CCM Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra perform Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610. Photo by Andrew Higley/University of Cincinnati.

CCM Performances Make Critics’ “Best of 2014” Lists

In case you missed it, Music for All Seasons Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Enquirer and Music in Cincinnati have each published “year in review” stories, looking back on the great performances of 2014.

Rafael de Acha selected 10 special performances from 2014 for Music for All Seasons Cincinnati, including:

  • Professor Emeritus Frank Weinstock‘s return to the CCM stage as part of the 2014 Bearcat Piano Festival;
  • Guest artist Andreas Scholl‘s all-Lieder recital at CCM;
  • CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Les Misérables, which “won them a fine judgment from judicious lovers of the musical,” according to de Acha;
  • CCM’s Studio Series production of Chabrier’s L’ étoile;
  • CCM’s Opera d’arte Series production of Ravel’s L’ enfant et les sortilèges;
  • and CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Don Pasquale, directed by the-graudate student Omer Ben-Seadia, who was in “full command of the style that infuses the spirit of Donizetti’s masterpiece,” by de Acha’s estimation.

Janelle Gelfand picked her 14 highlights of 2014 for the Enquirer, including:

Mary Ellyn Hutton widened her selection to 21 highlights for 2014 for Music In Cincinnati, including:

The magic continues in 2015, as CCM presents over 125 major public performances during UC’s Spring Semester, beginning with a faculty artist recital by Pat Linhart and Julie Spangler on Sunday, Jan. 18, and concluding with the CCM Prep Jazz Extravaganza concert on Sunday, May 17!

See a full schedule of events at ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/notations-ovations/spring-2015-calendar-of-events!

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CCM's Mainstage Production of HANSEL AND GRETEL. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’ Receives Glowing Reviews

CCM's Mainstage Production of HANSEL AND GRETEL. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Production of HANSEL AND GRETEL. Photography by Mark Lyons.

The critics have weighed in with unanimous praise for CCM’s recent production of Hansel and Gretel!

In her review of the fairy tale opera for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Janelle Gelfand calls the production “magical” and “breathtaking.” She singles out the performance of the CCM Philharmonia, writing that “you could get lost in the glowing orchestral score, so beautifully led by Mark Gibson.”

Mary Ellyn Hutton‘s review for Music in Cincinnati was similarly enthusiastic. “Highlights of the performance were many,” she writes, “One was the prayer scene… where Hansel and Gretel knelt and sang, with snow falling in the background. Another came during the dream pantomime… where the 14 angels, all children, cavorted on an angelic playground, with a swing, a seesaw and bicycles hanging over the stage, as the children looked on.”

Rafael de Acha calls the production a “sweet treat” in his review for Seen and Heard InternationalRobin Guarino sets the story during the Depression in America,” he observes, “but surprisingly, this setting undermines neither the lush Romanticism of the music nor the innocent fairytale story, and the results are nothing but happy.”

Hansel and Gretel concluded its run on Sunday, Nov.  23. CCM’s Opera Season resumes in February with a Studio Series production of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea running Feb. 20-22 and a CCM Opera d’arte Series production of Handel’s Alcina running Feb. 27 – March 1.

The season concludes April 9 – 12 with a Mainstage Series production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, conducted by Mark Gibson with stage direction by Robin Guarino.

Last fall, Guarino directed the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Così fan tutte, which also served as James Levine’s highly anticipated return to the Met. In his review of the opera for the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini noted that “Guarino worked with this cast of gifted actors to inflect their characters with telling comic bits and hapless human touches.”

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CCM alumnus Carmine Miranda. Photography by Cody Vickers.

CCM Alumnus Carmine Miranda Releases New Album to Rave Reviews

Album cover for Carmine Miranda's recording of Piatti's 12 Caprices.CCM alumnus and current doctoral candidate Carmine Miranda (BM Violoncello, 2010; MM Violoncello, 2012) is making waves with his latest recording project, which unearths Carlo Alfredo Piatti’s 12 Caprices for solo cello. This Navona Records release is already receiving rave reviews from music critics around the world.

“Piatti (1822-1901) was a renowned virtuoso and teacher whose name had faded into obscurity – except to cellists, who know his 12 Caprices from their studies,” explains Mary Ellyn Hutton in her review for Music in Cincinnati. “Miranda… seeks to return them to the active repertoire, to take their place beside Niccolo Paganini’s Caprices for Solo Violin and Bach’s Suites for Solo Cello and not treated ‘as mere etudes’,” she continues.

