The three operas offer contrasting insights into the extremes of human relationships. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music presents the annual showcase of its young operatic stars-of-tomorrow with CCM’s Undergraduate Opera d’arte performances on Friday, Feb. 2 through Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 in Cohen Family Studio Theater. This year features a triple bill of Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Telephone and a rarely-performed production of Marc Bucci’s Tale for a Deaf Ear.

Each short opera is connected by themes of romantic love, but the works address different stages of a relationship; Trouble in Tahiti shows the decline of a marriage, The Telephone depicts the beginning of courtship, and Tale for a Deaf Ear illustrates the devastating finale of more than just a marriage. The shows are tied together not only by subject matter but also by an Ed Sullivan-style emcee who will address the audience between operas.

This production of Trouble in Tahiti is part of CCM’s yearlong celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centenary — one of the most comprehensive Leonard Bernstein at 100 festivals in the world. Bernstein wrote the work, which he considered a musical theatre piece, during his honeymoon in 1951. He had just finished composing On the Town, and he would finish Candide and West Side Story later in the 1950s.

“The music is evocative of the radio commercials of the time, especially in the jazz trio,” says Kenneth Shaw, CCM professor of voice and co-producer of this triple bill. “It serves as sort of a modern day Greek chorus by commenting on the sad story with upbeat ‘perfect picture’ music, which describes the ideal suburban life so many Americans were pursuing at that time.”

As Shaw and the triple bill’s director Amy Johnson searched for other short operas to present with Trouble in Tahiti, they found an article about a 1957 double bill by the New York City Opera that featured Bernstein’s work and Bucci’s Tale for a Deaf Ear. They were captivated by the story and the music. It took months of digging, with the help of the head of CCM’s Library, Jenny Doctor, to locate Bucci’s son and, with him, the orchestral score for Tale for a Deaf Ear.

According to the research of Shaw, Johnson and Doctor, this will only be the fourth presentation of the opera. The previous presentations were its premiere in 1954 at Tanglewood, a 1957 production by New York City Opera and a 1999 production at New York’s Center for Contemporary Opera.

“We sincerely hope our production of this work will bring it into its rightful place in the lexicon of American opera,” Shaw says. “We are giving it a much larger audience by placing this triple bill into the National Opera Association’s Opera Production Competition. This is the same competition in which several of our previous productions have won honors, including last year’s second place win for Albert Herring.”

Admission to CCM’s Undergraduate Opera d’arte triple bill is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, January 29 and can be reserved in person at the CCM Box Office or by calling 513-556-4183. Reservations are limited to two tickets apiece.

Music and libretto by Leonard Bernstein

Music and words by Gian Carlo Menotti

Music and lyrics by Marc Bucci

Creative Team

  • Brett Scott, conductor
  • Amy Johnson, stage director and co-producer
  • Kenneth Shaw, co-producer
  • Gabriela Sam, assistant stage director

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Friday Feb. 2
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4

Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village,
University of Cincinnati

Admission is free. Reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Jan. 29. Please visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

Visit for CCM Box Office hours and location.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Opera d’arte Sponsor: Rafael & Kimberly Daniel de Acha Foundation

Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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