Music director of the Cincinnati May Festival since its inception in 1873, Theodore Thomas was eager to show off his new orchestra at the 1892 festival. The seven concerts were packed with symphonies, orchestral arrangements of chamber works and songs, extended sections and complete acts from operas (including Beethoven’s Fidelio; Gluck’s Alceste; Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Parsifal, and Tannhäuser; and Weber’s Euryanthe) along with large-scale choral works such as Becker’s Cantata, Dvořák’s Requiem, and Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul.
The fourth concert, on May 26, opened with the first two parts of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio followed by Schumann’s First Symphony after intermission. The concert closed with the U.S. premiere of Anton Bruckner’s Te Deum, with Corinne Moore-Lawson, Marie Ritter-Goetze, Edward Lloyd, and George Ellsworth Holmes as soloists. The Cincinnati May Festival Chorus was prepared by W.L. Blumenschein.
The Orchestra returned regularly to Cincinnati throughout Thomas’s tenure. His final appearance at the May Festival was on May 14, 1904, leading the Orchestra and Festival Chorus in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis and Ninth Symphony, with soloists Agnes Nicholls, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, William Green, and Watkin Mills.
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