Samson McCrady in the title role of CCM's Mainstage Production of "Gianni Schicchi," directed by Andreas Hager.

CCM Opera and Voice Alumni Win Prestigious Fellowships

Samson McCrady in the title role of CCM's Mainstage Production of "Gianni Schicchi," directed by Andreas Hager.

CCM Voice alumnus Samson McCrady in the title role of CCM’s Mainstage Production of Gianni Schicchi, directed by CCM Opera alumnus Andreas Hager.

Two of CCM’s stars of tomorrow recently received prestigious positions in the world of opera. Alumnus Andreas Hager (AD Opera Directing, 2018) was awarded one of two JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Stage Director Fellowships from the National Opera Association. Additionally, Washington National Opera selected CCM Voice alumnus Samson McCrady, baritone, to fill one of only 11 spots for vocalists in its prestigious Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Cincinnati audiences saw their artistry in action during CCM’s recent Mainstage production of Gianni Schicchi, in which McCrady performed the title role and Hager directed.

Hager was selected as a JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Stage Director Fellow for his summer 2018 work with Wolf Trap Opera, during which he will assist on productions of Idomeneo and Rigoletto. The fellowship includes a stipend to attend an opera stage directing program, and the opportunity to offer a presentation on their fellowship experience at a subsequent NOA National Conference.

Hager’s directorial work spans opera, film, theatre and alternate reality games. Recent directing credits include Il barbiere di Siviglia (Houston Grand Opera), Gianni Schicchi (CCM) and La belle Hélène (Opera North). In addition, he has worked with Opera Philadelphia, the New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati Opera and Opera Columbus. He recently graduated from CCM with an Artist Diploma in Opera Directing and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Cinema Studies from Oberlin College, where he also studied piano performance. He is a winner of Opera America’s Director-Designer Showcase and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.

As a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist, McCrady will perform the roles of Elk/Camel/Butcher in Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me, Wagner in Gounod’s Faust and Sciarrone in Puccini’s Tosca during the Washington National Opera’s 2018-19 season. McCrady will also sing in WNO’s “A Concert of Comic Masterpieces.”

Because many young artists return for a second season, the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program only accepts a handful of new vocalists each season. This year the program welcomed seven new singers and four returning singers, as well as one new and one returning pianist, out of hundreds of applicants.

The artists in this program have an abundance of performance opportunities, including extensive performances at the Kennedy Center and in community-oriented events. They participate in the WNO’s major performances as supporting characters, including free preview performances that will be live streamed on the Kennedy Center’s website.

McCrady and the other Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists will also perform in recitals in Washington, D.C. art galleries and museums, as well as a series of master classes at the Kennedy Center and elsewhere. They will be seen onstage during the WNO’s American Opera Initiative Festival, during which they will have the opportunity to work with living composers and librettists on brand-new works.

Additionally, the program has an exchange program with Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre Young Artists Opera Program, which includes a few students from each program visiting the other and performing with their newfound peers.  Next summer, the WNO will send several of its young artists to Moscow for this exchange, culminating in two concerts with the Bolshoi Theatre’s young artists.

During his time at CCM, McCrady studied with Voice Professor Bill McGraw. He performed the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, the King of Scotland in Handel’s Ariodante and Jesus in a staged version of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Outside of CCM, McCrady performed the Mandarin in a semi-staged version of Puccini’s Turandot (Kentucky Symphony Orchestra), Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Queen City Opera), Edward G. Robinson in Robert Xavier-Rodriguez’s Frida (Cincinnati Opera) and Geronimo in Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto (Cincinnati Chamber Opera). Before he came to CCM, McCrady received a Bachelor of Music from Roberts Wesleyan College.

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CCM Behind-the-Scenes: Directors’ Notes for ‘Suor Angelica’ + ‘Gianni Schicchi’

CCM pairs two of Puccini’s most popular operas Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi for its next Mainstage production on March 22-25.

CCM pairs two of Giacomo Puccini‘s most popular operas Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi for its next Mainstage production, which opens this Thursday, March 22, and continues through Sunday, March 25, 2018. These two operas highlight Puccini’s mastery of emotional storytelling, each sharing two contrasting tales about moral hypocrisy and greed.

CCM graduate students direct each production; Meredith Kitz directs Suor Angelica while Andreas Hager directs Gianni Schicchi. These young directors are not only challenged with mounting top-notch productions, but also have the added difficulty of presenting two distinct operas as a cohesive show.

Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi work well together because they are so different,” says Hager. “The former takes religion and social order very seriously, while the latter completely skewers the awful and rich Donati family. In Suor Angelica, God is the moral compass, but Gianni Schicchi is about flesh and desire, with both the good and bad urges in every human.”

