CCM Village at night. Photo by Jay Yocis.

CCM Celebrates 150th Anniversary With Must-See Mainstage Series

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) marks the 150th anniversary of its founding with a year-long Sesquicentennial Celebration beginning in the fall of 2017. Commemorating a tradition of innovation and excellence dating back to the founding of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 1867, CCM’s Sesquicentennial programming includes eight must-see masterworks presented as part of the 2017-18 Mainstage Series.

Click the graphic for more information.

Click the graphic for more information.

Between Sept. 27, 2017, and April 14, 2018, CCM’s stars of tomorrow and world-class faculty and staff members will stage eight diverse productions. This year’s Mainstage Series includes cherished classics like William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Leonard Bernstein’s Candide and Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar.

CCM’s Sesquicentennial lineup also includes an opera double-bill featuring Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, two mixed-repertoire ballet productions and the Mainstage Series debuts of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens’ Seussical and Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information.

The Mainstage Series is just one part of the yearlong CCM Sesquicentennial Celebration, which will also include world premieres, guest artist performances, a series of off-campus concerts and a one-of-a-kind alumni showcase event. For an initial overview of CCM’s 150th anniversary programming, please visit ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/notations-ovations/sesquicentennial-celebration.

The complete 2017-18 Mainstage Series lineup is listed below. Titles and dates are subject to change – rights pending. For the most current calendar of events, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.

Additional Information
Single tickets go on sale beginning Sept. 5, 2017, but subscribing is the best way to guarantee your seats for CCM’s Mainstage Series! Fully customizable renewal subscriptions are on sale now with priority seating before July 7, 2017. Subscription packages for new subscribers go on sale July 10, 2017.

To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 or boxoff@uc.edu.
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CCM’S 150TH ANNIVERSARY MAINSTAGE SERIES
Acting, Musical Theatre, Opera, Dance

HAMLET
Written by William Shakespeare
Susan Felder, director

CCM’s anniversary season opens with one of Shakespeare’s most classic tragedies. Hamlet returns from college to find something rotten in his hometown. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues between Hamlet and his uncle, the King. Shakespeare’s thriller plunges audiences into the madness of family disillusionment, lost romance, betrayal, murder, suicide and the existential question of what it means to be human. “What a piece of work is a man!”

Performance Dates: Sept. 27 (preview), Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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SEUSSICAL
Book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Co-conceived by Eric Idle
Based on the works of Dr. Seuss
Vince DeGeorge, director and co-choreographer
Luke Flood, musical director
Christopher Kelley, co-choreographer

The CCM Sesquicentennial celebrates the work of distinguished alumnus Stephen Flaherty (BM Composition, 1982)! Now one of the most performed shows in America, Seussical is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza. The Tony Award-winning team of Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Anastasia, Once on This Island, Ragtime) have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and a little boy with a big imagination – Jojo. This colorful cast of characters transports us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos.

Performance Dates: Oct. 19-22 and Oct. 25-29, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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CANDIDE
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Book by Hugh Wheeler, after Voltaire
Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John La Touche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Leonard Bernstein
Mark Gibson, conductor
Emma Griffin, director

CCM at 150 celebrates Leonard Bernstein at 100! Now lauded as one of Bernstein’s most characteristic theatrical creations, CCM’s stars of tomorrow proudly present Candide as part of a world-wide celebration leading up to Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday. Crossing the boundaries between opera, operetta and stage musical, Bernstein’s Candide journeys through Voltaire’s “best of all possible worlds” with verve and satirical humor. Highlights include the energetic overture and the aria “Glitter and Be Gay.” Presented in conjunction with the official Leonard Bernstein at 100 centennial celebration.

Performance Dates: Nov. 16-19, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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THE ART OF MOTION
Jiang Qi and Deirdre Carberry, co-directors
Alexandria Black, conductor

CCM’s Department of Dance opens this anniversary season with a concert of mixed repertoire featuring the enchanting The Little Mermaid choreographed by guest artist and Missouri Ballet Theatre director Adam Sage with music by Léo Delibes and Antonín Dvoràk. The concert also showcases Paquita (Act II) with music by Ludwig Minkus, restaged by Deirdre Carberry. Additional highlights include the world premiere of Shaker Loops, choreographed by André Megerdichian and featuring music by John Adams performed by CCM’s Café MoMus ensemble. This premiere will also include an illuminated collaboration with DAAP faculty member Henry Hildebrandt.

