CCM continues its 2018-19 Studio Series with Dinner at Eight, a new opera by American composer William Bolcom and librettist Mark Campbell. Based on the 1932 Broadway play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, the opera runs Friday, Feb. 22 through Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater.

The plot follows a group of high-society Americans in the Manhattan of 1931 — just after the Wall Street crash that precipitated the Great Depression. Director Audrey Chait’s program note describes the story:

At first glance, the protagonists are almost comically rich and out-of-touch: Millicent Jordan is fixated on the dinner party she is throwing to impress her socialite friends. Meanwhile, her husband’s business is on the brink of ruin, his health is failing, and her 19-year-old daughter is keeping a scandalous secret. As the story unfolds, it slowly becomes clear that everyone invited to the dinner party is on the brink of a personal disaster, despite their carefully-managed outward appearances.

Dinner at Eight premiered in 2017 at the Minnesota Opera, and relatively few productions have been mounted since then. This version was adapted for two pianos by CCM Associate Professor of Opera Coaching Kathleen Kelly, who also helped with musical preparation for this production. Student conductor Daniel Mallampalli will lead the pianists and vocalists.

“We have kept the original setting because the Great Depression is so important to the fabric of the story that you could even call it a silent character,” says Chait, a CCM Opera Directing student pursuing her Artist Diploma.

“Our production has definite overtones of surrealism and frequent side trips into vaudevillian theatricality. On the surface, Dinner at Eight appears to be a high-society comedy, but as the evening progresses, the story reveals more and more of its darkness.”

Cincinnati audiences will remember Bolcom and his work from CCM’s Fall 2015 performances of his cabaret songs, when the composer visited CCM to coach students and enjoy the show. The music of Dinner at Eight evokes Bolcom’s cabaret works and Broadway tunes.

“We are very lucky to be working on Dinner at Eight so soon after its world premiere; it is an honor to contribute to the early life and production history of this opera,” Chait says.

You can enjoy the Cincinnati premiere of Dinner at Eight from February 22 through 24, 2019, at CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Admission is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, February 18. Visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.
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Cast List

  • Shannon Cochran as Millicent Jordan
  • Gabriella Sam as Carlotta Vance
  • Claire Lopatka as Kitty Packard
  • Maria Miller as Lucy Talbot
  • Heidi Middendorf as Paula Jordan
  • Victor Cardamone as Larry Renault
  • Joshua Cook as Oliver Jordan
  • Antonio Cruz as Dan Packard
  • John Siarris as Joseph Talbot
  • Michael Hyatt as Max
  • Mia Athey as Tina
  • Maddy Jentsch as Miss Alden/Maid
  • Lindsay Webber as Miss Copeland/Maid
  • Tayte Mitchell as Eddy
  • Justin Burgess as Mr. Hatfield
  • Turner Staton as Gustave

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24

Location
Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Admission
Admission is free. Reservations are required. Tickets become available at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. Please visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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Opera Department Sponsor: Mr. & Mrs. Edward S. Rosenthal
Opera Production Sponsor: Genevieve Smith

 

Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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