Fanfare Magazine describes the album as, “incredible performances of works that should interest every cellist and that should be in the library of anyone who appreciates the cello and hearing it played by a consummate master like Carmine Miranda.”

According to CCN, “at a mere 25 years of age, this recording places Carmine Miranda as the youngest cellist to professionally record and release this repertoire worldwide.”

Miranda’s Piatti: 12 Caprices for Solo Cello is available now through Amazon, iTunes, Classics Online, Spotify and the Naxos Music Library. Learn more about the album by visiting http://navonarecords.com.

About Carmine Miranda
Born in Valencia in 1988 to Italian immigrants and moving to the United States at an early age, Carmine Miranda is a Venezuelan/American cellist, international soloist and recording artist. Miranda began his musical studies at the age of seven at the Carabobo State Music Conservatory in Venezuela, where he studied his first years of Theory and Solfege, finally graduating from the Private Institute of Musical Education or I.P.E.M. He studied cello with cellists Luisa Fuentes, Valmore Nieves and William Molina, at the Latin-American Academy of Violoncello, and the Simon Bolivar Conservatory of Music (the institution that spawned the famous “El Sistema”). At the same time he was a member of the National Youth Orchestra and the Orchestra of Beethoven under the direction of maestro Giuseppe Sinoppoli.

At CCM, he studied with Lee Fiser and Yehuda Hanani, obtaining a Bachelors of Arts in music, Masters Degree and Doctorate’s degree candidacy. He has participated in several music competitions as a soloist and chamber player winning several recognitions and awards at a national and international level.

An avid soloist, Miranda has performed with several chamber ensembles, orchestras and has performed in prominent concert halls and music festivals including Carnegie Hall, the Aula Magna Hall (one of the largest and most important halls in Latin America), Bowdoin Music Festival, Close Encounters with Music Series in Great Barrington, NY, among others. Miranda has collaborated with recognized international artists such as Yehuda Hanani, Awadagin Pratt, Rodolfo Saglimbeni, Spanish composer Luis Serrano Alarcón and Grammy Nominated composer Michael Hoppé.

At the age of 22, Miranda recorded the Six Cello Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach under the label Centaur Records, joining the ranks of the youngest in the world to record the entire work. In 2013 Carmine completed the United States premiere of Nikita Koshkin’s “L’istesso Tempo” composition for cello and guitar. He was also selected to represent the University of Cincinnati as a soloist for a multi-state American tour with the CCM Wind Orchestra culminating with an opening night performance at the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) National Conference in North Carolina’s Aycock Auditorium. Currently Miranda is a recording artist for Parma Navona Records and plays on a 2005 Jules Azzi cello made in New York City.

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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.

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CCM Review Round-Up: ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘El Niño’

The critics can’t stop talking about CCM’s productions of Les Misérables and El Niño! Catch up with the latest “buzz” in today’s review round-up!

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical "Les Misérables," playing Feb. 27 - March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical “Les Misérables,” playing Feb. 27 – March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

  • Rick Pender calls CCM’s new production of Les Misérables “magnificent” in his CityBeat review, concluding, “Peeled back to its raw essence, CCM’s staging of Les Misérables is powerful and memorable, one of the best musical theater productions on a Cincinnati stage this season.” Read the full review here.
  • Paige Malott reviews the production for iSPYCiNCY and observes, “Capturing the larger-than-life Les Misérables with perfection, CCM put on a better-than-Broadway performance that is guaranteed 2-4-6-0-fun.” Read the full review here.
  • In his Talkin’ Broadway review, Scott Cain explains, “Musicals presented at… CCM always feature splendidly talented student performers who rarely disappoint. Their current production, Les Misérables, is no exception and does showcase many stunning voices and meticulously detailed acting.” Read the full review here.
  • In his review for The Sappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard suggests, “I’ve seen a lot of shows in Cincinnati over the last couple of years… [and] CCM’s Les Misérables just might be the greatest production I’ve ever seen.” Read the full review here.
  • Rafael de Acha reviews the production for Seen and Heard International and writes, “Keeping the entire undertaking tightly reined in and mercifully devoid of any Broadway clichés, [Aubrey] Berg delivers a fresh and finely-wrought production.” Read the full review here.
  • Emily Begely reviews Les Misérables for UC’s News Record and concludes, “An exemplary cast, a familiar plot and simple props created an unforgettable work of art.” Read the full review here.
Earl Rivers leads the CCM Philharmonia in a rehearsal for John Adams' EL NINO. Photography by Lisa Ventre/University of Cincinnati.

