CCM Alumnus Todd Almond Hosts Free Master Class on Nov. 22

Alumnus Todd Almond studied voice and drama while at CCM.

Alumnus Todd Almond studied voice and drama while at CCM.

CCM welcomes distinguished alumnus Todd Almond (BM, 99) for a free master class from 10:10 a.m. until 12:10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. This event is open to the general public.

Almond will detail his journey from the University of Cincinnati to New York City and will answer questions about his professional career. Since graduating, he has recorded five albums of original music, written musicals (including Girlfriend, People Like Us, On the Levee) and created original community-based productions of Odyssey for the Old Globe Theatre and The Tempest in Central Park for the Public Theatre.

He will perform some excerpts from his original works during Friday’s master class, too. You can listen to music from Almond’s last albums at www.toddalmond.com/audio.

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‘CityBeat’ and Cincinnati.com Preview Upcoming CCM Opera Productions

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Pick up today’s edition of Cincinnati CityBeat for a first look at both this week’s regional premiere of Benjamin Britten’s opera Owen Wingrave and next Tuesday’s public reading of the Opera Fusion new work Fellow Travelers.

When asked about the scenic design of Owen Wingrave, stage director Kenneth Shaw tells CityBeat‘s Anne Arenstein, “We’re doing a lot with light and suggestions of scenery. Our student designers are incredible. We do this kind of transition all the time here.”

You can read the full CityBeat feature online here and view a first look at CCM student Gabriel Firestone‘s scenic designs for Owen Wingrave in the slideshow above.

Read Shaw’s Q&A with the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s Janelle Gelfand here.

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CCM’s Departments of Jazz Studies and Musical Theatre Present Duke Ellington’s ‘Nutcracker Suite’ and Holiday Concert on Nov. 24

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CCM’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band team up with CCM Musical Theatre dancers to present Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite and Holiday Concert at 2 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, in Corbett Auditorium.

This swinging seasonal favorite features stunning new choreography by Diane Lala and musical direction by Scott Belck and Dominic Marino. Back by popular demand, this powerful partnership presents two performances this season.

Duke Ellington recorded The Nutcracker Suite for the Columbia label in 1960, featuring jazz interpretations of well-known melodies by Tchaikovsky.

Of collaborating with Belck, Lala says, “When he asked if I wanted to do the Nutcracker Swing with him, I jumped at the chance. It is a great opportunity for our musical theatre students to be able to dance with such a wonderful band.” View an excerpt from last year’s concert below.

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‘Cincinnati Enquirer’ and ‘News Record’ Preview CCM’s Fall Dance Concert

'The Kingdom of the Shades' photography by Will Brenner.

‘The Kingdom of the Shades’ photography by Will Brenner.

Both the Cincinnati Enquirer and the News Record provide extensive previews of this weekend’s Fall Dance Concert, featuring George Balanchine’s Serenade and other masterworks. Running Nov. 16 and 17, this concert kicks off CCM Dance’s 50th anniversary celebration!

Learn more about the history of Serenade courtesy of David Lyman and the Cincinnati Enquirer here.

Learn more about the rest of the Fall Dance Concert’s program courtesy of Emily Begley and the News Record here.

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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.

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CCM Lighting Design Student Receives Electronic Theatre Controls’ 2013 Student Sponsorship Award

Lighting Design graduate student Angelina Vyushkova.

Lighting Design graduate student Angelina Vyushkova.

Congratulations to MFA Lighting Design candidate Angelina Vyushkova on receiving Electronic Theatre Controls‘ (ETC) 2013 LDI Student Sponsorship. Now in its 14th year, this program awards exceptional lighting design and stage technology students an all-expense-paid trip to the LDI 2013 trade show, where they will get a behind-the-scenes look at new technology and get to network with industry professionals.

Vyushkova and six other sponsorship recipients are also matched with industry luminaries, who offer individual support, advice and encouragement to the students as they launch their careers. You can learn more about ETC’s 2013 LDI Student Sponsorship recipients here.

