additional programs include a free performance of choral music, United in Song! A Community Celebration; a special performance for kids and families inspired by The Magic Flute; and a series of panel discussions inspired by this year's festival theme.


The detailed program listing of Cleveland Orchestra events as of November 2023 can be found below. The full festival lineup, including Cleveland Orchestra and partner events, will be announced in February 2024.


Tickets for the 2024 Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival are now on sale. Visit, email, or call Cleveland Orchestra Ticket Services at 216-231-1111.


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