Paintings of Monteverdi and Handel.

CCM’s Studio and Undergraduate Opera Series Celebrate the Baroque Era with ‘The Coronation of Poppea’ and ‘Alcina’

Molly Hanes (DMA candidate, Voice Performance) as Poppea in CCM's studio opera production of 'The Coronation of Poppea.' Photography by Adam Zeek.

Molly Hanes (DMA candidate, Voice Performance) as Poppea in CCM’s studio opera production of ‘The Coronation of Poppea.’ Photography by Adam Zeek.

CCM will present the operatic works of Claudio Monteverdi and Frideric Handel this spring with L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) running Feb. 20-22 and Alcina running Feb. 27-March 1 both in the Cohen Family Studio Theater.

As part of CCM’s Studio Opera Series and Opera d’arte-Undergraduate Opera Series, respectively, these productions offer free admission but reservations are required.

Associate Professor of Ensembles and Conducting L. Brett Scott conducts both productions.

Despite both focusing on royalty, these masterworks’ themes couldn’t be more different. Directed by Assistant Professor of Music in Opera and Directing Emma GriffinThe Coronation of Poppea is one of the first operas based on real-life historical figures. Monteverdi focuses on the infamous Roman emperor Nero and his affair with a married woman named Poppea Sabina, who, through betrayal, banishment and murder, becomes the emperor’s new wife.

By comparison, Alcina, with direction by Professor of Voice Kenneth Shaw, weaves a lighter, more magical tale. A warrior king is whisked away to a magical island where the sorceress Alcina seeks to place him under her spell of love, and possibly transform him into an animal or tree when she becomes bored of him. Mistaken identities, star-crossed lovers and light-hearted episodes are plentiful in Handel’s opera, which will take the CCM stage for the first time since 1985!

Monteverdi continues to be recognized (due in part to his 1607 masterpiece L’Orfeo) as the first truly renowned opera composer. His Vespers of 1610 is performed often, including CCM’s own presentation this past November by the Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra. Meanwhile, Handel’s monumental oratorio The Messiah remains highly popular in its own right and is a Christmas staple for numerous choirs and orchestras across the world.

Both productions will provide an intimate experience for audiences and performers alike inside CCM’s cozy Cohen Family Studio Theater. Tickets will become available for reservation the Monday before each opening–Feb. 16 for The Coronation of Poppea and Feb. 23 for Alcina. Mark your calendars to see two of the greatest works of the Baroque by two of its greatest composers!

UC Professor Lauren Ginsberg from McMicken College’s Department of Classics will host a free talkback session on the historical origins of The Coronation of Poppea immediately following the Sunday, Feb. 22, performance of the opera. The talkback session will also take place in the Cohen Family Studio Theater and will last approximately 30 minutes.

Rafael de Acha provides an in-depth preview of CCM’s upcoming productions of The Coronation of Poppea and Alcina for Seen and Heard InternationalRead the preview online here.

Ray Cooklis examines the “otherworldly appeal” of early music – including both of CCM’s opera productions –  in the February edition of ExpressCincinnati. Read the story online here.

The Catacoustic Consort provides an overview of all of the Early Music performances happening in Cincinnati this February here.

Event Information
All events listed below take place on the campus of the University of Cincinnati unless otherwise indicated. Tickets can be reserved in person at the CCM Box Office or over the telephone at 513-556-4183. Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice for CCM Box Office hours and location.

All event dates and programs are subject to change. Visit ccm.uc.edu or contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 for the most current event information.

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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SPRING 2015 STUDIO OPERA AND OPERA D’ARTE SERIES:

8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20
8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21
2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22 (a talkback session will immediately follow this performance)
• Studio Opera Series •
L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA (THE CORONATION OF POPPEA)
Music by Claudio Monteverdi
Libretto by Francesco Busenello
Brett Scott, conductor
Emma Griffin, director

Love, power, morality, corruption… Monteverdi’s final masterpiece, The Coronation of Poppea, is often described as his greatest achievement, combining mythic and very human themes and featuring some of his most glorious music. One of the first operas to use historical events and people, it tells the story of Nero’s infatuation with the young and beautiful Poppea as she tries to make him divorce his wife Ottavia and take her as his new queen and empress of Rome. The Coronation of Poppea is a rich, complex and thoroughly modern work; a world populated by ruthless and all-too-human characters where lust and ambition ultimately triumph over virtue.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: Admission is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Feb. 16. Visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.
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8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27
2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 (the previously announced Saturday matinee performance has been canceled)
2 p.m. Sunday, March 1
• CCM Opera d’arte – Undergraduate Opera Series •
ALCINA
Music by George Frideric Handel
Libretto by Riccardo Broschi
Brett Scott, conductor
Kenneth Shaw, director
Amy Johnson, producer

A sorceress, an enchanted island, disguised lovers and mistaken identities are woven together beautifully with some of Handel’s most memorable melodies.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: Admission is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Feb. 23. Visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

CCM News
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.”

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes

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.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes

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

CCM News CCM Slideshows

High Praise for CCM’s Kurt Weill Festival

CCM presents 'The Threepenny Opera.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM presents ‘The Threepenny Opera.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

This weekend is your last chance to catch CCM’s acclaimed productions of both The Threepenny Opera (March 8 – 10) and the brand-new Kurt Weill revue Into a Lamplit Room (March 10).

The critics have had high praise for both productions, with CityBeat’s Rick Pender calling The Threepenny Opera “authentic,” “compelling” and “visually stunning” and Seen and Heard International‘s Rafael de Acha calling Into a Lamplit Room “heavenly!”

See what the critics have said for yourselves here:

CCM News

‘Seen and Heard International’ Reviews CCM’s ‘Street Scene’

Rafael de Acha reviews CCM’s historic production of Street Scene for Seen and Heard International, praising stage director Steven Goldstein‘s “unfaltering hand,” conductor Mark Gibson‘s “fervent leadership” and scenic designer Brian Ruggaber‘s “impressively life-like three-story set,” along with “Abbi Squires spot-on costumes, Amy Whitaker authentic wigs and make up, David LaRose’s summery lighting and Danny Jama’s hyper-realistic sound design. Usually unsung heroes, the diction coaching of Rocco dal Vera and the musical preparation of Sylvia Plyler amply equipped the cast with authentic accents and stylish musicality.”

You can read de Acha’s full review here.

CCM News