Now a CCM graduate student, Vyushkova received a bachelor of fine arts with an emphasis on theatre design and production from Texas Christian University in 2012. Originally from Russia, she earned a diploma from Perm Art College #1 in 2004. Her light designs have been seen on stage at the Hardy and Betty Sanders Theatre, the W.E. Scott Theatre, and Bass Hall in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Performance Details Announced for Free Public Reading of 2013 Opera Fusion: New Works Residency

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Cincinnati Opera and CCM’s Department of Opera are pleased to announce performance details for the free public reading of the 2013 Opera Fusion: New Works residency Fellow Travelers. The reading will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, in the Small Auditorium of the Cincinnati Masonic Center. The event is free, but reservations through the Cincinnati Opera box office are required.

Fellow Travelers, composed by Gregory Spears with a libretto by Greg Pierce, will be in workshop in Cincinnati from Nov. 17-26, 2013. Pierce’s libretto is adapted from the best-selling 2007 novel by Thomas Mallon. The director of the work is Kevin Newbury, who directed Cincinnati Opera’s 2007 production of Nixon in China. CCM Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Studies Mark Gibson will conduct. G. Sterling Zinsmeyer is the executive producer of Fellow Travelers.

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Experience CCM’s Department of Dance In Concert This Weekend!

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Celebrate the kick-off of CCM Dance’s 50th anniversary with an exciting program of mixed repertoire on Nov. 16 and 17! This concert showcases George Balanchine’s masterpiece SERENADE, set to music by Tchaikovsky and staged by guest répétiteur and Balanchine authority Joysanne Sidimus.

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CCM Presents Cincinnati Premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Opera ‘Owen Wingrave,’ Nov. 21-24

From left to right: Edward Nelson as Owen Wingrave and Jason Weisinger as General Sir Phillip Wingrave in 'Owen Wingrave.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

From left to right: Edward Nelson as Owen Wingrave and Jason Weisinger as General Sir Phillip Wingrave in ‘Owen Wingrave.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s celebration of Benjamin Britten at 100 continues with the Cincinnati premiere of the composer’s penultimate opera Owen Wingrave, running Nov. 21-24 in Patricia Corbett Theater. CCM welcomes guest artist and alumnus Johannes Müller-Stosch to the podium for this Mainstage Series production, which features stage direction by CCM Professor of Voice Kenneth Shaw. The opera will be sung in English with supertitles.

Based on the 1893 Henry James short story of the same name and commissioned by the BBC in 1966, Owen Wingrave was completed for television in 1970. With music by Britten and a libretto by his frequent collaborator Myfanwy Piper, Shaw suggests that the opera offers “both drama and a touch of lightness, horror and hope, mystery and atmosphere, grandeur and intimacy.”

Owen Wingrave 
is often regarded as one of Britten’s most powerful scores. According to Shaw, the music of Owen Wingrave is exceptionally challenging, making it ideal for training students. The opera story is equally compelling and is centered on the titular Owen Wingrave, a pacifist born into a long line of military heroes who struggles to prove his inner strength to his disapproving family, even if it leads to his own mysterious end. “A secret is something that has resonance for all of us,” Shaw explains. “We keep secrets, and secrets are kept from us. For the Wingrave family, their secret doesn’t really have a full answer – it is a mystery.”

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CCM Drama Student Recognized by League of Cincinnati Theatres

Senior drama major Shaun Sutton.

Senior drama major Shaun Sutton.

We are thrilled to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized featured actor (and fourth year drama major) Shaun Sutton for his work in the CCM/Carnegie co-production Boeing Boeing!

Boeing Boeing is a comic farce featuring the antics of Bernard, a playboy who has juggled his romances with three beautiful flight attendants until a change in their schedules brings them to his flat all on the same night. Panelists particularly praised Shaun Sutton’s “impressive” portrayal of Robert, Bernard’s friend: “His use of facial expressions and body really helped sell the physical comedy of the role.” You can learn more about Sutton here.

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