Current COT Projects


Highlight Production: 2014-2015 Mainstage Production featuring Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca


The COT 2014-2015 main stage production features Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece, Tosca.  This production of Tosca is part of the COT 2014-2015 season, which serves the neighborhoods of the Gordon Square Arts District, and The Detroit Shoreway, Downtown Cleveland, The Italian Cultural Gardens, Tremont’s Lincoln Park, Chagrin Falls, and numerous other on-site locations in the greater Cleveland area providing an accessible, affordable, dynamic, and exciting way for the residents of many greater Cleveland neighborhoods to enjoy the beauty of Italian Opera.   COT is headquartered in the Detroit Shoreway’s Gordon Square Arts District, and is the professional Opera Company in Residence at The Cleveland Public Theatre.  The Detroit Shoreway was home to a strong population of Italian immigrants who settled in the area in the 1890’s, where the hub of the Italian community life was established at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, located at W.69th and Detroit Avenue, just 4 blocks from COT’s home office and CPT. Descendants of the original Italian families still reside in the Detroit Shoreway Neighborhood. Italian American, and City Councilman of the 15th ward, Matt Zone, is a strong supporter of COT.  He believes that the presence of our organization enriches the quality of life in his neighborhood. 

This production will promote the great operatic art form and Italianate legacy of opera in Cleveland which is so important to the neighborhood that our company calls home, while at the same time provide increased and unparalleled accessibility to the operatic art form in another of Cleveland’s historic performance venues, The Cleveland Performance Arts Center, formerly the Masonic Auditorium.


Cleveland Opera Theater will present the opera, "Tosca," a fully staged opera production with sets, lights, costumes, and orchestra at the Cleveland Performance Arts Center. The opera features a large ensemble cast and chorus of more than 50 stage performers and 30 orchestra members. This production is a collaboration between Cleveland Opera Theater and The Cleveland Performance Arts Center, an historical Cleveland performance venue. This production will combine the expertise of many local performing artists and professionals. It will provide an opportunity for an accessible live opera-theater experience specifically to the underserved city of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. 



COT Audience Building is Effective

The 2014 production of Giacomo Puccini’s La Rondine sold out both performances at the Gordon Square Theater, the largest of five performance spaces in the Cleveland Public Theatre campus.  In response to this, COT conducted careful venue selection research to identify a new venue that would provide a larger capacity to accommodate more ticket requests from the audience, and also provide increased patron amenities.  


For our main stage production of the spring of 2015 Tosca, we have selected the Cleveland Performance Arts Center located at 3600 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.  The performance venue features a larger performance space with seating for approximately 2000 patrons, and provides numerous benefits to opera patrons and to COT company growth and development.  


Cleveland Opera Theater is excited to perform for the first time in the Cleveland Performance Art Center, formerly the Masonic Auditorium, which was home to the Cleveland Orchestra for ten years prior to the opening of Severance Hall in 1931.   The venue continued to be used as the setting for most of the orchestra’s recordings long after as a result of its fine acoustics, reported to boast the “best sound in town” for live classical music performance.  The venue also features a pipe organ, which is featured prominently in Puccini’s orchestral score.  Additionally, COT is working in collaboration with local professional design and production artist Rob Wachala and Cleveland Performance Arts Center Production Manager, Lisa Kish, in a coordinated design effort, which will develop the lighting design for the Tosca production, while concurrently designing a resident lighting plot and instrument and circuitry list, which will benefit all artists who perform in the historic Cleveland venue.


The larger seating capacity of the Cleveland Performance Art Center enables COT to meet audience demand for tickets, and to capitalize on our successful audience building efforts.   COT is now able to provide access for all patrons at a range of prices, and increase annual ticket revenue, which is detailed below.  Since the venue enables a tiered ticket pricing structure for patrons desiring specific seating amenities, including:  VIP: priced at $99 with premium seating location and for-purchase food and drink service at the seats; Director's Circle: $75; Orchestra: $49; Mezzanine Front Row: $49; Mezzanine Second row back: $30; Balcony: $20; Student Rush Tickets: $15 – Available for purchase 45 minutes prior to curtain with student ID, COT is able to simultaneously offer the lowest ticket prices in company history, the first student rush tickets in company history, and also the most diverse and wide range of available reserved seating options in company history.  The Cleveland Performance Arts Center also provides many upgraded patron amenities including increased handicapped accessible seating, full meals and bar service available on-site prior to the performances, full bar service during performance intermissions, cocktail reception following the performances, and security monitored free parking!




New Opera Series

Each year Cleveland Opera Theater offers a variety of performances in residence at the Cleveland Public Theater and at various venues in the Cleveland area featuring productions ranging from traditional grand opera, to developmental and new works.  COT recently added a new component to the annual performance season presenting the Cleveland premiere of the new vampire opera Clarimonde, directly from it's world-premiere with On Site Opera (New York City) at the Phoenetia Festival. This unique project united the world-stage of opera with the relevance of the Cleveland market.  This was an exciting opportunity for Clevelanders to hear a new opera by an internationally recognized composer / conductor and librettist team, while featuring professional artists from the Greater Cleveland area.  This production also presented a rare opportunity to talk with the composer and librettist who were in attendance at both performances!


