The Cincinnati May Festival Unveils 150th Anniversary Season Lineup

By Logan Martell

The Cincinnati May Festival has announced the program for its 150th anniversary season.

The festival will run from May 19 to 27, 2023, with four performances over two weekends at Music Hall.

Bach’s Magnificat

Principal Conductor Juanjo Mena will lead sopranos Berit Norbakken and Robin Johannsen, mezzo Marianne Beate Kielland, tenor Toby Spence, and bass Christian Immler. The piece first made its American premiere with the May Festival in 1875. The program will also include the world premieres of James MacMillan’s “Timotheus, Bacchus and Cecilia” and James Lee III’s “Breaths of Universal Longing,” both of which were commissioned for the May Festival Chorus and Youth Chorus for this anniversary season.

Performance Date: May 19, 2023.

All-American Program

Conductor Marin Alsop will make her festival debut in a program of works including R.Nathaniel Dett’s “The Ordering of Moses,” Samuel Barber’s Symphony No. 1 and “Summer of 1915,” and Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of Living.” Featured soloists include soprano Laquita Mitchell, mezzo Briana Hunter, tenor Rodrick Dixon, and bass Nicholas Newton.

Performance Date: May 20, 2023.

Mozart’s Requiem

On Thursday, Music Director Laureate James Conlon will lead a program featuring a new work by Julia Adolphe, marking her third collaboration with the May Festival Chorus, as well as Mozart’s Requiem. Soloists include soprano Erica Petrocelli, mezzo Kate Lindsey, tenor Joshua Blue, and bass Michael Sumuel.

Performance Date: May 25, 2023.

Grand Finale

Juanjo Mena will conduct five choruses, eight soloists, and the CSO in a program of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Symphony of a Thousand.

Performance Date: May 27, 2023.

“Audiences will be in for a treat, hearing it in the magnificent acoustic of Music Hall to close our 150th anniversary celebrations,” said Mena. “We are lucky to be joined by simply the best line-ups of soloists. It is sure to be a special end to our 2023 Festival. I hope everyone can join me, the May Festival Chorus, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and our guest soloists, conductors and choruses as Music Hall will resound with the sound of the May Festival, celebrating 150 years of this incredible choral tradition!”