PRIZM News / April 1, 2018 / By Bob Vitale
Artistic Director, Cincinnati Opera
Identifies As: Gay
Evans Mirageas’ career in the arts has taken him to Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, London, Cologne and elsewhere.
He was named by Opera News as one of the “25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera” in 2006, the year after he came to Cincinnati as artistic director for the Cincinnati Opera.
What intersections do you see between the Cincinnati Opera, the local arts scene and the LGBTQ community?
Very early in my tenure we began Pride Night at the Opera, which has grown into a big success. And of course there is the runaway success of our commissioned opera, “Fellow Travelers,” which has already been produced in New York and Chicago and goes to Minneapolis in June and elsewhere in the next two seasons.
“Fellow Travelers” tells a story drawn from documented histories of the Lavender Scare in Washington, D.C., in the 1950s. It was a witch hunt for gay men and women coincident with the McCarthy hearings targeting supposed Communists in the State Department and elsewhere in the U.S. government.
How do the arts and activism overlap?
Operas are inherently political, either in their plots or the historical setting. What is great about opera is that the stories they tell are almost always moral, either extolling or scolding our behaviors in any area of life.
It is our triumphs and tragedies written in large bold type, so to speak, on stage.
Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” from 1786 was filled with allusions to the corruption of the aristocratic classes, and it was premiered just three years before the French Revolution. … Verdi, in his first success, “Nabucco,” used the Hebrew slaves in captivity as metaphoric stand-ins for the people of Italy yearning to be free from Austrian domination. The chorus in that opera, “Va, pensiero,” has become the unofficial national anthem of modern Italy.
We offer examples. We hold a mirror up to society with beautiful music and compelling stories.
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