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The Cleveland Orchestra Announces Details Of THE AMERICAN DREAM Festival

The festival takes place May 13 to 20, 2023 at Severance Music Center.

The Cleveland Orchestra Announces Details Of THE AMERICAN DREAM Festival

The Cleveland Orchestra has announced the title, vision, and programming updates surrounding its inaugural Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival: The American Dream, which takes place May 13 to 20, 2023 at Severance Music Center. The festival includes opera performances, symphonic concerts, pre- and post-concert discussions, and a free concert event for the community. Current information, as of November, about concerts, events, as well as humanities and cultural organization festival partners are listed below. Additional details of Cleveland Orchestra and partner events will be announced in February 2023.

Building on the success in recent years of The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst's tradition of innovative opera presentations, this year's version will link the opera to an ambitious undertaking with themes and subjects that are explored through humanities programming. Curated by Elena Dubinets, The Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival: The American Dream is a series of opportunities for discussion created for the greater Cleveland community and headlined by concert performances of Puccini's La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) conducted by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst at Severance Music Center (May 14, 17, and 20). The festival is devoted to the examination, exploration, and changing promise of the American Dream. The American Dream festival will aspire to engage conversation from different perspectives around timeless questions including: what is the relevance of the American Dream today; what does it mean to the Greater Cleveland community?

From what was at first a yearning for self-rule, religious freedom, and democracy, the American Dream evolved to a universal concept that anyone coming to America would be able to succeed through opportunity and hard work - to forge a better life for themselves and their family, to achieve success from their own initiative and efforts.

The American Dream remains an aspirational concept related to the promise of a country that embraces optimism for the future and the ability to shape it, as well as recognition of every person's potential as a dignified and free human being. However, while achievable for some, for many others it remains unattainable, a cruel illusion, an unfulfilled promise. The Cleveland Orchestra's 2023 Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival: The American Dream will acknowledge and engage in these subjects and offer an opportunity to explore and reflect on the American Dream of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The Cleveland Orchestra's annual Opera and Humanities Festival is supported by a historic grant from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. This and future festivals will engage the Greater Cleveland community and will further establish Severance Music Center as a convening place for the entire community, as well as one of the country's great cultural centers. The National Endowment for the Arts supports The Cleveland Orchestra's annual opera presentations.

André Gremillet, The Cleveland Orchestra's President & CEO said, "With this season's inaugural Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival: The American Dream and future annual festivals, The Cleveland Orchestra is creating space and a forum at Severance Music Center and within the greater Cleveland community to explore broader topics through music and art. We hope to spark and inspire relevant conversations and reflections as a convener, and partner with area humanities and cultural organizations to promote great Cleveland institutions as well as Cleveland as a cultural destination. We are grateful to the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation for their historic grant, of which a portion is dedicated to supporting The Cleveland Orchestra's annual opera and humanities festival.

"The Cleveland Orchestra aspires to present an opera and humanities festival that stimulates contemplation and ideas, celebrates diversity of thought, and inspires self-reflection. These festivals combine intellectual curiosity and emotional depth, where the music making is informed by the complex subtleties of the world that produced it. In particular, the May 18 and 19 concerts at Severance are part of our efforts to expand our classical music catalogue by featuring composers like Julia Perry, Julius Eastman, William Grant Still, and Raven Chacon who all deserve wider recognition."

Franz Welser-Möst, Music Director, The Cleveland Orchestra said, "Puccini's underappreciated masterpiece La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) headlines our 2023 Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival: The American Dream, featuring an exploration of the changing promise of the American Dream. Often dismissed as a naïve 'cowboy opera,' the story of Puccini's La Fanciulla del West is set in the American frontier of the California Gold Rush in 1849. The opera brings to a boil conflicting desires for fortune and friendship. Its characters give their all in a rough-and-tumble scramble for money, love, and loyalty - heightened by a passionate music score that boldly underscores dreams of riches, hope, desperation, and desire. This opera and our annual opera presentations showcase The Cleveland Orchestra's remarkable versatility and artistic ambition as a symphonic and opera ensemble."

Elena Dubinets is the Curator for The Cleveland Orchestra's Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival: The American Dream, and is Artistic Director for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She previously held top artistic planning positions at the Seattle and Atlanta symphony orchestras. Elena has taught at universities in the United States, Russia, and Costa Rica; published five books; and written hundreds of articles, liner and program notes in multiple languages. Her latest book, Russian Composers Abroad: How They Left, Stayed, Returned, was published by Indiana University Press in 2021. Dr. Dubinets received her MA and PhD degrees from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia and lived in the U.S. since 1996 and moved to London in 2021.

"The music and stories explored at the Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival: The American Dream speak to such essential topics as the underlying social contract in the US, access to education, cultural displacement, lack of representation, racism, and migration," said festival curator Elena Dubinets. "By performing music created by composers of different nationalities, gender, skin color, and background we will initiate robust conversations about the American Dream by participants from across political, social, economic, and cultural spectrums. Community music events, film screenings, literary readings, exhibitions, scholarly presentations, and panel discussions will constitute the "humanities" portion of the festival surrounding and inform The Cleveland Orchestra performances."



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