New Opera, "Castor and Patience" Highlights African-American History

Opera Culture is proud to put a spotlight on new works, especially those that highlight African-American history. We are delighted that Cincinnati Opera is premiering composer Gregory Spears and librettist, Tracy K. Smith's new opera, "Castor and Patience", marking the company's 100th anniversary season.


"Set during the mortgage crisis of 2008, with flashbacks to 1966 as well as to the 19th Century, Castor and Patience tells the story of African American cousins who find themselves at odds over the fate of land owned by members of their family since Reconstruction. Castor has a ballooning mortgage to contend with, so cashing in on his share of the family land would save his home and maybe even his sanity. Patience has been fighting as long as she can remember to stave off overzealous developers from whittling away the history she descends from. In order to address their most pressing concerns, the two must come to grips with the past to which their respective futures are inextricably bound. We’re thrilled to present this highly anticipated world premiere with music by Gregory Spears, composer of our acclaimed 2016 commission Fellow Travelers, and a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning recent U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Smith’s original story is both timeless and topical, addressing America’s warring tensions between reckoning with the hard facts of history and racing blindly forward toward the dream of progress. According to Smith, “this work is deeply invested in the lives of characters who are fictional, but whose dramatic conflict is a real one that African American families have confronted in one way or another for centuries.” -Cincinnati Opera


Patience Latonia Moore Castor Kevin Short Judah Frederick Ballentine Wilhelmina Janai Brugger Celeste Catherine Martin West Davóne Tines Jane/Leader Amanda Lynn Bottoms Nestor/Third Man Victor Robertson Second Man Ron Dukes


Composer Gregory Spears Librettist Tracy K. Smith

Conductor Kazem Abdullah

Stage Director Kevin Newbury

Scenic Designer Vita Tzykun Costume Designer Jessica Jahn Image Designer Rachel Eliza Griffiths Projection Designer S. Katy Tucker Lighting Designer Thomas C. Hase


JULY 2020

16 - 26


Learn more about "Castor and Patience" with a pre-curtain lecture one hour before each performance in the Mayerson Theater at School for Creative and Performing Arts. Free to all ticket holders. No reservations required.



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