- Cincinnati Music Hall, Springer Auditorium
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JULY 18 & 20, 2024 | 7:30 PM
JULY 21 & 27, 2024 | 3:00 PM
MUSIC HALL • SPRINGER AUDITORIUM
Music and libretto by Paul McCartney and Carl Davis
Sung in English with projected lyrics
FOR THE WHOLE WERE WE BORN.
Memories from Paul McCartney’s life in Liverpool England inspire chapters on growing up and finding our way. Beginning with Latin which means, “not for ourselves, but for the whole were we born,” the piece explores formative moments, relationships, and the responsibilities we face. See the world premiere opera adaptation of McCartney’s acclaimed work for orchestra and voices, a powerful story full of heartfelt lyrics and effortless melodies.
From Cincinnati Business Courier, September 20, 2023:
The music and the libretto of the “Liverpool Oratorio” are entirely McCartney’s work. But because McCartney doesn’t read or write music, he needed a partner – Davis – to orchestrate the parts, set the texts and make a full vocal and orchestral score, said Evans Mirageas, Cincinnati Opera artistic director.
“I knew it existed, it sold millions of copies, and that it had been performed over 100 times as a concert work, like Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah,’” Mirageas said. “So I bought a score and listened to it, and thought, they’ve actually created an opera. There’s just no staging.”
The oratorio had everything necessary for opera: drama, character development, glorious choruses, arias and intimate duets. Mirageas contacted McCartney’s publisher, who said others have had the same idea, but an opera never came to fruition.
The publisher contacted McCartney, who asked for more details. His answer came back quickly. “We had his blessing,” Mirageas said.
McCartney wrote in a letter to the company, “I am writing to express my wholehearted support for this project. I believe that Cincinnati Opera is uniquely positioned to bring this work to life in a new way, and I have no doubt that your production will be an inspiring experience for all who see it … I look forward to its premiere next summer.”
In terms of staging, Mirageas felt the work needed a designer and director who had a connection to North England, especially the industrial cities. Caroline Clegg will direct. Sets and costumes will be designed by Leslie Travers. Lighting will be overseen by Thomas C. Hase.
Mirageas also thought that the musical interludes in the work were “crying out for dance.” There will be choreography by Michael Pappalardo.
The opera-to-be calls for operatic voices. The oratorio was premiered by the legendary soprano Kiri Te Kanawa and tenor Jerry Hadley.
“I think it’s important to understand that this piece is genuine opera. It is not pop songs,” Mirageas said. “He found a vein of creativity in this work that is genuinely operatic.”
Mirageas spent “a magical afternoon” going through the score with Davis, who also conducted the oratorio’s world premiere in Liverpool Cathedral. Unfortunately, Davis died unexpectedly in August. […]
Will McCartney come to the premiere? His manager believes he will unless he is occupied on a tour. […]