CCM Welcomes Acclaimed Director Emma Griffin to its Opera Faculty

Please join us in welcoming Emma Griffin to CCM’s Department of Opera! Photography by Heather Phelps-Lipton.

Please join us in welcoming Emma Griffin to CCM’s Department of Opera! Photography by Heather Phelps-Lipton.

CCM Dean Peter Landgren has announced the appointment of stage director Emma Griffin to the faculty of CCM’s Department of Opera. Griffin joins CCM as Assistant Professor of Music in Opera/Directing beginning in August of 2014.

Lauded by the New York Times for her “intelligent staging,” Griffin earned her BFA in Theatre from New York University in 1994 and has served as adjunct faculty in directing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts since 1999.

She is the Artistic Director of the OBIE-award winning Salt Theater. Highlights with Salt include Stage Door where she was awarded a FringeNYC Excellence Award for Best Director, Rinne Groff’s Inky, The Cherry Orchard and Conquest of the Universe.

Griffin has also directed work at theaters such as Perseverance Theater, Geva Theater Center, Syracuse Stage, Southern Rep, Actor’s Express, Virginia Stage and Williamstown Theater Festival.

She is a frequent collaborator on new music and theater pieces, including Corey Dargel’s Removable Parts, which received an “Outstanding Performance Art Production” at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards and Thirteen Near Death Experiences; Susan Bernfield and Rachel Peters’ Stretch, a fantasia; and Phil Kline’s Out Cold & Zippo Songs at BAM’s Next Wave Festival.

Griffin’s opera credits include The Cunning Little Vixen and Wozzeck at the Opera Philadelphia/Curtis Opera Theater; I Capuleti e i Montecchi, The Rake’s Progress, Postcard from Morocco and The Magic Flute at Curtis Opera Theater; and Les Mamelles de Tirésias and The Cunning Little Vixen at Juilliard Opera. The New York Observer hailed her production of The Cunning Little Vixen as one of the “Top 10 Performances of 2013.”

Griffin is currently developing the performance piece Backstage Door with playwright Sybil Kempson and The Three Christs, a new work by composer Corey Dargel for the NEWSPEAK ensemble.

Learn more about CCM’s accomplished faculty by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/faculty.

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 Alumni Amanda Woodbury and John Holiday Named 2014 Sara Tucker Study Grant Recipients

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We are delighted to report that two CCM alumni – Amanda Woodbury (MM, 2012) and John Holiday (MM, 2012) – have been named 2014 Sara Tucker Grant Recipients by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation!

Soprano Amanda Woodbury, 25, is a member of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program at LA Opera and was a winner of the recent Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. She made her LA Opera debut as Micäela in Carmen and also appeared as Papagena in The Magic Flute. This summer she will make her debut at the Cincinnati May Festival as a soloist in the Mahler 8th Symphony and will join the Merola Opera at San Francisco Opera to sing Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She was a second place winner at the McCollum Competition in Houston and received degrees from Indiana University and CCM.

Counter-tenor John Holiday, 29, has been heard recently as Radamisto at the Juilliard School and will debut with Wolf Trap Opera this summer in the title role of Giulio Cesare and be heard this fall as the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas with LA Opera. He will also return to the St. Paul Chamber Festival in concert. Other recent engagements include Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” at Carnegie Hall with the Atlanta Symphony, covering Nereno in Giulio Cesare at the Met, and Glass’ Galileo Galilei at Cincinnati and Portland Opera. Holiday was an apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera and holds degrees from SMU and CCM. 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 Alumni Yi Li and Amanda Woodbury Named Grand Finalist Winners of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2014 National Council Auditions

From left to right, CCM alumni Yi Li and Amanda Woodbury.

From left to right, CCM alumni Yi Li and Amanda Woodbury.

CCM alumni Yi Li (AD, ’13) and Amanda Woodbury (MM, ’12) have been named Grand Finals Winners of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2014 National Council Auditions.

A tenor, Li is a member of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.

Woodbury, a soprano, is in her second year at the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera.

