The season, which runs through June 2005, will also feature Gounod's Faust, Puccini's Tosca, Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment, and the world premiere of Margaret Garner, a collaboration between composer Richard Danielpour and writer Toni Morrison.
The new opera is based on the historical story of a slave who fled Kentucky with her family in 1856. When they were surrounded by U.S. marshals in Cincinnati, Garner decided she would rather kill her children and herself rather than return to slavery. She killed one of her daughters before she was caught, and a subsequent trial determined that Garner was guilty of damage to property rather than murder.
Margaret Garner, which was co-commissioned by Cincinnati Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, premieres in Detroit on May 7, 2005, with Denyce Graves in the title role, Gregg Baker as Robert Garner, and Rodney Gilfry as slave-owner Edward Gaines. Jessye Norman makes a special appearance in the role of Cilla. The opera opens in Cincinnati in July 2005, and then goes to Philadelphia in February 2006.