Announcing CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series of Opera, Musical Theatre and Drama

'Metamorphoses,' from CCM's acclaimed 2013-14 Mainstage Series.

‘Metamorphoses,’ from CCM’s acclaimed 2013-14 Mainstage Series.

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is pleased to announce initial details for its 2014-15 Mainstage Series of opera, musical theatre and drama productions.

The 2014-15 Mainstage Series features a dazzling collection of both classic and contemporary masterworks, including a gender-bending new production of Shakespeare’s gripping tragedy Macbeth, an extended run of the high-energy romantic-comedy Legally Blonde – The Musical and a magical production of the opera Hänsel and Gretel.

In early 2015, CCM’s student and faculty artists will also present Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and zeitgeist-dominating The Heidi Chronicles and a soaring musical production of Peter Pan. Mozart’s Così fan tutte will close out the series, with a new production directed by Robin Guarino, who recently staged this masterpiece at the Metropolitan Opera.

This year’s must-see Mainstage Series features six fully staged works guaranteed to fill audiences with delight, with performances scheduled from Oct. 1, 2014, through April 12, 2015. All performances take place in the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Cincinnati campus.

Production and ticketing details are below. Priority subscription packages go on sale May 2014. Single tickets become available in August, but subscribing is the only way to guarantee your seats for these must-see shows!

Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/subscribe to register for CCM’s mailing list, and the Box Office will provide you with additional information on this year’s subscription options.

Additional Information
Titles and dates are subject to change—rights pending. To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183. For additional information, visit ccm.uc.edu, email boxoff@uc.edu or call the Box Office.

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CCM’s Orchestra Series Closes the Season with its Annual Concerto Concert on Friday, April 11

The CCM Philharmonia

Photography by Jing Huan.

CCM’s Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra proudly presents its Annual Concerto Concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 11, in Patricia Corbett Theater.

Under the direction of Professor of Music Mark Gibson, the concert will feature the winners of CCM’s 2014 Concerto Competition: Xue Su, Patrick Sykes and Travis Peplinski.

The concert’s program will include three pieces: Leonard Bernstein’s Halil, conducted by Mercedes Diaz García; Richard Strauss’ Duet-Concertino for Clarinet, Bassoon, Strings and Harp, conducted by Michael Goist; and Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 102 in B-Flat Major, conducted by Yael Front. Continue reading

CCM Slideshows: Don Pasquale

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Mary Ellyn Hutton calls CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Don Pasquale a “fast-moving delight start to finish, with beautiful singing, lively acting and a lovely-to-look-at, period production” in her review for the Cincinnati Enquirer! Read the full review here.

This week’s issue of CityBeat features an excellent profile of Don Pasquale‘s director, CCM graduate student Omer Ben-Seadia. You can read that Anne Arenstein-penned story online here.

Don Pasquale plays through this Sunday, April 6, and tickets are still available. Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/donpasquale. Continue reading

CCM’s Mainstage Opera Series Presents Donizetti’s ‘Don Pasquale’ April 3-6

William Tvrdik as the title character in CCM's Mainstage Series production of 'Don Pasquale.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

William Tvrdik as the title character in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of ‘Don Pasquale.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Opera Series proudly presents Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale from April 3–6 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. This beloved opera buffa is conducted by Mark Gibson with stage direction by accomplished artist’s diploma student Omer Ben-Seadia. The opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.

A comedic masterpiece that has captivated audiences since its 1843 premiere, Don Pasquale remains one of the most popular of Donizetti’s nearly 70 operas. On its surface, the opera details the plight of Ernesto, who fights to follow his heart rather than marry the woman his haughty old uncle Don Pasquale thinks he should. Outraged, the lifelong bachelor Pasquale decides to cut Ernesto out of his will and simply father his own heir, instead! A series of uproarious twists and turns ensues as a raucous ensemble of characters begin to take over the Pasquale homestead.

While it is easy to root for Ernesto and true love to prevail, Ben-Seadia suggests that it is Don Pasquale who serves as the true hero of this opera. She explains, “With all that is at stake, Pasquale is the one willing to risk it all… not just for love but for life. Sure we love to see him fail, but after all is said and done we look at Pasquale not with pity, but with the hope that he in fact will try again.”

Don Pasquale's house staff. Photography by Tom Umfrid.

Don Pasquale’s house staff. Photography by Tom Umfrid.

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CCM Welcomes Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society for New Year Concert on Feb. 15

Jin Shan performs the matouqin, or horse-head fiddle.