Performance Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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LOVE AND INFORMATION
Written by Caryl Churchill
Brant Russell, directo
r

Described by the New York Times as “thought-churning” and “deeply poignant,” Love and Information premiered in London’s Royal Court Theatre in 2012. In this fast-moving kaleidoscope, more than 100 characters try to make sense of what they know. The play explores the prevalence of technology in today’s culture, the thirst for knowledge and the importance of human connection.

Performance Dates: Feb. 7 (preview), Feb. 8-11, 2018
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Diane Lala, director and choreographer
Roger Grodsky, musical director

What’s the buzz? The first musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to be produced for the professional stage, Jesus Christ Superstar has wowed audiences for over 40 years. A timeless work, the rock opera is based on the last week of Jesus’ life. Set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally-known series of events, the story is told through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. A true global phenomenon, the iconic 1970s rock score contains such well-known numbers as “Superstar,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Gethsemane.”

Performance Dates: Feb. 22-25 and Feb. 28-March 4, 2018
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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OPERA DOUBLE BILL: GIANNI SCHICCHI & SUOR ANGELICA
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giovacchino Forzano
Mark Gibson, conductor
Andreas Hagar, director (Gianni Schicchi)
Meredith Kitz, director (Suor Angelica)

The CCM Sesquicentennial pairs two of Puccini’s most popular operas for one can’t-miss Mainstage Series production! CCM’s stars of tomorrow present the farcical Gianni Schicchi and the moving Suor Angelica as a double-bill highlighting Puccini’s mastery of emotional storytelling.

Performance Dates: March 22-25, 2018
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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LEGENDS OF DANCE
Jiang Qi, director
Aik Khai Pung, music director and conductor

Celebrate spring’s arrival with the CCM Ballet Ensemble as they present an exciting mixed bill accompanied by the CCM Concert Orchestra. The program includes one of the most celebrated excerpts in all classical ballets, “The Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadére, staged by CCM faculty member Deirdre Carberry with music by Ludwig Minkus. In addition, guest artist Pablo Francisco Ruvalcaba will restage José Limón’s masterful A Choreographic Offering set to music by J. S. Bach. The program’s rousing finale features The Sleeping Beauty (Act III), after Marius Petipa’s classical ballet with music by Tchaikovsky.

Performance Dates: April 12-14, 2018
Location: Corbett Auditorium
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Mainstage Series Subscriptions
The 2017-18 CCM Mainstage Series of acting, musical theatre, opera and dance productions includes subscription packages for combinations of six-or-more shows, four-shows or three-shows.

Renewal subscription packages are on sale now. CCM’s fully customizable subscription packages range in price from $69 – $188. Subscribers to CCM’s 2016-17 Mainstage Series can receive priority access to seating by renewing their subscriptions by July 7, 2017.

Subscription packages for new subscribers go on sale July 10, 2017. Single tickets go on sale beginning Sept. 5, 2017.

To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183.

CCM Sesquicentennial Performances and Concert Series Options

CCM will present additional special events and public performances celebrating its Sesquicentennial throughout the 2017-18 concert season. As the largest single source of performing arts events in Ohio, CCM will also present its typical lineup of chamber music, choral, jazz, orchestra, percussion, piano and wind ensemble concerts each season.

Beginning in January of 2018, the CCM Sesquicentennial will celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s centennial with a collection of performances by students and faculty artists from throughout the college. Subscribers get first access to the Leonard Bernstein Experience, which includes concerts and special events held in the spring and fall of 2018 as part of a world-wide celebration of Bernstein’s 100th birthday.

CCM’s Mainstage subscribers receive priority access to the Bernstein Experience, Ariel Quartet subscription packages, CCM Concert Series flex ticket packages, prepaid parking and other exclusive perks.

