Cincinnati May Festival’s 2021 return, with scaled-down concerts

Posted on: May 24, 2021

When “the Cincinnati May Festival returns May 21-30 in Music Hall … there will be only up to 25 singers onstage at a time, with a reduced Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Friday’s (5/21) Cincinnati Business Courier. “The chorus is split—featuring men of the chorus the first weekend and women the second. The singers will stand socially distanced on the front of the stage… Programs are reimagined for smaller forces…. Principal conductor Juanjo Mena, [director of choruses Robert] Porco and other officials [held] ‘long, arduous discussions’ about music for smaller ensembles…. They discovered music that has never been performed at the May Festival…. Mena … will conduct the main concerts. Those will include the chorus singing shorter works, as well selections from Gustav Holst’s ‘Hymns from the Rig Veda.’ … On a recent Tuesday night, Porco was leading a rehearsal of sopranos and altos [in] selections from Reena Esmail’s ‘I Rise: Women in Song,’ to be performed the second weekend…. Despite their masks, the women filled the hall with ample sound…. Porco will also be conducting a separate evening … with songs by Aaron Copland, John Adams … and a jazzy set of songs by … Maria Schneider.”