Special Guest Event An Evening with Kai Bird

Event Information

  • Dates: May 15, 2024 Tickets Available
  • Who: The Cleveland Orchestra Kai Bird, speaker
  • Venue: Mandel Concert Hall Severance Music Center

Event Dates and Tickets

 Ticket Purchases:
This is a general admission and open seating event. Please select “quick checkout” to reserve your tickets. 

About the Event

Keynote speaker Kai Bird is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer and journalist. He is the executive director and distinguished lecturer of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. 

His most recent books include The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter and The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, which was a New York Times best-seller. He chronicled his childhood in the Middle East in his memoir, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis. He is the author of biographies of John J. McCloy, McGeorge Bundy, and William Bundy. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 2006 for American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (co-authored with Martin J. Sherwin). His work includes critical writings on the Vietnam War, Hiroshima, nuclear weapons, the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the CIA. 

He won the National Books Critics Circle Award and the Duff Cooper Prize for History and is the recipient of numerous fellowships. He is an elected member of the prestigious Society of American Historians. 

Bird’s keynote presentation will include performances of works inspired by the festival’s theme by Cleveland Orchestra musicians and soloists. The event will be livestreamed on The Cleveland Orchestra’s digital home, adella.live and by Chautauqua Institution on CHQ Assembly at assembly.chq.org 

 

*A book signing with Bird will immediately follow the event. 

 

Ticket holders for Mozart's Magic Flute (May 16, 18, 24 & 26) and Mozart’s Gran Partita (May 23 & 25) qualify for and can claim complimentary tickets for the festival’s keynote event.

 

Guest Speakers

Kai Bird, speaker 
Michael E. Hill, EdD, President of Chautauqua Institution, moderator
With musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra



About the Festival

Since its premiere in 1791, Mozart’s The Magic Flute has charmed audiences with its enchanting story and entrancing score. But beneath its magic bells, ominous serpents, vengeful queens, and mystical quests lies a carefully attuned study of power.

Reason, embodied by Enlightenment ideals that the Freemasons embraced, duals with superstition; science and wisdom vie with ignorance; and light combats darkness. Rising above them all, the power of love — for a companion, a child, a community, or humankind — has the unique ability to transcend these divides.

The second Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival delves into these competing forces — as they play out in Mozart’s beloved opera, as well as across nature, society, and within the state of humanity itself. Anchored by a new staged production of The Magic Flute featuring The Cleveland Orchestra, Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, and a cast of renowned singers, the festival will include a fascinating array of performances, conversations, and exhibitions. Over the course of two extended weekends from May 15 to May 26, 2024, community partners from across the Greater Cleveland area and luminaries from around the globe will come together to examine and debate many of the power structures embedded in our world today.

 

View Festival Page

Severance Hall, exterior of front entrance.

Severance Music Center

Severance Music Center is Cleveland’s home for symphonic music and other presentations, including Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Concert Hall and Reinberger Chamber Hall. We are strongly committed to making everyone feel welcome. The doors to Severance open three hours prior to most performances.

Learn More

 

Food & Beverage Services at Cleveland Orchestra Concerts

Severance Restaurant is temporarily closed.

Concessions* are available at the following times:

  • 2 hours prior to concert start: Opus Lounge, and Smith Lobby
  • 1 hour prior to concert start: Grand Foyer, Dress Circle, Box Lobby, and Ginn Suite
  • Intermission: Grand Foyer, Dress Circle, Box, Ginn Suite
  • Post Concert: Opus Lounge


    The Mandel Opera and Humanities Festival
  • May 13: Ginn Suite will be open 1 hour prior to concert start. There is no intermission for this event. 
  • May 18-19: Lotus Club and Ginn Suite will be closed

*Please note: Lotus Club will be closed for all May performances. Lotus Club guests are invited to the Ginn Suite for pre-show and intermission. All concessions are cashless. 

More about dining

Parking

 

The most convenient parking option is Case Western Reserve University's (CWRU) Lot 29 Campus Center Garage. The garage is located directly adjacent to Severance Music Center off East Boulevard, and provides stair and elevator access to the hall.

Availability is limited, and pre-paid parking passes for the garage can be added for select performances during checkout.

For more information about getting to Severance Music Center and where to park, please visit our Directions & Parking page.

Directions & Parking

Accessibility Services

Below is a list of the features and services that The Cleveland Orchestra has made available in the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Concert Hall at Severance for this concert.

 

Wheelchair Access & Seating

Our venue’s seating has reserved special areas for those attending with the use of a wheelchair. These seating options are available during your seat selection across seating price levels. Ushers are available to assist, especially in the event of a General Admission concert.

There is barrier-free entry to Severance Music Center with automatic sliding doors at our garage entrance on Lower Level One in the CWRU Campus Center Garage. There is an elevator for wheelchair access in the center of the garage for traveling from Lower Level Two (the lowest level) to Lower Level One (the level of our arrival entrance). The Euclid Avenue entrance to Severance is best suited for wheelchair entry, with a convenient drop-off area designated at the curb.

Companion Wheelchair Seating

Wheelchair companion seating is available for purchase online and through Severance Ticket Services. Look for a "C" shape on the seating map when making your selection. 

 

Assistance for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Infrared Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are available without charge for most performances in the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Concert Hall. Please request one in advance online or by calling the House Manager’s office. You will be asked to provide a driver’s license or ID card upon arrival, which will be held until the return of the device. Head Ushers can explain how to use the ALD.

Interpretive services may be available for certain events at Severance.  Prior arrangements should be made four weeks in advance. Appropriate seat locations may be necessary. TTY line access is available at the public pay phone in the Security Office located at the garage entrance.

 

Assistance for the Blind or Persons with Low Vision

Large Print Programs are available for most Cleveland Orchestra performances in the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Concert Hall.  These are available at the Coat Room locations or from Head Ushers on each level of the Concert Hall, and at Concert Previews.

For select vocal performances, Braille texts may be available on request with 2 weeks’ notice.

 

Service Animals

Trained guide dogs and service animals are welcome at Severance. If you have any questions, please contact the Ticket Office or the House Manager.

 

Restrooms

All Smith Lobby restrooms are fully accessible. In addition, private family-accessible restrooms are located in the Smith Lobby and off the Dress Circle Lobby.

 

Additional Information

The Cleveland Orchestra is strongly committed to making our facilities and performances accessible to all patrons. For more information regarding all of our accessibility services, please visit our Accessibility page.