Cincinnati Opera to Present the World Stage Premiere of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio in July 2024

CINCINNATI, Sept. 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Cincinnati Opera leaders Christopher Milligan, The Harry Fath General Director & CEO, and Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director, have announced that the company will present the world stage premiere of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio as part of its 2024 Summer Festival. Performances will take place July 18–27, 2024, at Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall.

Written by McCartney in collaboration with the late, esteemed composer and conductor, Carl Davis, Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society in honor of its 150th anniversary and premiered in 1991. The piece tells the semi-autobiographical story of a young man named Shanty, who is born during the turbulent years of World War II and grows up in Liverpool. The work follows his life journey, depicting his struggles and joys and exploring the themes of childhood, school days, love, war, and reconciliation. McCartney’s melodic pop sensibility is evident alongside stunning classical orchestration, resulting in an accessible yet intricate musical work.

Cincinnati Opera’s new production of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio will be the work’s first-ever operatic staging. In a letter to the company, McCartney said, “I am writing to express my wholehearted support for this project. I believe that the Cincinnati Opera is uniquely positioned to bring this work to life in a new way, and I have no doubt that your production will be an inspiring experience for all who see it. … I look forward to its premiere next summer.”

Directing the production is Caroline Clegg, with sets and costumes designed by Leslie Travers, lighting design by Thomas C. Hase, and choreography by Michael Pappalardo. The cast stars tenor Andrew Owens, hailed as possessing a “powerful, yet supple, tenor voice” (Der Neue Marker), as Shanty, and soprano Jacqueline Echols, praised for her “dynamic range and vocal acrobatics” (Classical Voice), as his love, Mary Dee. Mezzo-soprano Kayleigh Decker appears in the roles of Miss Inkley/Chief Mourner/Nurse, and bass-baritone Kevin Short will sing the roles of Headmaster/Preacher/Mr. Dingle. Conductor Joseph Young leads the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Chorus Master Henri Venanzi directs the Cincinnati Opera Chorus.

Said Christopher Milligan, “When we assemble an opera season, we are always in pursuit of projects that are operatic in their essence and appeal to a broad audience. Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio has it all—a relatable and inspiring story, memorable melodies written for classically trained voices, and a connection to one of the world’s truly great singer-songwriters. We’re thrilled to bring this work to the opera stage for the first time.”

Cincinnati Opera’s 2024 Summer Festival also includes a new production of W.A. Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Giuseppe Verdi’s tragic romance, La Traviata. Subscriptions start at $105 and are now on sale. Tickets to individual performances start at $36 and go on sale April 1, 2024. Visit for more information.

Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio is presented by arrangement with Faber Music in association with MPL Communications.

About Cincinnati Opera
Cincinnati Opera’s mission is to enrich and connect our community through diverse opera experiences. Founded in 1920 and the second-oldest opera company in the nation, Cincinnati Opera presents a thrilling season of grand opera every summer and engaging programs throughout the year. The company’s repertoire includes beloved classics and contemporary masterworks brought to life by some of the world’s most dynamic performers and creative artists.

Cincinnati Opera is supported by the generosity of tens of thousands of contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign. Cincinnati Opera also receives general season support from the Ohio Arts Council, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, Patricia A. Corbett Estate and Trust, and the Harry T. Wilks Family Foundation, along with general season and project support from many other generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. Cincinnati Opera is a proud member of OPERA America. Learn more at

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SOURCE Cincinnati Opera