Tickets for CCM Opera’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schcchi are available now through the CCM Box Office.

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You can read more about the productions in the directors’ notes below:

Puccini’s Suor Angelica tells a story of faith, redemption and unconditional love. Under the ever-watchful eye of the Virgin Mary, a cloistered community faces the the daily toil of life in service of God and the greater good. Any longing for the outside world is left behind, and the encouragement to grow in relationship to God is brought to life in pastoral beauty. When a bitter presence thrusts harsh reality into this delicate atmosphere, will mercy and forgiveness provide the respite and salvation these women seek?

Suor Angelica asks us to see beyond desires and material attachments and surrender to a love that is greater than anything this world has to offer — a love that transcends life itself.

– Meredith Kitz, director of Suor Angelica


Firenze è come un albero fiorito,
che in piazza dei Signori ha tronco e
Ma le radici forze nuove apportano
delle convalli limpide e feconde

Florence is like a flowering tree,
With trunk and branches in the piazza,
But the roots draw new strength
From the clear and fertile valleys.

So sings the lover Rinuccio, begging his narrow-minded family to allow him to marry his girlfriend. The problem: his family does not want him to associate with “newcomers,” as his aunt refers to the non-native born. The aria morphs into a sweeping ode to immigration and the exchange of cultures. Who brought the great arts and sciences to Florence? Arnolfo, Giotto and the Medici were all born outside the city, Rinuccio reminds them.

The family rejects this and doesn’t warm to the marriage until the girl’s father, the titular Gianni Schicchi, crafts a plot to forge a new will and help them inherit their dead uncle’s money. It’s a masterful study in hypocrisy, all the more remarkable because it remains lighthearted and effervescent.

Like the best of Shakespeare, Gianni Schicchi transcends its time period and national distinctions. We recognize each one of the characters onstage. Composed during the final years of World War I, the opera questions the stability of a fossilized world order but also concedes that a rejuvenated and more diverse society will only emerge through a bit of trickery. If the moral lesson is muddied, Gianni Schicchi certainly gets at a fundamental truth: it’s fun to watch the wicked fall.

– Andreas Hager, director of Gianni Schicchi

Suor Angelica will last 1 hour and will be followed by a 15-minute intermission. Gianni Schicchi will last 1 hour. View the program booklet online here.


  • Mark Gibson, conductor
  • Meredith Kitz, director (Suor Angelica)*
  • Andreas Hager, director (Gianni Schicchi)*
  • Theron Wineinger, scenic designer*
  • Oliver Tidwell Littleton, lighting designer*
  • Rin Marie Schwob, hair and make-up designer*
  • Sidney Martin, props master*
  • Hankyu Lee, sound designer*
  • Chelsea D. Taylor, stage manager (Suor Angelica)*
  • Margo Leist, stage manager (Gianni Schicchi)*
  • Ashley Trujilo, costume designer*
  • Marie-France Lefebvre, musical preparation

*CCM student


  • Caitlin Gotimer*, Nicolette Book^ as Sister Angelica
  • Amber Fasquelle*, Karis Tucker^ as The Princess
  • Brenda Iglesias-Zarco as The Abbess
  • Briana Moynihan as The Monitress
  • Mia Athey as The Mistress of the Novices
  • Claire Lopatka*, Allison Anderson^ as Sister Genovieffa
  • Hannah Consenz as Sister Osmina
  • Madeline Jentsch as Sister Dolcina
  • Rebecca Printz as The Nursing Sister
  • Amber R. Monroe as Alms Sister 1
  • Victoria Okafor as Alms Sister 2
  • Amanda Olea as Novice
  • Yewoon Yeon as Lay Sister 1
  • Natalie Sheppard as Lay Sister 2
  • Mercer May Barton as Griffin


  • Jonathan Stinson*, Samson McCrady^ as Gianni Schicchi
  • Teresa Perrotta*, Lisa Rogali^ as Lauretta
  • Brandon Scott Russell*, Chandler Johnson^ as Rinuccio
  • Rebecca Printz*, Abigail Hoyt^ as Zita
  • Dongwhi (Tony) Baek*, Tyler Jonson^ as Gherardo
  • Murrella Parton*, Amy Joy Stephens^ as Nella
  • Daniel Roger Lefebvre Chaitkin as Gherardino
  • John Siarris*, Antonio Cruz^ as Betto di Signa
  • Michael Hyatt as Simone
  • Zane Hill as Marco
  • Briana Moynihan as La Ciesca
  • Antonio Cruz*, John Siarris^ as Maestro Spinelloccio
  • Miles Wilson-Toliver as Ser Amantio di Nicolao
  • Joshua Cook as Pinellino
  • De’Ron McDaniel as Guccio

