A multi-part series highlighting the many festivals in Cincinnati in May.
The May Festival is the oldest continuous choral festival in the Western Hemisphere. Here is a bit of history from the May Festival website:
In 1873, the first concert of May Festival is held on May 6 in the Saengerhalle with Theodore Thomas conducting his own 108-piece orchestra and local and regional choruses of nearly 800 singers who had been prepared by Carl Barus and by Thomas' friend Otto Singer. Guest soloists are featured. The Opening Night audience of 5,000 thrills to Handel, Beethoven and Haydn; five additional concerts follow. G. F. Handel's ‘Dettingen Te Deum’ is given its American premiere. At the end of the final concert, the Chorus and audience stand to sing together the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah. (This closing will be repeated a number of times through the years, becoming an annual tradition from 1950 on.)
In 1878, the third May Festival inaugurates the newly completed Music Hall that will become the Festival's permanent home.
In 1900 . . . a Festival patron pays $12 for a season ticket, $2 for a single reserved seat or $1 general admission.
In 1967, May Festival becomes an annual event from this season on.
May Festival was a biennial event until 1967 with a three year gap three times in its history (1875 – 1878,1920 – 1923, and 1941 – 1944).
For more history, again check out the May Festival website.
Do you have your ticket? I am going opening night this year. Patti Lupone makes her May Festival debut. The final evening, Sunday, May 30, sounds fantastic but sadly I can’t go. The “Symphony of a Thousand” by Mahler unites, for the first time on the Music Hall stage, the May Festival Chorus and the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. Should be good.
For tickets which you should still be able to get, visit the May Festival website here.
As a reminder, each Friday in May we will post a Festival Fact. Upcoming schedule of Friday’s Festival Facts:
May 15: Taste of Cincinnati
May 22: Cincinnati Fringe Festival
May 29: Summerfair Cincinnati
Image from MayFestival.com