This co-production with the Cleveland Public Theatre, and in collaboration with On Site Opera, presented on October 31 and November 1, 2015 in the CPT Levin Theatre, successfully launched COT’s Opera Nuova {New Opera} series, which will feature a new (or recent) work of opera theater to be produced each season during the fall.  The Opera Nuova {New Opera} series will realize COT’s commitment to honoring past traditions while nurturing contemporary approaches to opera, thus preserving, as well as creating, a legacy.


The composer, Frédéric Chaslin who is Music Director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and having just conducted Massenet’s Manon at the Wiener Staatsoper, and award-winning librettist P.H. Fisher, made time in their busy schedules to fly into Cleveland to be a part of the production, and take part in the post-performance meet & greet receptions. This gave the public an opportunity to converse about the work in development with the creators and performers of the work, and to be actively involved in the shaping of the development of the work.  In fact, some of the conversations with audience members during the opening night reception spurred some artistic and interpretive creativity that was incorporated into the second night’s performance!  No other arts organization in Cleveland is providing this type of interactive, hands-on experience in the creative for opera-theater audience members. The composer and librettist also interacted with the COT cast, conductor, pianist, and stage director during the process to discuss further nuances in the work, which were put into experiential action in the context of the live performances.  Please read the strong critical reviews of this production and see the production photos included in the supplementary materials.  




Company Growth and Board Development

The annual main stage opera production improvement details highlighted above represents COT’s successful audience building, and illustrates the growing reach and impact of our performances in the Greater Cleveland community.  The successful launch of the Opera Nuova Series demonstrates COT’s growing voice of importance within the national operatic community, and the influence on the landscape of local arts and culture and development now and in the future.  While these two examples point to COT’s recent and imminent success, our company is committed as well to long-term growth, success, and stability.   Current projects of internal improvement include drafting a revised business plan, and new five-year company strategic plan as we draw to the close of the current successful five-year plan in the midst of its final year.  


We have recently added the renowned architect Richard Fleischman to the Advisory Board.   Mr. Fleischman’s expertise (please see his included biography) and advice will help COT realize higher levels of achievement in scenic design excellence, and discover and put into practice new and creative approaches to the collaborative artistic process.  COT has also added two new Board of Director members.  Joyce Corrigan, former board member for Opera Cleveland, and The Cleveland Ballet, brings dynamic leadership experience and savvy to our organization.  Marci Alegant, Director of Music for I CAN SCHOOLS, has recently joined the COT Board of Directors, and is currently steering the development and diversification of COT Education & Outreach programs that bring opera into schools and communities in the greater Cleveland area and the Northeast Ohio region.   These developing programs will serve K - 12 and adult audiences with exciting performances that engage and entertain, while providing a greater understanding and appreciation for the art form, and preparing the opera audiences of tomorrow.  These COT Education & Outreach programs will include a residency program for K-12 students with the I CAN SCHOOLS, an after-school Opera for Teens program, Opera on Tour productions, which will offer a number of ready-to-tour productions geared for a range of audiences including K-12 and adult, which will engage and entertain audiences while educating about the operatic art form, and the COT Young Artist program that is dedicated to developing the talents of the next generation of talented rising stars in opera.  



Targeted Areas of Growth

Together with our existing board members, these two new board members will provide invaluable support to COT as we continue to formulate and execute stable and successful operating procedures enabling us to make opera accessible, affordable, relevant and exciting in Cleveland and northeaster Ohio.  Targeted areas of improvement and growth include: 


  • A company rebranding strategy that will be launched in December, 2014 in order to bolster the connection between our company and the community we serve, and in which we were formed


  • Recruitment of influential individuals committed to joining our existing board to realize the $1,000,000 capital campaign that will be led by board member Dr. Vincent Branca


  • Examine current marketing strategies and effectiveness to target specific areas and enact strategies for growth and improvement, with emphasis on an increased and enhanced web-based and social media presence


  • Identify opportunities to strengthen and diversify the reach and community impact of our five annual production offerings:


Aspects of this strengthening and diversification including the spring main stage production regarding increased capacity and audience amenities, the launch and development of the Opera Nuova {New Opera} series, and increased Education and Outreach programming have been touched upon above.  Further aspects of targeted improvements to the annual production season include: 


  • Increased community diversity and number of locations for the Summer Outreach Concert Series


  • Increased venues, and partner organizations for the annual production of Amahl and the Night Visitors


  • Adding a free to the public run out outreach performance of our perennially sold-out operetta production


  • Adding an orchestral ensemble to the Fall Opera Nuova production series






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Cleveland Opera Theater
5000 Euclid Avenue, #1001
Cleveland, Ohio  44103      

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