Li and Woodbury were among nine singers competing in the Met’s prestigious and highly competitive Grand Finals Concert this past Sunday, March 30. The finalists were accompanied by the Met Orchestra led by Marco Armiliato. You can learn more about all of the 2014 National Council Winners here.

This marks the second consecutive year that CCM trained singers have won the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions: bass-baritone Thomas Richards was named a Grand Finals Winner in 2013.

WQXR, New York’s Classical Music Radio Station, will broadcast performances and interviews with all of this year’s winners at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1. Learn more by visiting www.wqxr.org/#!/story/video-webcast-metropolitan-opera-national-council-award-winners.

Learn more courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer here.

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CCM Announces 2014 Opera Scholarship Competition Results

Five voice students were named winners of CCM 2014 Opera Scholarship Competition, which was held Saturday, March 15, in UC’s Corbett Auditorium. The annual competition welcomes current and incoming CCM voice students to compete for scholarships and cash prizes, and a panel of judges composed of opera industry professionals selects each year’s class of prizewinners.

The 2014 CCM Opera Scholarship Competition winners are:

Edward Nelson (Candidate – Artist Diploma)
From Saugus, Calif., studying with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Corbett Award ($15,000)
This award is supported by the Corbett Foundation in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. This award also guarantees a stage audition with New York City Opera.

Talya Lieberman (Candidate – Artist Diploma)
From Forest Hills, N.Y., studying with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Italo Tajo Memorial Award ($15,000)
This award is supported by the Italo Tajo Memorial Scholarship Fund (established by Mr. Tajo’s wife, Mrs. Inelda Tajo) in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Christopher Bozeka (Candidate – Master of Music)
From Akron, Ohio, studying with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Andrew White Memorial Award ($12,500)
This award is supported by the Andrew White Memorial Scholarship Fund in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Alec Carlson (Candidate – Master of Music)
From Red Oak, Iowa, studying with Kenneth Shaw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Seybold-Russell Award ($10,000)
This award is supported by the Seybold-Russell Scholarship Fund in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Jasmine Habersham (Candidate – Artist Diploma)
From Macon, Ga., studying William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the John Alexander Memorial Award ($10,000)
This award is sponsored by the John Alexander Memorial Scholarship Fund in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

The following students also received an award as part of the competition:

Jessica Faselt (Incoming – Master of Music)
From Iowa City, Iowa
Prize: Corbett Incentive Award for new Master of Music students ($2,000)
This award is supported by the Corbett Foundation in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Ann Toomey (Incoming – Master of Music)
From Shelby Township, Mich.
Prize: Corbett Incentive Award for new Master of Music students ($2,000)
This award is supported by the Corbett Foundation in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

The judges’ panel for CCM’s 2014 Opera Scholarship Competition included:

  • Cori Ellison, Chief Dramaturg of the Glyndbourne Festival and Dramaturg at American Lyric Theatre in New York;
  • Neal Goren, Artistic and General Director of the Gotham Chamber Opera in New York; and
  • Craig Terry, Music Director of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

About CCM Opera
The Department of Opera at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music boasts one of the most comprehensive training programs for opera singers, coaches and directors in the United States. Students at CCM work with some of the most renowned teachers and artists active in opera today.

CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Furthermore, CCM’s Mainstage and Studio Series of Opera have received some of the National Opera Association Production Competition’s highest honors throughout the years, taking home six of the 18 nonprofessional prizes awarded in 2010 and four prizes in 2011.

CCM Opera graduates have performed on the stages of the world’s greatest opera companies, including Cincinnati Opera, Metropolitan Opera (New York), Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera (London), La Scala (Italy) and more.

CCM’s 2013-14 opera season concludes next month with Donizetti’s beloved Don Pasquale (April 3-6), conducted by Mark Gibson with stage direction by Omer Ben-Seadia. Learn more about that production by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/donpasquale.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

CCM Welcomes Graham Johnson for Public Lecture and Master Class on March 26

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Acclaimed vocal accompanist Graham Johnson will in residence at CCM from March 25 – 30, 2014.

CCM welcomes distinguished pianist and Benjamin Britten scholar Graham Johnson for a public lecture and open master class beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26, in Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.