Full programming and package details for CCM’s Sesquicentennial Special Event Series, 2017-18 Ariel Quartet Series and Concert Series will be announced in July. Visit ccm.uc.edu for more information.
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Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

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

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes
Paulina Villarreal with fellow 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition prize winners and judges. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

CCM Alums and Students Win Awards in Lotte Lenya Competition

We are delighted to announce that three current and former CCM students won awards as finalists in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the prestigious competition was held on Saturday, April 22, in Kilbourn Hall of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

DMA Voice candidate Paulina Villarreal (MM Voice, 2015) won Third Prize, which includes a cash award of $10,000. Jasmin Habersham (AD Opera, 2015; MM Voice, 2013) and first-year voice masters student Lisa Marie Rogali each received prizes of $3000 as finalists in the competition.

Fourteen artists competed in the final round of the Lotte Lenya Competition. You can learn more about all of this year’s winners by visiting www.kwf.org.

The 14 finalists who competed in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

The 14 finalists who competed in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

Villarreal, Habersham and Rogali are the latest in a long line of CCM students and alumni who have reached the final rounds of the Lotte Lenya Competition. CCM alumna Talya Lieberman (AD Opera, 2016) took Third Prize in the 2016 installment of this prestigious international theatre singing contest. CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) won Third Prize in 2013 and alumna Caitlin Mathes (MM Voice, 2009; AD Opera, 2010) won First Prize in 2011.

For this year’s competition, each finalist presented four selections from the operatic, Golden Age, contemporary musical theatre repertoires and the music of Kurt Weill to compete for prizes totaling more than $75,000.

The panel of judges included renowned stage director Anne Bogart, Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley and returning judge Rob Berman, who was most recently seen on Broadway as music director for Bright Star and Dames at Sea.

Over the last 20 years, the Lotte Lenya Competition has grown from a small contest exclusively for students of the Eastman School of Music, to one of the widest-reaching international vocal competitions. Past prize winners have gone on to appear on major theater, opera and concert stages around the world. This season, LLC laureates can be seen in seven Broadway shows, at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Komische Oper, in concert with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, on national and international theatrical tours and heard on two Grammy Award-winning recordings.

About the Kurt Weill Foundation
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. is dedicated to promoting understanding of the life and works of composer Kurt Weill (1900-50) and preserving the legacies of Weill and his wife, actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). The Foundation administers the Weill-Lenya Research Center, a Grant Program, the Kurt Weill Book Prize and the Lotte Lenya Competition, and publishes the Kurt Weill Edition and the Kurt Weill Newsletter. Learn more by visiting www.kwf.org.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News
Summer scenes on campus, CCM.

Thank You: CCM Celebrates Faculty and Staff Retirements

As the academic year comes to a close, we celebrate the careers of nine retiring faculty and staff members who have given nearly 250 years of combined service to UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. These members of the CCM family have dedicated themselves to continuing the college’s legacy as a leading training center for the performing and media arts.

View photos of their time at CCM:

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Retiring Faculty Members Share Memories:

This year marks my 48th year of continuous work — 21 years as a singer/actress, and another 20 years as a college professor and theatre producer. In 2009 my husband and I retired to Cincinnati, where I received an unexpected invitation to return to CCM — my alma mater — to teach musical theatre voice as an adjunct professor. These past seven years have been a total joy. I call it simply “the gift I gave myself.” As an older professional, it means so much to continue to contribute and feel appreciated. I’ve been truly honored to work with wonderful colleagues, and to have been given the opportunity to teach and mentor my talented and remarkable students. A number of my students surprised me in New York with a champagne brunch on April 2 to celebrate my retirement. I have no words to express what that meant to me, and the joy I feel, seeing them claim their places on Broadway and other stages, following their dreams. I would like to thank UC for recognizing and honoring the work of adjunct faculty. It is rare for a university to recognize adjunct contributions, and I salute UC for doing so. I’ll be forever grateful that I have been able to come full circle, and share the training I received at CCM with another generation of students. CCM is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary. I look forward to continuing to serve on the CCMPower board, raising money for scholarships, and helping to ensure that CCM will be here for another 150 years, training and graduating outstanding music professionals. – Kimberly Daniel de Acha
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Some of my favorite times at CCM revolve around hearing and interacting with such a wonderful faculty, be it at their concerts, at committee meetings, or in day by day interaction. I feel honored to have worked with such stellar teachers and artists! – Mary Stucky
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When I started fall 1975, DVAC was the Schmidlapp Gymnasium, Memorial was a women’s dorm, the main way to the garage was from Calhoun down to CCM garage — the connector tunnel didn’t exist. Werner Hall and Starbucks weren’t here and CCM had about half of the students it does now. It was an exciting time for me, as I was starting in LaSalle Quartet. We did four concerts a year in Corbett and two to four international tours a year. I worked with so many wonderful colleagues over all these years, some are sadly no longer with us. Almost my whole professional life has been at CCM, more than four decades worth of experiences. – Lee Fiser
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In 1999, I received a call asking me to teach at CCM. Who would have thought that almost two decades later my passion for teaching has only increased because of the talented students and faculty that I have had the pleasure of working with! Thank you all so much! – Patti James
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There’s something a touch poetic for me about retiring along with Lee Fiser — the final retirement from the LaSalle String Quartet. I came to the CCM faculty as a quite young person. It was the Quartet who were instrumental in getting Percussion Group Cincinnati the appointment to CCM. Some of my strongest memories of that first decade here are the Quartet’s concerts on Corbett stage, and I endeavored to live up to the beautiful standards that they had set. I wanted a percussion group in the late 20th century to be able to function just as the greatest string quartets always had, and I am grateful to CCM for giving me and my colleagues that opportunity and support. – Allen Otte

