Cincinnati Opera Announces World Premiere: Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio

September 22, 2023  17:58  |  Interviews M.I.C.

Cincinnati Opera, led by Christopher Milligan (The Harry Fath General Director & CEO) and Evans Mirageas (The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director), reveals plans for the world stage premiere of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio at their 2024 Summer Festival. The performances are scheduled for July 18–27, 2024, hosted at Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall.

Cincinnati Opera Announces World Premiere: Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio

Paul McCartney. Photo by Mary McCartney ©

Paul McCartney collaborated with the late Carl Davis to compose this semi-autobiographical masterpiece, commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society for its 150th anniversary. Premiering in 1991, the oratorio vividly portrays the life journey of a young man, Shanty, navigating through the World War II era in Liverpool. Themes of childhood, love, war, and reconciliation are brought to life through a blend of McCartney’s pop style and classical orchestration.

In a groundbreaking move, Cincinnati Opera’s production marks the first-ever operatic staging of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio. McCartney himself expressed enthusiastic support for the project, anticipating an inspiring premiere next summer.

The production, directed by Caroline Clegg, features sets and costumes designed by Leslie Travers, lighting design by Thomas C. Hase, and choreography by Michael Pappalardo. The stellar cast includes tenor Andrew Owens as Shanty and soprano Jacqueline Echols as Mary Dee. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Joseph Young, and the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, directed by Chorus Master Henri Venanzi, contribute to the musical excellence.

Cincinnati Opera Announces World Premiere: Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio

Cincinnati Music Hall, home of Cincinnati Opera. Photo by Philip Groshong ©

In addition to this groundbreaking performance, Cincinnati Opera’s 2024 Summer Festival will showcase new productions of W.A. Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata. Subscriptions and individual performance tickets are available for purchase, starting at $105 and $36, respectively, with individual performance tickets going on sale on April 1, 2024. Visit for more details.

This presentation of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio is made possible through an arrangement with Faber Music in association with MPL Communications. Cincinnati Opera, established in 1920 and the second-oldest opera company in the nation, remains dedicated to enriching and connecting the community through diverse opera experiences. Supported by generous contributors and organizations, Cincinnati Opera offers a compelling season of grand opera annually, showcasing both classical and contemporary works performed by dynamic artists and creatives from around the world.