Earl Rivers leads the CCM Philharmonia in a rehearsal for John Adams’ EL NINO. Photography by Lisa Ventre/University of Cincinnati.

  • Janelle Gelfand reviews CCM’s “powerful” performance of John Adams’ El Niño for the Cincinnati Enquirer, and observes, “[Earl] Rivers balanced the work’s intimate emotions against powerful ones, propelled tempos well and drew excellent playing from the orchestra.” Read her full review here.
  • Mary Ellyn Hutton reviews El Niño for ConcertoNet and writes, “John Adams’ oratorio El Niño had its regional premiere in Cincinnati March 2, and it couldn’t have been in better hands. ” Read the full review here.

Performances of Les Misérables resume this evening (Tuesday, March 4) and run through Sunday, March 9. Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/lesmiserables.

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The Ariel Quartet’s Beethoven Cycle Opens to Rave Reviews

ArielQuartetPortraits

The Ariel Quartet‘s complete tour of Beethoven’s string quartets commenced last evening and the opening performance of The Cycle was met with rave reviews!

In her write-up for Music in Cincinnati, Mary Ellyn Hutton writes, “Evident at once in any performance by the Ariel Quartet are the differing personalities of its members. Kazovsky is sweeping and demonstrative. Gershon is pointed and elegant. Violist Grüning radiates confidence and control, while cellist Even-Tov is animated, with facial expressions to match. And how beautifully they come together to make music.” Read the full review here.

In her review for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Janelle Gelfand writes, “One could marvel at their pinpoint attack and cutoffs, performed for maximum dramatic effect, sometimes with flinging bows. The slow movement was phrased with profound beauty, and the players breathed together as one.” Read the full review here.

iSPYCiNCY.com also provides a video teaser for “The Cycle” in its recap of CCM’s Moveable Feast. Watch the video here.

Earlier this week, CityBeat published an in-depth feature on the Ariel Quartet’s Beethoven Cycle. Read the full article here.

“The Cycle” continues at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25 Thursday, Feb. 20. Learn more about the performance here.

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CCM Performances and Collaborations Highlighted on Several “Best of 2013” Lists

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As we ring in a new year, several local arts writers have released their “year in review” lists for 2013. Rafael de Acha, Mary Ellyn Hutton, Kirk Sheppard, Rick Pender and Janelle Gelfand help us take a look back at the year that was:

In his “best of” roundup for Music for All Seasons, Rafael de Acha commented, “(CCM) consistently achieves professional level in its numerous productions of operas, musicals and concerts which approached the four-digit mark this past year.” Last spring’s original production of Into a Lamplit Room: The Songs of Kurt Weill and the recent concert production of Verdi’s Don Carlos, along with CCM’s Mainstage Series productions of Singin’ in the Rain and Owen Wingrave, all received special mention in de Acha’s review.

Mary Ellyn Hutton presented her top 16 performances for Music in Cincinnati, which included three CCM productions: Verdi’s Don Carlos, Bach’s St. John Passion and Britten’s Owen Wingrave. Of Verdi’s Don Carlos, Hutton commented, “This gets my vote as perhaps the single finest concert of 2013 in Cincinnati.”

Compiled for The Snappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard‘s list of favorite theatre productions of 2013 included last spring’s Mainstage production of The Threepenny Opera and the Studio production of Parade produced in collaboration with the Carnegie in Covington. This past fall’s CCM productions of Carrie and Singin’ in the Rain also made Sheppard’s list.

Rick Pender included two CCM productions in his 2013 round up of theatre in Cincinnati for CityBeat. Last spring’s co-production of Parade with the Carnegie and the recent Mainstage production of Singin’ in the Rain received special attention.

Janelle Gelfand also included CCM’s massive concert production of Don Carlos in her list of “Top 13 Classical Music Shows in 2013” for the Cincinnati Enquirer. In addition to her performance-specific list, she published a summary of “arts highlights” for the year, which included the work of the MYCincinnati after-school program in East Price Hill (learn more about CCM’s connection to the organization here) and the new partnership between Cincinnati’s World Piano Competition, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and CCM.

What were your favorite performances of 2013? What are you looking forward to most in 2014? Get a first look at what’s coming up at CCM in 2014 here!

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CCM’s ‘Owen Wingrave’ Hailed As ‘Breathtaking,’ ‘Immaculate’ and a ‘Triumph’ By Critics!