Jin Shan performs the matouqin, or horse-head fiddle.

The Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society (GCCMS) presents its 13th annual Chinese New Year Concert at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 15, in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium. This unique event celebrates the increasing cultural diversity in the tri-state region with music from East and West.

Conducted by CCM’s Director of Orchestral Studies Mark Gibson, the CCM Philharmonia kicks off the celebratory concert with the much-anticipated masterpiece The Grand Canal Symphonic Suite by Chinese American composer Zhou Tian.

The Grand Canal Symphonic Suite tells a story of history, culture and lives along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the longest canal in the world. This piece was selected as theme music for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

The soul of the concert emerges from the performance by Matouqin virtuoso Jin Shan, highlighting the concert’s theme: Melodies of the Prairie. A traditional bowed stringed instrument, the Matouqin produces an extraordinary sound, like a wild horse neighing, or a breeze in the grasslands. Jin Shan has performed at numerous national and international concerts and events, whose astounding performance frequently earned him standing ovations.

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Annunziata Tomaro Returns to the CCM Podium

Annunziata Tomaro and the Concert Orchestra at CCM's 2012 Moveable Feast. Photography by Dottie Stover.

Annunziata Tomaro and the Concert Orchestra at CCM’s 2012 Moveable Feast. Photography by Dottie Stover.

CCM welcomes Assistant Professor of Conducting Annunziata Tomaro back to the podium for a celebratory concert beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, in Corbett Auditorium. Tickets are on sale now.

After a year and a half hiatus, Tomaro makes her homecoming debut conducting CCM’s acclaimed Concert Orchestra in an unforgettable evening of music, with works by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Édouard Lalo, featuring the winner of the CCM Cello Concerto Competition, Yang Liu. “It’s wonderful being with the students again,” Tomaro says. “They are playing their hearts out in this music!”

The opening piece of the program will be Modest Mussorgsky’s introduction to his opera Khovanshchina. Audience members will also be delighted to hear Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, “Pathétique,” his final completed symphony (Opp. 75–80 were published after Tchaikovsky’s death).

And lastly, audience members will be treated to Édouard Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D Minor, featuring  Cello Concerto Competition winner Yang Liu, a student of CCM Professor of Violoncello Yehuda Hanani. Lalo wrote his Cello Concerto in D minor in 1876, in collaboration with Parisian cellist Adolphe Fischer. The work was premiered the following year at the Cirque d’Hiver with Fischer as soloist.

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CCM Performances and Collaborations Highlighted on Several “Best of 2013″ Lists

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As we ring in a new year, several local arts writers have released their “year in review” lists for 2013. Rafael de Acha, Mary Ellyn Hutton, Kirk Sheppard, Rick Pender and Janelle Gelfand help us take a look back at the year that was:

In his “best of” roundup for Music for All Seasons, Rafael de Acha commented, “(CCM) consistently achieves professional level in its numerous productions of operas, musicals and concerts which approached the four-digit mark this past year.” Last spring’s original production of Into a Lamplit Room: The Songs of Kurt Weill and the recent concert production of Verdi’s Don Carlos, along with CCM’s Mainstage Series productions of Singin’ in the Rain and Owen Wingrave, all received special mention in de Acha’s review.

Mary Ellyn Hutton presented her top 16 performances for Music in Cincinnati, which included three CCM productions: Verdi’s Don Carlos, Bach’s St. John Passion and Britten’s Owen Wingrave. Of Verdi’s Don Carlos, Hutton commented, “This gets my vote as perhaps the single finest concert of 2013 in Cincinnati.”

Compiled for The Snappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard‘s list of favorite theatre productions of 2013 included last spring’s Mainstage production of The Threepenny Opera and the Studio production of Parade produced in collaboration with the Carnegie in Covington. This past fall’s CCM productions of Carrie and Singin’ in the Rain also made Sheppard’s list.

Rick Pender included two CCM productions in his 2013 round up of theatre in Cincinnati for CityBeat. Last spring’s co-production of Parade with the Carnegie and the recent Mainstage production of Singin’ in the Rain received special attention.

Janelle Gelfand also included CCM’s massive concert production of Don Carlos in her list of “Top 13 Classical Music Shows in 2013″ for the Cincinnati Enquirer. In addition to her performance-specific list, she published a summary of “arts highlights” for the year, which included the work of the MYCincinnati after-school program in East Price Hill (learn more about CCM’s connection to the organization here) and the new partnership between Cincinnati’s World Piano Competition, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and CCM.

