Cincinnati Opera Launches 'Get Paul to Music Hall' Campaign Inviting Paul McCartney to World Stage P

Cincinnati is going all-in on getting a pop king to the Queen City. Mayor Aftab Pureval and Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney were joined by leaders from the Cincinnati Opera and a variety of regional partners on Wednesday morning (May 22) at Cincinnati Music Hall to announce a full-court-press effort to persuade Paul McCartney to visit the city this summer for the Opera’s upcoming world stage premiere of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio.

The summer-long “Come Together, Cincy! Get Paul to Music Hall!” effort aims to get Sir Paul to say “yes” to the invitation to celebrate the premiere in July after the former Beatle agreed to allow his first classical piece — a 1991 tribute to his hometown co-written with composer Carl Davis — to be staged in the city.

“This is a special time in Cincinnati, and the world stage premiere of Sir Paul’s Liverpool Oratorio is an incredible example of the excitement building around the Queen City,” Mayor Pureval tells Billboard. “Cincinnati’s vibrant cultural community helps put us on the map, and our reputation as a world-class arts destination brings real eyes and real tourism into our region. Folks from around our community, and around the world, are ready to Come Together and celebrate a truly one-of-a-kind experience here in town.”

The Oratorio will be presented on the opera stage for the first time from July 19-27 at Music Hall. According to a release announcing the effort, McCartney, 81, endorsed the new production in a letter to the Opera, in which he wrote, “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.”

At press time it was unclear if McCartney was planning to travel to the city for the debut.

In the meantime, the region will be blanketed with “Get Paul” enticements in an effort to convince the singer to return to Cincy for the first time since a 2016 arena show. The project announced on Wednesday morning will include a barrage of ads this summer featuring the Opera and McCartney on Metro buses, at the CVG international airport, at Reds and FC Cincinnati soccer games, as well as a number of iconic downtown locations. The fanfare will kick off this weekend at the city’s traditional summer kick-off event, Taste of Cincinnati, which typically draws more than half a million visitors to the streets of downtown.

Local residents are also encouraged to record a video tribute to Sir Paul and to post it on their socials using the hashtag #GetPaulToMusicHall, with the release saying that tagged videos amplified by the Opera and “Come Together” partners will be shared with McCartney’s team.

“We’re looking forward to launching the ‘Come Together, Cincy!’ campaign this weekend at Taste of Cincinnati, courtesy of our partners at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber,” said Cincinnati Opera CEO Chris Milligan in a statement. “Attendees can stop by the Opera booth and record their video tribute to Sir Paul by sharing a favorite memory or singing a snippet of a McCartney tune… Let’s get Paul to Music Hall!”

The Liverpool Oratorio live album was released in 1991 as part of a commemoration of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s 150th anniversary. The eight-movement piece that follows a character named Shanty as it roughly sketches out McCartney’s life story had its American premiere in Nov. 1991 at Carnegie Hall.

Check out the full calendar of “Get Paul to Music Hall!’ events here.


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