CCM News Faculty Fanfare
CCM Spring 2017 composer-in-residence Tom Cipullo.

CCM Showcases the Music of Composer-in-Residence Tom Cipullo on April 12

CCM’s Guest Artist Series showcases the music of award-winning composer Tom Cipullo with a free concert performance on Wednesday, April 12, in the Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.

Described by Opera News as “a shrewd dramaturge as well as a compelling composer,” Cipullo will spend three days in residence at CCM, coaching singers, pianists and instrumentalists from April 10-12, 2017.

Cipullo’s residency will culminate in a public performance featuring 26 of CCM’s stars-of-tomorrow. The concert’s program includes Cipullo’s Insomnia for vocal quartet and piano; The Husbands for soprano, baritone and piano; Late Summer for soprano and piano and the Entr’acte from Glory Denied for cello and piano, as well as other works. View full concert repertoire online here

Tom Cipullo at the Liguria Study Center in Bogliasco, Italy. Photo by Hedwig Brouckaert.

Tom Cipullo at the Liguria Study Center in Bogliasco, Italy. Photo by Hedwig Brouckaert.

About Tom Cipullo
Hailed by the American Academy of Art and Letters for music of “inexhaustible imagination, wit, expressive range and originality,” composer Tom Cipullo is the winner of the 2016 Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize from SUNY/Potsdam. He is also the recipient of a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2013 Sylvia Goldstein Award from Copland House and the 2013 Arts & Letters Award from the American Academy.

Cipullo has received commissions from dozens of performing ensembles and singers, and he has received fellowships and awards from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Liguria Study Center (Italy), the Fundacion Valparaiso (Spain) and the Oberpfaelzer Kuenstlerhaus (Bavaria).

The New York Times has called his music “intriguing and unconventional,” and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has called him “an expert in writing for the voice.” Cipullo’s music is published by Oxford University Press and Classical Vocal Reprints and recorded on the Naxos, Albany, CRI, PGM, MSR, GPR, Centaur and Capstone labels.

Cipullo has composed orchestral works, solo piano pieces and a vast quantity of vocal music, including over 200 songs and several vocal chamber works. His song cycle Of a Certain Age won the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Art Song Award in 2008. Cipullo’s first opera, Glory Denied, has enjoyed numerous productions, and the Fort Worth Opera recording on Albany Records was cited by Opera News as among the best of 2014. Reviewers have hailed the work as “terrifically powerful… superbly written” (Fanfare), praising its “luminous score (Washington Post),” and noting “the dramatic tension was relentless (Opera News).” Cipullo’s second opera, After Life (libretto by David Mason), has been called “a finely wrought exploration of the role of art in times of grave crisis (Washington Post)” and “unfailingly inventive (Opera News).” Recorded on the Naxos label, After Life is the winner of the 2017 the Domenick Argento Chamber Opera Composition prize from the National Opera Association.

