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CCM Alumna Tamara Wilson Receives Glowing Reviews for Her Metropolitan Opera Debut

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004).

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004).

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004) recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut, singing the title role in the Met’s revival of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida and leaving the critics gushing in the process!

In his review for the New York TimesZachary Woolfe writes, “Ms. Wilson’s voice is most arresting in the laserlike authority of her high notes, but she softens the steel for sensitive moments, as when she dreams of escape with Radames in the third act… Her voice blooms with her palpable involvement in her own story: Her singing is urgent, her physical performance restrained yet powerful.”

Writing for New York Classical Review George Grella observes, “With a combination of unerring pitch, exacting vibrato, careful dynamics and excellent phrasing, [Wilson] let the character of Verdi’s lines speak for themselves, rather than forcing her own vocal personality onto them. Her individual presence came through with a consistent, gripping intensity that was clear with every note.”

During her time at CCM, Wilson studied with Barbara Honn.

Below, watch a featurette on Opera Australia’s 2009 production of Aida, which also featured Wilson in the title role.

Learn more about the Metropolitan Opera’s current production of Aida by visitingwww.metopera.org/opera/aida-verdi-tickets.

Find a full list of Wilson’s upcoming engagements by visiting www.tamarawilsonsoprano.com.

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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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Owen Alderson, Ryan Garrett and Katie Langham in CCM's production of 'Speech and Debate.' Photo by Richard E. Hess.

CCM’s Studio Series Production of ‘Speech and Debate’ Receives a 4.5 Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

League of Cincinnati TheatresWe are delighted to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Studio Series production of Speech and Debate with a 4.5 star recommendation.

Written by Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright Stephen Karam, Speech and Debate feels ripped from today’s headlines. What begins as a story of on-line stalking quickly snowballs into a play that is part mystery, part coming-of-age story; a smart comedy and an insightful reflection of what it means to be young in America today.

Panelists called Speech and Debate “a wonderful production… contemporary, real and sometimes raw.” They were unanimous in praising CCM Drama Chair Richard Hess’ direction: “tight and economical, allowing his actors to bond together in their awkwardness while slowly revealing their secrets.”

The ensemble in the show “couldn’t be better… they worked marvelously together as a seamless unit.” Panelists singled out actress Katie Langham’s performance as Diwata: “brilliant, quick-delivery, comic in the truest sense.”

Critics have heaped praise on this production, with David Lyman calling the show “glorious to watch” in his review for the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Kirk Sheppard observed that Langham is “on track to be a major comedic star” in his review for The Sappy Critic.

In his review for Behind the Curtain Cincinnati, Rob Bucher wrote that, “The show features excellent direction by Richard E. Hess, and is extremely well-cast with a committed and fearless leading trio.”

MacKenzie Bower concluded that Speech and Debate was “a lovable show for all” in her review for The News Record.

CCM Drama will next present a free play reading series from Nov. 17 – 20, focusing on dramatic treatments of war and aggression. From England to Vietnam to Africa and beyond, this series will allow CCM’s Dramatic Performance majors to consider global and historical conflicts through the lens created by the playwright. All readings will begin at 7 p.m. in room 4735 of UC’s Corbett Center for the Performing Arts. The schedule includes:

  • Monday, Nov. 17: Shirley Lauro’s A Piece of My Heart, directed by k. Jenny Jones
  • Tuesday, Nov. 18: Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915, directed by Richard E. Hess.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19: William Shakespeare’s Henry V, directed by Diane Kvapil
  • Thursday, Nov. 20: Charise Castro Smith’s The Hunchback of Seville, directed by Brant Russell

CCM’s Drama Season then resumes Feb. 11 – 15 with a Mainstage Series production of Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles, directed by Richard E. Hess. Tickets are on sale now.

About the League of Cincinnati Theatres
The League of Cincinnati Theatres was founded in 1999 to strengthen, nurture and promote Cincinnati’s theatre community. LCT provides its member companies and individual members with education, resources and services to enhance the quality and exposure of the theatre community in Cincinnati and increase community awareness, attendance and involvement. Learn more about the LCT here.