CCM's Mainstage Series production of Benjamin Britten's OWEN WINGRAVE runs Nov. 21 - 24 in Patricia Corbett Theater. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Benjamin Britten’s OWEN WINGRAVE runs Nov. 21 – 24 in Patricia Corbett Theater. Photography by Mark Lyons.

The critics are still talking about CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Benjamin Britten’s rarely-seen opera Owen Wingrave!

Janelle Gelfand calls the production “breathtaking” in her review for the Cincinnati Enquirer and suggests that CCM’s mounting “brought clarity to an opera that has been nearly forgotten since its debut on British television in 1971.” Read the full review here.

Mary Ellyn Hutton calls the production a “triumph” in her Music In Cincinnati review, declaring, “The production was by all measures outstanding, one which enveloped the listener like few in recent memory in Cincinnati.” Read the full review here.

Rafael de Acha calls the production “immaculate” in his Music for All Seasons review, observing that CCM has “mounted a strong, streamlined, subtle, sober and somber production, lit by the bright performances of a youthful troupe.” Read the full review here.

If you missed out on this gem of a production, then mark your calendars now for early 2014. CCM’s Studio Opera series presents a FREE production of Chabrier’s L’étoile from Feb. 14 – 16, conducted by Stefano Sarzani with stage direction by Robin Guarino.

CCM’s Mainstage Series also resumes in February with Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, directed by guest artist D. Lynn Meyers, followed by the iconic musical  Les Misérables! Tickets to these and dozens of other performances are on sale now!

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CCM Professor Miguel Roig-Francolí’s Compositions Receive New York Premiere at Carnegie Hall on Nov. 17

Miguel A. Roig-Francolí Professor, Music Theory & Composition, College-Conservatory of Music. photo/Lisa Ventre

Miguel A. Roig-Francolí Professor, Music Theory & Composition, College-Conservatory of Music. photo/Lisa Ventre

New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall will host a unique birthday celebration on Sunday, Nov. 17, as pianist Adam Kent and special guests present an evening of music by CCM Professor of Music Theory and Composition Miguel Roig-Francolí, presented in honor of the composer’s 60th anniversary.

The program will include the New York City premieres of Roig-Francolí’s Cinco Canciones con los Ojos Cerrados for soprano and piano, Sonata for violoncello and piano, and Songs of Light and Darkness for piano trio. Cincinnati audiences received a preview of this program at CCM on Oct. 8.

As Roig-Francolí explained to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Janelle Gelfand, “A monographic Carnegie Hall recital is a very exciting event for any musician, let alone a composer – the type of event that happens only every 60 years, if it does at all. So I feel fortunate, grateful, humbled and excited that several institutions and a fabulous roster of performers have teamed together to make this possible.”

The Carnegie Hall performance will feature Jennifer Roig-Francolí, violin; Julia MacLaine, cello; Abigail Santos Villalobos, soprano; Adam Kent, piano; and the Damocles Trio (Airi Yoshioka, violin; Sibylle Johner, cello; Adam Kent, piano).

Mary Ellyn Hutton called the Oct. 8 preview performance “engrossing” in her review for Music in Cincinnati, commenting that “each work on the program was directly appealing and was marked by superb craftsmanship and vibrant color.” You can read Hutton’s full review of the concert at www.musicincincinnati.com.

Learn more about the Carnegie Hall performance courtesy of Cincinnati.com. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, in the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York. For more information, or to purchase tickets to the Carnegie Hall performance, visit www.carnegiehall.org.

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CCM Slideshows: Don Carlos

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CCM’s 2013-14 Concert Series opened in grand fashion this past Sunday with the American premiere of the uncut 1867 Paris Opera version of Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlos.

In her review for ConcertoNet: The Classical Music Network, Mary Ellyn Hutton called the performance “an amazing accomplishment” and remarked that “the voices were uniformly outstanding.”

In his review for Seen and Heard International, Rafael de Acha observed, “The CCM orchestra and choruses do top-notch work in this challenging and lengthy assignment, playing passionately and when needed providing grounding accompaniment for the singers.”

Our Concert Series continues this week with an “Anniversary” themed performance by the CCM Wind Orchestra on Friday, Sept. 27, and a CCM Jazz tribute to the Rolling Stones on Sunday, Sept. 29.

For a complete calendar of events or to view CCM’s 2013-14 season brochure, visit ccm.uc.edu.

UC’s College Conservatory of Music – Define Your Inspiration

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