* Thursday, March 22 & Saturday, March 24
^ Friday, March 23 & Sunday, March 25


  • 8 p.m. Thursday, March 22
  • 8 p.m. Friday, March 23
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, March 24
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, March 25

Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village,
University of Cincinnati

Tickets are $31-35 for adults, $22-25 for non-UC students and $18-21 for UC students with a valid ID. Student rush tickets will be sold one hour before each performance to non-UC students for $12 or $15, based on availability. UC students can receive one free student rush ticket with a valid ID, based on availability.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at

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
Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s
Opera Department Sponsor: Mr. & Mrs. Edward S. Rosenthal
Opera Production Sponsor: Genevieve Smith

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CCM’s 2017-18 Season Brochure Now Available In Print and Online

Welcome to CCM’s Sesquicentennial Performance Season!

The cover to CCM's 2017-18 Season Brochure.This season, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding with an unparalleled series of performances and special events designed to highlight a tradition of innovation and excellence dating back to 1867.

The history of CCM’s success involves three institutions separate in their origins but united by a common cause: the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the College of Music of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati. Sometimes partners and sometimes rivals, these three institutions would eventually join forces to establish one of the world’s premier schools for the performing and media arts.

In the year ahead, we will look back on CCM’s illustrious history, celebrate the careers of our impressive alumni and showcase the talents of our incredible students and faculty members. We look forward to welcoming you to the CCM Village to experience our ongoing history, the artistry of our alumni and a chance to experience the stars of tomorrow.

Download a digital copy of CCM’s 2017-18 brochure today (7.1 MB). Physical copies are also available at the CCM Box Office.

Subscription and flex ticket packages are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. For more details about CCM’s 2017-18 performance schedule, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 or visit

Learn more about CCM’s Sesquicentennial by visiting

This is our story. This is your season.
Join us for a celebration 150 years in the making!

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CCM Presents Staged Version of Bach’s ‘St. Matthew Passion’

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music will showcase J.S. Bach’s monumental St. Matthew Passion at Cincinnati’s Christ Church Cathedral at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 9. Conducted by CCM Director of Choral Studies Earl Rivers with stage direction from artist diploma candidate Andreas Hager, the performance features faculty artist Daniel Weeks and student aria soloists.

Known for its stunning choruses, interplay between recitative and aria and sublime storytelling, St. Matthew Passion has made an enduring mark in music history as a sublime example of a musical setting of the passion story. Thanks in part to a grant from the Cambridge Charitable Foundation, CCM’s staged performance illuminates the dramatic intensity of this Baroque masterwork, which retells the compelling story of the events leading up to the trial of Jesus, his crucifixion and burial.

“Bach was interested in the spiritual drama of the crucifixion, not only of Jesus but of society,” said Hager, a first-year artist diploma candidate in opera stage direction. “Our production explores the moral culpability we all face living in a complex world. From Judas to Peter to Pilate — no one can escape from the consequences of their choices.”

“Our production is spare and minimalist, allowing the full force of Bach’s music to take the forefront.”

The CCM Chamber Choir, Cincinnati Children’s Choir and CCM Philharmonia will combine forces to perform this massive work. To make this work come to life on stage, the CCM production emphasizes the piece’s storylines by designating arias to specific characters.

The story is presented by a narrator called the Evangelist, played by faculty artist Daniel Weeks, tenor, with student soloists as Jesus (Samson McCrady, bass-baritone), Pilate (Christian Pursell, baritone) and aria singers (Ashley Fabian and Jackie Stevens, sopranos; Reilly Nelson and Paulina Villarreal, mezzo-sopranos; Thomas J. Capobianco, tenor and Eric Shane Heatley and Joseph Mazzara, baritones).

CCM has a long history with St. Matthew Passion, which dates back to a February 1970 performance that featured alumna Kathleen Battle (MM Voice, 1971) singing the aria, “Aus liebe.” The college most recently performed the work in November, 2011. This staged performance, held at Cincinnati’s St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, was the first of its kind in the Midwest.

Join us for CCM’s latest production of this iconic masterwork. St. Matthew Passion will be performed at 3 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 9 at Christ Church Cathedral, located at 318 East Fourth Street.

Performance Date
3 p.m. Sunday, April 9

Christ Church Cathedral
318 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45246

Purchasing Tickets
Single tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for non-UC students and FREE for UC students with valid ID.

Single tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online now through our e-Box Office! Visit for CCM Box Office hours and location.

Christ Church Cathedral is located at the corners of Fourth and Sycamore Streets in Cincinnati, Ohio. For directions and additional information, please refer to

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

Sponsored by the Cambridge Charitable Foundation

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