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Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s ‘Legally Blonde’ Receives Rave Reviews

Photography by Mark Lyons.The critics are praising CCM’s current production of Legally Blonde – The Musical, which plays through a matinee performance on Sunday, Nov. 2!

In his review for the Sappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard writes, “Legally Blonde – The Musical is an energetic, satisfying show and CCM has brought all of the elements together continuing their reputation as one of the best musical theatre programs in the country.” Sheppard singles out the performance of senior Lawson Young (one of two CCM students playing Elle Woods in this double-cast production), going so far as to say, “Of the five [different] productions I’ve seen, she’s by far the best and that includes the national tour and the [Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera] last summer.”

David Lyman has similar praise for the production and for senior Sarah Bishop in his review for the Cincinnati Enquirer. “What’s really refreshing about this production,” he observes, “is that, as Elle, Sarah Bishop gives a measure of humanity that we rarely get to see. We see Elle develop a conscience and compassion and – heaven forbid – come to love a man to whom she never would have given the time of day at the outset of the show.”

The News Record‘s review praised the entire company, with Aidan Smith writing, “The humor offered by every cast member made this musical stand out, and it showed in the audience’s constant giggling.”

“Featuring strong performances, fun choreography, and a superb set design, this mounting is a true crowd pleaser,” Scott Cain observes in his review for Talkin’ Broadway.

In his review for Behind the Curtain Cincinnati, Rob Bucher calls CCM’s production, “a very fun and entertaining show. Excellent work.”

Rick Pender profiles Legally Blonde director/choreographer and CCM Professor of Musical Theatre Diane Lala in his “Curtain Call” column for Cincinnati CityBeat, observing that “the evidence of her success is currently onstage at CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.”

You have five more chances to catch this all-singing, all-dancing production… and tickets are still available!

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets to Legally Blonde are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 UC students with a valid ID, with $12-$15 student rush tickets available for the Saturday matinee beginning at 1 p.m. on Nov. 1.

Customizable subscription packages are also 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/legally-blonde-mainstage.

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. 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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Mainstage Production Sponsor: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Legally Blonde: The Musical is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 | Phone: 212-541-4684 | Fax: 212-397-4684 | http://www.MTIShows.com

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Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Production of ‘Legally Blonde’ Receives a 4.5 Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

Senior Lawson Young as Elle and junior Chris Collins-Pisano as Emmett in CCM's production of LEGALLY BLONDE, playing Oct. 23 - Nov. 2, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Senior Lawson Young as Elle and junior Chris Collins-Pisano as Emmett in CCM’s production of LEGALLY BLONDE, playing Oct. 23 – Nov. 2, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

We are tickled pink to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Legally Blonde – The Musical with a 4.5 star recommendation.

Panelists loved the CCM production, with one individual reporting: “Going back to college for the opening night of CCM‘s Legally Blonde did not disappoint! The stage becomes a powerhouse of song and dance… Ohmigod you guys, just go see this show and have a lot of fun.”

Panelists praised Diane Lala’s “well designed and executed” choreography (“the highlight of the show”) and guest scenic designer/CCM alumnus Joe Leonard’s “spectacular” scenic design: “Sophisticated…transforms constantly and seamlessly.”

Lead actress Lawson Young as Elle, lead actor Chris Collins-Pisano as Emmett, and supporting actress Madeline Lynch as Paulette were all singled out for their outstanding performances, but panelists gave kudos to all the performers: “The real strength of this musical was the total ensemble singing and dancing their hearts out for the pure joy felt by the audience.”

Legally Blonde plays tonight through next Sunday, Nov. 2, in Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now. Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/legally-blonde-mainstage.

About the League of Cincinnati Theatres
The League of Cincinnati Theatres was founded in 1999 to strengthen, nurture and promote Cincinnati’s theatre community. LCT provides its member companies and individual members with education, resources and services to enhance the quality and exposure of the theatre community in Cincinnati and increase community awareness, attendance and involvement. Learn more about the LCT here.

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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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