Johnson will provide a lecture on Britten’s life and solo vocal works for approximately one hour, followed by a 90 minute master class with three teams of CCM students. This event is free and open to the general public.

Recognized as one of the world’s leading vocal accompanists, Johnson will be in residence at CCM throughout the week as a part of this season’s Benjamin Britten Centenary Celebration.

About Graham Johnson
Graham Johnson is recognized as one of the world’s leading vocal accompanists. Born in Rhodesia, he came to London to study in 1967. After leaving the Royal Academy of Music his teachers included Gerald Moore and Geoffrey Parsons. In 1972 he was the official pianist at Peter Pears’ first master classes at The Maltings, Snape which brought him into contact with Benjamin Britten—a link which strengthened his determination to accompany. In 1976 he formed the Songmakers’ Almanac to explore neglected areas of piano-accompanied vocal music; the founder singers were Dame Felicity Lott, Ann Murray DBE, Anthony Rolfe Johnson and Richard Jackson—artists with whom he has established long and fruitful collaborations both on the concert platform and the recording studio. Some two hundred and fifty Songmakers’ programmes were presented over the years.

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CCM Opera Scholarship Competition Brings Bright Young Artists to the Stage on March 15

Corbett Auditorium

Corbett Auditorium

CCM invites local audiences to hear tomorrow’s opera stars today during its prestigious national competition from 10 a.m. until approximately 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, in UC’s Corbett Auditorium.

Twenty-five current and incoming young artists will compete for approximately $100,000 in tuition grants and $65,500 in other named awards, including the Corbett Award, Italo Tajo Memorial Award, Andrew White Memorial Award, Seybold-Russell Award and John Alexander Memorial Award. Each contestant will be judged on the basis of voice, acting, language, musicianship and style in a complete dramatic performance of an aria.

A panel of judges composed of world-renowned opera industry professionals will select the winners. The judges’ panel for this year’s competition includes:

  • Cori Ellison, Chief Dramaturg of the Glyndbourne Festival and Dramaturg at American Lyric Theatre in New York;
  • Neal Goren, Artistic and General Director of the Gotham Chamber Opera in New York; and
  • Craig Terry, Music Director of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The winners will be announced on Saturday afternoon, March 15, following the conclusion of the competition.

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CCM Presents Free Performances of Ravel’s ‘L’enfant et les Sortilèges’ Feb. 21-23

LEnfantSortilegesThe University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s award-winning undergraduate opera series (also known as “CCM Opera d’arte”) presents Maurice Ravel’s one-act opera L’Enfant et les Sortilèges from Feb. 21-23 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. Admission is free, but reservations are required.

The title of Ravel’s second opera, L’Enfant et les Sortilèges: Fantaisie lyrique en deux parties translates to The Child and the Spells: A Lyric Fantasy in Two Parts. The opera tells the story of a young boy who, after being scolded by his mother, throws a destructive tantrum in his room. He is then surprised to watch the furniture and decorations become plants and animals that begin to talk. The child is left to fend for himself in a garden of creatures that remember the harm he inflicted on them before they could speak. It is a fantastical voyage for the whole family that not only showcases vast imagination, but also reminds us of the consequences our actions can have.

Directed by CCM Professor of Voice Kenneth Shaw and CCM Assistant Professor of Voice Amy Johnson with music direction by Assistant Professor of Ensembles and Conducting Brett Scott, L’Enfant et les Sortileges is being produced in collaboration with UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP). This collaboration between CCM and DAAP grew largely from student interest, according to Shaw

“We met, developed ideas and then called on students to submit designs for sets and costumes. We selected aspects from three submissions and distilled the project into a Co-Op for DAAP position, filled by student Katie Iles,” Shaw explains. “The production presents the title role of the Child as a young, budding artist, so his paintings come to life, along with other inanimate objects. It’s just another dramatic device that seems to work well for this piece.

“Because each role, except for The Child, is brief,” Shaw continues, “our students can concentrate on their work and focus their energies more efficiently on singing well, acting with specificity and going beyond the normal human range of emotions into the world of the surreal.”

This production promises to bring light and warmth to an otherwise very chilly winter. Join Opera d’arte for a delightful escape!

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