Cincinnati Opera is an American opera company based in Cincinnati, Ohio and the second oldest opera company in the United States (after the New York Metropolitan Opera). Beginning with its first season in 1920, Cincinnati Opera has produced operas in the summer months of June and July with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's providing orchestral accompaniment.
The company, originally named Cincinnati Opera Association, gave its first performance, Flotow's Martha, on Sunday, June 27, 1920. During its early years, the company was under the direction of Ralph Lyford, an American composer and conductor whose single opera Castle Agrazant would receive its world premiere at Cincinnati Music Hall on April 29, 1926, following Lyford's departure from Cincinnati Opera in 1925. From 1956-1990 the company ran a singing competition known as the American Opera Auditions.
Andrew Foldi as Dr. Dulcamara and Bruce Cooper as his assistant Cochise in Act 1, Scene 2 of Cincinnati Opera's 1968 "Wild West" production of L'elisir d'amore directed by James de Blasis.
James de Blasis became the company's Resident Stage Director in 1968. He then served as its General Director from 1973 to 1987. In 1988 he became its Artistic Director, a post which he held until 1996.
In 2006, Evans Mirageas, an influential casting director and former head of Decca's Artists & Repertoire division, became Cincinnati Opera's new Artistic Director. Following his first season with the company, Opera News magazine listed him as one of the "25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera".