Internationally acclaimed stage director Greg Eldridge joins CCM’s opera faculty

 

CCM Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of acclaimed stage director Greg Eldridge to the college’s roster of distinguished performing and media arts faculty members. Eldridge joins CCM as Associate Professor of Opera Directing.

Greg Eldridge. Photo/Andrej Uspenski

Greg Eldridge. Photo/Andrej Uspenski

Originally from Australia, Eldridge has worked on over 60 productions across eight countries at some of the world’s most famous opera houses. His work has been praised by critics for its “thoughtful and effective” staging, with “detailed characterizations and considered through-lines” a hallmark of his directing style.

A former recipient of a Bayreuth Scholarship from the Wagner Society of Victoria, Eldridge is one of only two people to have graduated from both of the world’s most prestigious opera directing programs – the Merola Program in San Francisco and the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme in the UK. He has received 5-star reviews for his work for the national opera companies of Australia, Iceland and the United Kingdom, and has been the recipient of awards including Most Outstanding Director (OperaChaser Awards, 2018) and Best Director (Broadway World Awards in Sydney, 2019).

After receiving the 2004 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Study of Philosophy, Eldridge studied Opera Directing at The Opera Studio Melbourne in Australia and the Accademia Europea di Firenze in Italy before relocating to the United Kingdom. After serving as Trainee Resident Director at The King’s Head Theatre in London, Eldridge worked on productions including I gioielli della Madonna for Opera Holland Park, all four operas of Der Ring des Nibelungen for Longborough Festival Opera, Così fan tutte for the Landestheater Rudolstadt and he became the youngest director ever engaged by the state opera company in his hometown when he directed Ludus Danielis for Victorian Opera.

In 2013, Eldridge became the youngest – and first Australian – director to join the young artist program of The Royal Opera, Covent Garden in London. There, he worked under luminary directors including Sir David McVicar, Sir Richard Eyre, John Copley and Kasper Holten, along with conductors including Sir Antonio Pappano, Mark Wigglesworth, Alexander Joel, Nicola Luisotti, Marc Minkowski, Ivor Bolton and Gianandrea Noseda. Eldridge has also worked alongside international opera stars including Jonas Kaufmann, Sondra Radvanovsky, Rolando Villazón, Sonya Yoncheva, Sir Bryn Terfel, Anne Sofie von Otter, Sir Willard White, Dame Sarah Conolly, Nina Stemme, Roberto Alagna, Denyce Graves, Angela Gheorghiu and many others.

In 2016, The Royal Opera created a new position especially for Eldridge – the Jette Parker Associate Director – and Eldridge joined the board of Stage Directors UK (SDUK), the industry body representing and advocating for directors of live theatre throughout the United Kingdom. During his time on the board, SDUK published papers exposing inequalities in the freelance artist sector, provided evidence-based studies to government bodies and authored a major report alongside the National Theatre, RADA and The Old Vic that provided recommendations for structural changes in the way arts training organizations and theatres engage with directors from underrepresented demographics.

Eldridge has contributed articles to publications including Limelight Magazine, The Guardian UK and OperaNow Magazine, and has given guest lectures at the Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and St John’s College Cambridge, among others. He holds an Exceptional Talent visa from the United Kingdom, and has been recognized as an Artist of Extraordinary Ability by the United States government.

“CCM’s Departments of Opera and Voice provide unparalleled training programs for singers, stage directors and opera coaches. Our students will benefit from Greg’s vast experience on the world stage,” said Romanstein. “I want to thank our search committee – which was co-chaired by Robin Guarino and Denton Yockey, and included Bill McGraw, Mary Stucky, Jim Gage and Mark Gibson – for their help identifying CCM’s next great opera faculty member.”

About CCM Opera

The Department of Opera at CCM 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 the field today.

CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, which is widely considered to be the nation’s most prestigious vocal competition. In 2019, soprano Elena Villalón (BM Voice, ’19) was named a Grand Finals Winner at the competition while she was still finishing her undergraduate degree at CCM. CCM’s other recent Grand Finals Winners include Jessica Faselt (MM Voice, ’16) in 2018, Amanda Woodbury (MM Voice, ’12) and Yi Li (AD Opera, ’13) in 2014 and Thomas Richards (MM Voice, ’13) in 2013. At least two CCM singers advanced to the Upper Midwest Regional Auditions in this year’s Met National Council Auditions: artist diploma students Amber Monroe and Teresa Perrotta.

CCM singers also recently won awards in other prestigious national competitions. Jessica Faselt won a $10,000 award and Alisa Jordheim (DMA Voice, ’15; MM Voice,’ 10) won a $1,000 Encouragement award at the 2020 George London Foundation Awards Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers. Jasmine Habersham (AD Opera, 2015; MM Voice, 2013) won the silver medal in the 2020 American Traditions Vocal Competition. Edward Nelson (BM Voice, 2011; MM Voice, 2013) won first prize at the 2020 Glyndebourne Opera Cup. Perrotta also advanced to the finals of the 2020 Lotte Lenya Competition.

In addition, CCM Opera productions have received some of the National Opera Association Production Competition’s highest honors throughout the years.

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.

Learn more at ccm.uc.edu.


Featured image at top: A production photo of La scala di seta directed by Greg Eldridge at Royal Opera House Covent Garden London. Photo/Holly Pigot

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Watch: CCM Alumnus Edward Nelson Wins Glyndebourne Opera Cup

CCM alumnus Edward Nelson (BM Voice, 2011; MM Voice, 2013) took home the first prize award at the 2020 Glyndebourne Opera Cup, an international competition designed to discover and spotlight the best young opera singers from around the world. Dame Janet Baker, the competition’s honorary president, gave Nelson his trophy, which was inspired by the golden lyre that Baker used in Glyndebourne’s 1982 production of Orfeo ed Euridice.

This prize includes £15,000 (about $18,400 in U.S. currency) and the guarantee of a professional role at a top international opera house. The members of the deciding jury included opera legends Sumi Jo, Sir Thomas Allen and Dame Felicity Lott, as well as other industry professionals.

Following preliminary rounds in Cape Town, Berlin, London, Milan, Paris, Vienna and New York, six singers advanced to compete in the Glyndebourne Opera Cup final, accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Nelson performed two dramatic arias from Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet before sealing his win with a spectacular performance of “Largo al factotum” from The Barber of Seville. His winning performance is available to watch online at YouTube.

Nelson recently made his European debut with the Norwegian premiere of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande at the Norwegian National Opera. His performances were well-reviewed, despite his having learned the role in just four weeks. Bachtrack.com said that “Nelson impressed with a ringing baritone, excellent French diction and a surprisingly easy top [register].”

This season, Nelson appears with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Vancouver Opera as Figaro in The Barber of Seville, with San Francisco Opera as Bosun in Billy Budd and with the Saint Louis Symphony in Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem. Read more about Nelson’s professional accomplishments.


Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

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CCM Voice Alumnae Named 2019 Sara Tucker Study Grant Recipients

Each year, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation awards the Sara Tucker Study Grant to singers, selected through a vocal competition, who are recently out of the university or conservatory and are considered to be at the beginning of promising careers. This year’s recipients include two recent UC College-Conservatory of Music alumnae: Kayleigh Decker (MM Voice, 2017) and Jessica Faselt (MM Voice, 2016).

Mezzo-soprano Kayleigh Decker began her 2018-19 season as an ensemble member of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her mainstage work in the company’s season includes Dorothée in Cendrillon and Cretan Woman No. 2 in Idomeneo, both under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis. She also covers Idamante in Idomeneo and Prince Charmant in Cendrillon. The 2017-18 season included two title role debuts for Decker: La Cenerentola with Queen City Opera, and Ariodante with CCM Opera. She was also a Schwab Vocal Rising Star with Caramoor and the New York Festival of Song. Decker has been a young artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Utah Festival Opera and the Houston Grand Opera Young Artists Vocal Academy. At Carnegie Hall, as a part of the Weill Music Institute, she has been a participant in the Joyce DiDonato Masterclass Series, as well as in the inaugural SongStudio, under the auspices of Renée Fleming. Decker has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacDowell Society, the Three Arts Scholarship Fund and the CCM Opera Scholarship Competition. She was awarded the Faustina Hurlbutt Grant and the Louis and Marguerite Bloomberg Greenwood Grant from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

American soprano Jessica Faselt hails from Iowa. She is currently in her first year of the Lindemann Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera, where she made her debut as the Novice in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and her Met: Live in HDdebut as Helmwige in Wagner’s Die Walküre. Opera Index recently awarded her the Tito Cappobiano Memorial Award. Faselt was a winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, performing with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the Grand Final Concert. As a Studio Artist at Florida Grand Opera, she covered the title roles of Richard Strauss’s Salome and Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. She was a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, covering the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos. Faselt completed her masters degree at CCM where she was the recipient of the prestigious Corbett Award, and received her bachelor of music from the University of Iowa with honors.

You can learn more about current and past grant recipients here.

About the Richard Tucker Music Foundation
Founded in 1975, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is a non-profit cultural organization that honors the artistic legacy of the great American tenor through support of talented American opera singers and by bringing opera into the community.

The Foundation seeks to heighten appreciation for opera by offering free performances in the New York Metropolitan area and by supporting music education enrichment programs.

Through an awards program that offers grants for study, performance opportunities and other career-enhancing activities the Foundation provides professional development for singers at several levels of career-readiness. Learn more by visiting https://richardtucker.org/.
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Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

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The Robert J. Werner Recital Hall at UC's College-Conservatory of Music.

CCM Announces Memorial Service for Alumna and Former Faculty Member Barbara Clark (Paver)

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) will celebrate the life and teaching legacy of Barbara Clark (Paver), DMA, in a memorial service scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, in CCM’s Robert J. Werner Recital Hall. A reception in the Baur Room will follow. A video stream of the service will be available at ccm.uc.edu/resources/technology/barbaraclarkmemorial. A CCM alumna and a beloved member of our faculty from 2004-13, Clark passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 2, 2018.

CCM alumna and former faculty member Barbara Clark (Paver).

CCM alumna and former faculty member Barbara Clark (Paver).

Most recently an Associate Professor of Voice and Chair of Voice at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Clark began her teaching career at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York. A highly-regarded teacher and artist, Clark taught a generation of students, many of whom are now performing in leading opera houses and festivals all over the world. Blessed with a lustrous, beautiful voice and a keen intelligence, she was also a sought-after soprano soloist who enjoyed a distinguished performing career. She will be remembered as a gifted teacher and mentor, a compassionate and generous friend known by all for both her good humor, and her kind and loving nature.

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Clark received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Arizona and a master’s and doctorate from CCM. She was a treasured aunt and sister, and is survived by her sisters Susan Clark Joul and Jill Meiburg, and her brother Robert Clark. In addition, she is survived by her beloved niece Ivy Brooke Joul, and nephews Henry, Sebastian, and Maxwell Meiburg. She is also survived by brothers-in-law Thomas Meiburg and Kent Joul, in addition to her many current and former students.

The CCM community sends its deepest condolences to Clark’s family and friends. Her impact on her family, students and colleagues remains immeasurable.

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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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Voice Alumni Compete in 2017 Met Opera National Council Auditions Semi-Final

Four UC College-Conservatory of Music alumni will compete in the Semi-Final round of the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, which will take place in New York on Sunday, March 12.

The prestigious competition for young singers has four rounds: District, Regional, Semi-Final and Final. Ten of the semi-finalists will move on to the final round, where five of them will be pronounced winners. Each winner receives $15,000, and the other finalists receive $5,000 each. This year’s final round will take place on Sunday, March 19 on the stage of the Met Opera.

The four CCM alumni who will participate in the Met Council Semi-Finals are Jessica Faselt, soprano (MM Voice, 2016); Summer Hassan, soprano (MM Voice, 2014); Andrew Manea, baritone (MM Voice, 2016); and Cody Quattlebaum, bass-baritone (BM Voice, 2015). Read their bios below to learn more about these outstanding young musicians.