What were your favorite performances of 2013? What are you looking forward to most in 2014? Get a first look at what’s coming up at CCM in 2014 here!

CCM Announces Spring 2014 Calendar of Major Events

Download CCM's Spring 2014 Calendar Booklet today.

Download CCM’s Spring 2014 Calendar Booklet today.

UPDATED March 7, 2014: CCM is delighted to announce its spring 2014 schedule of major events. The largest single source of performing arts events in the state of Ohio, CCM presents nearly 150 major public performances from Jan. 12 through May 18, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully supported opera, musical theatre, drama and dance productions.

Highlights of CCM’s spring concert series include the return of Cincinnati’s premiere fundraiser “A Moveable Feast” on Jan. 17, the Ariel Quartet’s Beethoven Cycle running Jan. 23 – March 29, a performance of Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle by guest artists Gerald Finley and Julius Drake on Feb. 5, the fifth annual Bearcat Piano Festival running Feb. 6 – 11, the 17th annual PRISM concert on Feb. 23, a performance of John Adams’ El Niño on March 2 and a celebration of the music of jazz legend Thelonius Monk on March 9.

CCM’s Mainstage Series also continues in early 2014 with a production of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, directed by guest artist D. Lynn Meyers, running Feb. 5 – 9; the CCM debut of the iconic musical Les Misérables, running Feb. 27 – March 9;  Donizett’s comedic opera Don Pasquale, running April 3–6; and the quintessential romantic ballet Giselle, running April 17–19.

Learn more about these and dozens of other performing and media-arts events by referring to the list below. You can also view a digital copy of CCM’s Spring 2014 Calendar Booklet here.

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CCM Concert Orchestra Presents Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 on Nov. 26

Guest conductor Ken Lam with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra at the Memphis Symphony Orchestra International Competition in May 2011.

Guest conductor Ken Lam with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra at the Memphis Symphony Orchestra International Competition in May 2011.

On the heels of last season’s acclaimed Beethoven Festival, CCM’s Concert Orchestra performs Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 under the direction of guest conductor Ken Lam at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, in Corbett Auditorium.

Beethoven’s eighth symphony was composed in 1812 and is generally light-hearted, including various passages often interpreted by listeners as musical jokes.

Hindemith’s virtuoso turn for viola solo, Der Schwanendreher, will round out the program with medieval German folk melodies.

CCM’s celebration of the music of Beethoven will continue throughout 2014 as the internationally acclaimed Ariel Quartet presents its first complete cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets in January, February and March. You can learn more about this momentous undertaking by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/arielsubscription.

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CCM’s Britten Centenary Celebration Culminates with Birthday Concert on Nov. 22

Britten rehearsing 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' Op. 64, in Jubilee Hall in 1960. Image courtesy of www.britten100.org

Britten rehearsing ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ Op. 64, in Jubilee Hall in 1960. Image courtesy of http://www.britten100.org

CCM commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer, conductor and pianist Benjamin Britten with a celebratory concert on Friday, Nov. 22.

Under the baton of Mark Gibson, Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Studies, the CCM Philharmonia will present Britten’s orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, narrated by special guest Santa J. Ono, President of the University of Cincinnati.

One of Britten’s best-known pieces, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34 (1946), is a musical composition that was originally commissioned for an educational  documentary film called Instruments of the Orchestra, directed by Muir Mathieson and featuring the London Symphony. It is one of the three popularly used scores in children’s music education, along with Saint Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.

Audience members may recognize this showpiece from the 2012 Wes Anderson film Moonrise Kingdom. Music drawn from Britten’s opera for children, Noye’s Fludde, and his Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, played an integral role in the movie’s conception and can be heard throughout the film. Watch Anderson discuss Britten’s influence here.

The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra is not only one of Britten’s most played pieces but — in its original, 1940s film version — was a highly significant attempt to use the media of the day to introduce children to classical music. View a newly animated version of the showpiece below:

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The evening will also feature Britten’s Violin Concerto, Op. 15 (1939), a highly original piece that foreshadows the composer’s work on the famed opera Peter Grimes (1945).

In addition, the program includes Sir Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the work that brought him to national prominence upon its production by Hans Richter at St. James’ Hall, London, in June of 1899. Like Britten, Elgar holds a place at the helm of his respective generation of British composers. Continue reading