Cipullo received his Master’s degree in composition from Boston University and his B.S. from Hofstra University, Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors in music.

Performance Time
8 p.m. Wednesday, April 12

Location
Robert J. Werner Recital Hall, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Admission
Admission to this performance is FREE. Reservations are not required.

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 uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

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

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

CCM gratefully acknowledges the Philippe Fund for their generous support of Mr. Cipullo’s residency.

CCM News

CCM Slideshows: Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’

Here is your first look at CCM Opera’s Mainstage production of Mozart’s Idomeneo. Directed by artist diploma student Marcus Shields, this heroic Greek tale runs Thursday, March 30-Sunday, April 2 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

Hailed as Mozart’s first great opera seria, Idomeneo is a classic story of unrequited love, sacrifice and revenge. The plot focuses on a king who is lost at sea during his journey home from war. To survive, he strikes a deal with vengeful god Neptune, but the king is then faced with an impossible decision — to sacrifice his entire nation or his son.

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View the slideshow above for your sneak peek of the production.

For more information on Idomeneo, read our press release and behind-the-scenes interview with lighting designer Oliver Littleton.

IDOMENEO
Composed by W.A. Mozart
Libretto by Giovanni Battista Varesco
Aik Khai Pung, conductor
Marcus Shields, director

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, March 30
8 p.m. Friday, March 31
8 p.m. Saturday, April 1
2 p.m. Sunday, April 2

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Idomeneo are $31-35 for adults, $22-25 for non-UC students and $18-21 for UC students with a valid ID. 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/mainstage/idomeneo.html.

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 UC campus. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

CCM News CCM Slideshows Student Salutes
Summer scenes on campus, CCM.

CCM Summer Hosts Opera Bootcamp for Singers, Conductors and Pianists

The UC College-Conservatory of Music combines its annual Opera Bootcamp and Opera Studio summer programs into a dynamic new program designed to develop career skills for conductors and singers alike. If you are an aspiring pianist, coach, stage director, conductor or singer, apply for the new Opera Bootcamp summer program, which occurs July 8-30 at CCM.

Training singers and conductors alongside each other builds a depth of understanding often not acquired until well into your professional career. In the three-week program, participants will mount two opera productions, Gianni Schicchi and Les mamelles de Tirésias, and one program of staged Mozart scenes and arias — all with orchestra and in their respective original languages. Both French and Italian language instruction will be offered to support the assigned repertoire.

Opera Bootcamp faculty includes internationally renowned professionals from CCM and visiting faculty members. CCM faculty includes Mark Gibson, Amy Johnson, Kathryn Lorenz, William McGraw, Andrea Tutt, Marie-France Lefebvre and professor emeritus David Adams. Visiting faculty members include Vernon Hartman, stage director; Steven Mosteller, coach; Joyce Miller, Italian language instructor; Jose Maria Condemi, stage director; Ken Weiss, coach; and Louis Pelletier, coach.

Professional biographies for each faculty member are available online at ccm.uc.edu/summer/collegiate-adult/opera-bootcamp/faculty.

All singers begin Opera Bootcamp with a two-day intensive on July 8 and 9, which includes training in traditional lyric stagecraft, Michael Chekhov acting technique, period movement, dances used in opera and career mentorship specific to the industry. These special sessions are led by Johnson, Tutt and Hartman. Conductors and pianists begin their Opera Bootcamp training on July 10.

This program is process oriented. It’s bootcamp! You are trained. The skills taught can be applied quickly and effectively to have great impact on your success as an artist.

CCM’s 2017 Opera Bootcamp is now accepting applications. The application deadline is April 15, 2017; enrollment for CCM Summer Programs is limited.

Visit ccm.uc.edu/summer/collegiate-adult/opera-bootcamp for application details and more information on Opera Bootcamp.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes
A model of the scenic design for CCM's production of 'Idomeneo.'

CCM Behind-the-Scenes: Lighting Design for Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’

First-year graduate student Oliver Littleton’s first lighting design work was in churches, small theaters and tiny clubs. Now his designs will be seen in the Mainstage production of Idomeneo at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music.

The opera opens on Thursday, Mach 30 and continues through Sunday, April 2 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are available through the CCM Box Office.

