October 10, 2019

Musical Tales of Love, Tragedy and Rebirth Highlight CIM Opera Theater’s 2019-20 Season

Opera season
CIM Opera Theater photo by Roger Mastroianni

From heartbreak, rebirth and living happily ever after to the whimsy of a handsome-but-lost prince, a beautiful princess and comic sidekick in search of love, the Cleveland Institute of Music’s 2019-20 opera season promises to deliver the magic of opera to all audiences.

Performances of The Juniper Tree, based on a tragic fable by the legendary Brothers Grimm, and The Magic Flute, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s tale of darkness and light and finding your way in the world, will grace the Mixon and Kulas Hall stages in the fall and spring. 

Dean Southern, artistic director of CIM Opera Theater, the Dorothy P. Schmitt Chair in Opera and head of the voice and opera division, says this season marks a departure from past productions, bringing to audiences a contemporary work in addition to one of Mozart’s most beloved masterpieces. 

Southern will direct both productions. The 2019-20 season will be his first full year as CIM Opera Theater’s artistic director.       


The Juniper Tree by Philip Glass and Robert Moran; Libretto by Arthur Yorinks based on a tale by the Brothers Grimm

All at once shocking, horrifying, beautiful and uplifting, this tale from the Brothers Grimm weaves an eerie, poetic story which takes the idea of the wicked stepmother to a whole new level. In the story, the stepmother – out of blind rage and jealousy – kills her stepson and cooks him into a stew for his unsuspecting father. The boy has the last laugh, however, when his sister buries his bones beneath a juniper tree and his spirit returns as a singing bird who wreaks vengeance before being restored to life with his family and living happily ever after.

In a creative twist, the production, featuring CIM Opera Theater students, will include as a backdrop a feature-length film made by students at the Cleveland Institute of Art. The film was shot recently at an historic home at Hale Farm & Village in Bath, which is part of the Western Reserve Historical Society.

“We wanted to offer something different and experimental for our first production of the season. The Juniper Tree will intertwine live stage action with filmed sequences by students of the Cleveland Institute of Art,” Southern said. “You would expect a story like The Juniper Tree to have a morose tone and somber music, but it does not. It is an intense yet lovely and tuneful tale of love, jealousy and redemption. Philip Glass is regarded as one of the most influential and high profile composers of his generation, and his uniquely evocative style is complemented by that of Robert Moran, whose writing is both arrestingly dramatic and poetic. This is CIM Opera Theater’s first production in beautiful Mixon Hall which, with approximately 200 seats, is the ideal size for the intimacy and atmosphere of this grippingly theatrical work.”

Performance dates: October 31, November 2 and November 3 at 7:30pm; each performance in Mixon Hall; visit cim.edu/events.

Tickets: $20 for adults; $15 for seniors and groups of 10 or more; $10 for students


The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder

Prince Tamino and the birdcatcher Papageno search for the women of their dreams in this fantastical story of a handsome lost prince, his comic sidekick, a beautiful princess in distress, a commanding high priest and a bitter, vengeful queen. The story involves a quest, and, like most comic operas, complications and challenges abound, but everything sorts out happily in the end as two loving couples head to the altar. Childlike spirits, conniving villains, enchanted bells, and of course, a magic flute – they’re all part of this high-flying adventure. “In the spring we go back to our traditional roots with one of Mozart’s most frequently performed and cherished works,” Southern said. The music for The Magic Flute is among the most beautiful in all of opera, and it will be exciting to hear it performed by the wonderfully talented student musicians of CIM Opera Theater and the CIM Orchestra.”

Performance dates: February 26 and 28 at 7:30pm; March 1 at 2pm; each performance in Kulas Hall; visit cim.edu/events.

Tickets: $20 for adults; $15 for seniors and groups of 10 or more; $10 for students


The traditional finale to the season, CIM Opera Theater’s popular program of Spring Scenes returns to Kulas Hall in April. Staged by voice faculty member Dina Kuznetsova and musical direction by vocal coaches John Simmons and François Germain, CIM singers will entertain as they perform selections from some of the most beloved and well-known operas.

Performance dates: April 18 and 19 at 7:30pm in Kulas Hall; visit cim.edu/events.

Tickets: $20 for adults; $15 for seniors and groups of 10 or more; $10 for students

“This opera season will have something for everyone,” Southern said. “We are thrilled to bring newer works and standard operas alike to Northeast Ohio audiences.”

To purchase tickets to CIM’s opera performances, visit cim.edu/events or contact the CIM Box Office at 216.795.3211 between 10am and 3pm Monday through Friday.

Parking: There are a wide variety of parking options, including metered and unmetered street parking on Hazel Drive, Juniper Road and Magnolia Drive, and paid lots at neighboring institutions. CIM’s parking lot will be inaccessible until summer 2020 due to construction. Visit cim.edu/parking for more information.

CIM Opera Theater productions are funded in part by a grant from the John P. Murphy Foundation.