Known for her “keen expression and impressive delivery” (Music in Cincinnati), soprano Jessica Faselt hails from Iowa. Faselt completed her master’s degree at CCM, where she was the recipient of the Corbett Award, and she earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of Iowa. Faselt has sung with the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, studying with mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick, and will return there in 2017. She was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2015 and was engaged there in 2016 to cover the role of Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos. Other roles include: Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Hanna in The Merry Widow, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito and Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw.

Soprano Summer Hassan is a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. She made her company debut in 2014 as the Second Lady in Dido and Aeneas and returned as the Ghost Quartet Soprano in The Ghosts of Versailles in 2015. Her LA Opera appearances in the 2015/16 season include the Second Lady in The Magic Flute.  Recent performances include Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle under the baton of Placido Domingo, as well as Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the Colburn Orchestra. She was featured as Musetta in Wolf Trap Opera’s 2016 production of La Bohème and in recital with Steven Blier at The Barns at Wolf Trap. Ms. Hassan made her Carnegie Hall debut as Second Niece in Britten’s Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony, and in 2014 she made her debut as the Second Lady in The Magic Flute with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis where she was a Gerdine Young Artist. Other roles have included Mimì in La Bohème, Betty in The Threepenny Opera and Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito. She received her Master of Music from CCM and her Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory.

Lauded for his, “charming…robust baritone…,” Romanian-American baritone Andrew G. Manea has been continually rising to the top of the opera world at an impressively young age. Andrew’s recent roles include Marcello in La Bohème, No. 7 in Transformations, Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen, Escamillo in Carmen, Danilo in The Merry Widow and the Father in Hansel and Gretel. In a very successful 2016 season, Andrew was awarded first place and audience favorite in the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Competition with Shreveport Opera, second place and audience favorite in the Opera Columbus Cooper-Bing International Vocal Competition, Finalist in the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition and he was a Career Grant recipient in the Giulio Gari Foundation Competition. Continuing to rise to success, Andrew has been awarded a position as a new member of the San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship program. This coming season at San Francisco Opera, he will be performing Marullo in Rigoletto, covering Marcello in La Bohème, performing Marchese d’Obigny in La Traviata, performing in a world premiere of John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West and performing a Schwabacher Debut Recital with esteemed pianist Warren Jones. Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a master’s degree from the CCM, where he studied with Bill McGraw.

Bass-baritone Cody Quattlebaum from Ellicott City, Maryland, is currently earning a Master of Music in Voice Performance at the Juilliard School. He received his bachelor’s degree from CCM. He has performed Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Lautsprecher in Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Der Fischer in Matsukaze, Melisso in Alcina and Colonel in a premier workshop of Daniel Catán’s Meet John Doe. He recently performed Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte with Merola Opera. He won the Seybold-Russell Award in the 2015 Corbett Opera competition, first place and “Audience Favorite” award at the 2016 James Toland competition and second place in the 2016 Gerda Lissner Liederkranz competition. He recently performed Claudio in Handel’s Agrippina in Alice Tully Hall and Wilson Theater in New York City. He will also perform under the baton of Maestro Michael Morgan with the Oakland Symphony next season.

About the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions
The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers. Known as the venue for the world’s greatest voices, the Metropolitan Opera holds National Council Auditions throughout the United States and Canada each year. The goal of the National Council Auditions is to discover promising young singers, give singers from around the country a chance to be heard by the major opera companies of the U.S. and Canada, and find potential participants for the Lindemann Young Artist Development program, an opera training program sponsored by the Met.

For more than six decades, this competition for exceptionally talented singers from across the country has helped launch the careers of some of opera’s greatest stars, including Stephanie Blythe, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Patricia Racette and Deborah Voigt — as well as, more recently, Lawrence Brownlee and Angela Meade.

View a full list of this year’s National Council Auditions Grand Finals Winners at www.metopera.org/about/auditions/nationalcouncil.

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