Littleton began his theatre training in Alabama at the age of 12. He wanted to be an actor, but always had an interest in lighting design. After earning a BFA in technical theatre from Adelphi University in New York, Littleton chose to pursue his graduate studies at CCM. He enrolled in CCM’s Theatre Design and Production program, where he studies lighting design and technology.

Light plays a key role in creating the “gods and monsters” in CCM’s production of Idomeneo. In an interview with CCM graduate assistant Charlotte Kies, Littleton shared some of his thoughts on the expressive power of lighting and its effect in Mozart’s first great opera seria.

What drew you to the lighting design program at CCM?
I loved the opportunity to be the lighting designer for a huge variety of genres including dance, opera, theatre and musicals. I value our large production scale and commitment to modern technology in all areas of the technical and design departments. Most important is probably my comfort within the culture of the CCM community.

It’s a hardworking environment that demands excellence, and does its best to surpass being just an educational institution in order to produce great art in a variety of fields.

How does your lighting design for Idomeneo compare to your work in other CCM productions?
This is my first Mainstage production at CCM so obviously scale is the big one! I designed Middletown in the fall and Transformations just a month ago, both in the Cohen Family Studio Theatre. Though they presented unique challenges, the sheer size of those productions was much smaller than this.

We’ve heard that lighting plays a significant role in establishing the abstract setting and in creating the “gods and monsters” of Idomeneo. Can you describe how you use light to create these “special effects?”
The metaphors of gods and monsters in this production of Idomeneo, in my mind, are far more important than their physical presence in the opera. To this end the “gods and monsters” are expressed in lighting with the contrast between restraint and excess.  Using color, intensity and texture to contrast between safe comfort, otherworldly mystery and grimy disappointment helps tell the story of monsters and heroes.  Our sea monster is of the mind.  It is doubt, hate, selfishness and it gets expressed with rich vivid color and powerful waves of light.  I want the lighting to drive this change and make the audience question who really are the monsters and gods of the piece.

A god-like face can be seen in Littleton's lighting design concept for 'Idomeneo.'

A god-like face can be seen in Oliver Littleton’s lighting design concept for ‘Idomeneo.’ Photo provided by Oliver Littleton.

What other roles does the lighting play in this opera?
When you start looking at abstract or ethereal lighting design, the first pitfall you see lighting designers take is forgetting that the point of the production is for audience members to sit in seats and watch people do things. All the fancy design in the world doesn’t amount to anything if the patrons can’t see the performers and understand what is going on in the story. The first job of every lighting designer is the help interpret the story and we do that in a number of ways. Lighting some areas of the stage while leaving others dark tells the audience where to look and focus. Using toplight and backlight that makes it difficult to see facial features gives a sense of drama and tension, while front light imbues a naturalistic nature to the stage. Every choice is informed by the question, “How does this serve the story,” and any choice that is not enslaved to it must be mercilessly eliminated.

Do you have anything else to add about your experience working on Idomeneo?
Idomeneo is a criminally underrated opera that is one of Mozart’s greatest offerings musically. I hope that everyone who watches the show leaves the theater saying things like “what a wonderful and interesting production” or “that was a beautiful way to share that music and story with us.” If they are talking about my lights or the set more than the characters’ choices or vocal prowess, then we as a design team have failed.

The greatest joy I take in my work is contributing to performers sharing stories and feeling with the audience. I hope this show does that for everyone who comes to see it.

CCM’s production of Idomeneo is directed by CCM artist diploma candidate Marcus Shields and conducted by Assistant Professor of Music Aik Khai Pung. It is sung in Italian with English supertitles. Find more information on the production in our press release.

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IDOMENEO
Composed by W.A. Mozart
Libretto by Giovanni Battista Varesco
Aik Khai Pung, conductor
Marcus Shields, director

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, Mar. 30
8 p.m. Friday, Mar. 31
8 p.m. Saturday, April 1
2 p.m. Sunday, April 2

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

 Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Idomeneo are $31-35 for adults, $22-25 for non-UC students and $18-21 for UC students with a valid ID. 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/mainstage/idomeneo.html.

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 UC campus. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.

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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s
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Story by CCM Graduate Student Charlotte Kies

CCM News Student Salutes