CCM Opera Presents Mozart’s Heroic Greek Tragedy, ‘Idomeneo’

A model of the scenic design for CCM's production of 'Idomeneo.'

A model of the scenic design for CCM’s production of ‘Idomeneo.’ Photo by Marcus Shields. Set Design by Matthew Hamel.

The Opera Department at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music presents an epic tale of love, war and sacrifice on March 30-April 2 in Patricia Corbett Theater. Hailed as Mozart’s first great opera seria, Idomeneo takes place in the aftermath of the fabled Trojan War.

Artist Diploma student Marcus Shields directs the CCM’s production of Idomeneo. Teetering on the edge between student and professional, Shields finds that he and the cast have a lot in common with Mozart, who composed this opera at the ripe young age of 25.

“This is essentially Mozart’s graduate thesis on the world,” says Shields. “It’s an amazing thing that he wrote this when he was 25, and we should be humbled by that fact. We’re all in the exact same place. In writing this challenging opera, Mozart was trying to prove himself — just like we are now.”

Idomeneo is a classic story of unrequited love, sacrifice and revenge. The plot revolves around King Idomeneo 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, Idamante. The King banishes his son from the kingdom, which separates the young prince from the two women who are in love with him.

While Idomeneo might not be as familiar as Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte, The Magic Flute or The Marriage of Figaro, the opera is just as exciting and inspired, Shields says. The work mostly adheres to the opera seria structure, which is known for its formulaic librettos and serious tone. However, Mozart “shatters the genre” in Idomeneo.

“The music is so amazing and virtuosic,” says Shields, “Mozart’s tap-dancing as hard as he can as he fights against the typical opera seria structure. It seems a bit stuffier on the outside because of the genre but it’s actually way more urgent and young.”

Mozart’s quest to infuse his own style in opera seria is similar to Shields’ unique vision for CCM’s production of Idomeneo. The opera is not set in a specific time period and has an abstract set, with lighting effects and costumes by CCM’s Theatre Design and Production Department. Shields uses costumes to represent the great division the characters feel from each other. Some cast members don stiff button-up coats reminiscent of the late eighteenth century and others wear full Greco-Roman attire.

“We are using the lighting, costumes and set to show people how to actually listen to the music,” Shields says. “It’s a beautiful harmonization of everything that this school can do.”

CCM’s production of Idomeneo is conducted by Assistant Professor of Music Aik Khai Pung, it is sung in Italian with English supertitles.
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IDOMENEO
Composed by W.A. Mozart
Libretto by Giovanni Battista Varesco
Aik Khai Pung, conductor
Marcus Shields, director

Cast

Idomeneo………………………………………………………………………Robert Stahley*,
Brandon Scott Russell^
Ilia………………………………………………………………………………..Grace Kahl*,
Erica Intilangelo^
Idamante…………………………………………………………Chelsea Duval-Major*,
Kayleigh Decker^
Elettra……………………………………………………………………..Nicolette Book*,
Murrella Parton^
Arbace/High Priest…………………………………………………………Dongwhi Baek*,
Benjamin Lee^
Voice of the Oracle…………………………………………………………Jacob Kincaide
Cretan Woman 1………………………………………………………………Maria Miller
Cretan Woman 2………………………………………………………..Briana Moynihan
Trojan 1………………………………………………………………………Logan Wagner
Trojan 2………………………………………………………………………Michael Hyatt
Chorus Men……………………………………Clayton Edwards, Michael Hyatt, Hayden Smith, John Tibbets, Logan Wagner
Chorus Women………………………………Brianna Bragg, Shannon Cochran, Page Michels, Maria Miller, Briana Moynihan, Claudia Neef

 * Thursday, March 30 and Saturday, April 1
^ Friday, March 31 and Sunday, April 2

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
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The set for CCM's Mainstage Series production of Green Day's 'American Idiot.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

A Discussion With ‘American Idiot’ Set Designer Thomas Umfrid

The curtain rises on CCM’s production of Green Day’s punk rock-opera American Idiot  at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, but the behind-the-scenes work has been going on for months. Much of the design process for a musical must be completed before actors even step into the rehearsal hall, but the work doesn’t end there. It continues all the way to opening night.

Thomas Umfrid, American Idiot set designer and Professor of Stage Design at CCM, is no stranger to the process. His career has taken him around the world, designing for opera, drama, musical theatre, dance and more. We were able to tear him away from his hectic schedule leading up to opening night to give us a little insight about his design.

Talk about the overall design for American Idiot and how you came up with it.

An image of the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York City.

An image from ground zero in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack in New York City.

Director Aubrey Berg came up with the design concept, a lot of which is based on iconographic 9/11 imagery, which I then developed into the design.

This project has an overriding environmental conceit and isn’t supposed to be any particular time or place.  It’s a space that evokes a dark and pessimistic mood and serves the loosely episodic stage action.

The music and lyrics aren’t pretty or glamorous, they ’re down and dirty. So is the set.

How does the set help tell the story?

Although the story deals with events passing in time and inter-related characters, it doesn’t necessitate “in focus” scenic environments, time of day or symbolic references to actual places.

For example, the characters go to New York, but the city isn’t directly rendered in any particularly recognizable way. It could be any big western city where marginalized and drugged out suburban youth have fled to try and find themselves, and in so doing, get terribly lost in the process.

How close is the actual product on stage to the initial ideas?

There is always a natural, and expected, “page to stage” evolution of a set design from the scale model and mechanical drawings to the real thing sitting on stage.

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My student, staff and faculty colleagues have done an incredible job of developing and translating Aubrey’s and my ideas to the stage. When the cast moves into the theater and begins to explore the, at times, 28 foot high stage after weeks of rehearsal in a rather neutral and barrier free rehearsal hall, I’ll have a much better idea of how successful we’ve been in translating our ideas to the stage. This is always a crucial and exciting phase of any show.

What was most important to you to convey through the set?

I hope the audience will be subconsciously affected by the environment and, rather than notice anything in particular about the set, have a visceral reaction as they experience the show as a whole entity.
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American Idiot runs March 3 – 13 at CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater. This production contains mature subject matter, including references to drug use, sexual content and profanity. 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/american-idiot.

CCM's Mainstage Series production of Green Day's 'American Idiot' plays March 3 - 13, 2016.

CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ plays March 3 – 13, 2016.

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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

Community Partner: ArtsWave

American Idiot 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 | www.MTIShows.com

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CCM Opera Chair Robin Guarino Discusses Latest Projects with the ‘New York Times’

Ryan Howell, a 2013 graduate of CCM's Set Design program, in character in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Arms and Armor Court for Gotham Chamber Opera's new production of Monteverdi's 'Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda.' Photography courtesy of Robin Guarino.

Ryan Howell, a 2013 graduate of CCM’s Set Design program, in character in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Arms and Armor Court for Gotham Chamber Opera’s new production of Monteverdi’s ‘Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda.’ Photography courtesy of Robin Guarino.

The New York Times recently featured Gotham Chamber Opera‘s bold new double-bill production of Claudio Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Lembit Beecher’s I Have No Stories to Tell You, which is being staged at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York this week (Feb. 26 and 27).

Robin Guarino, CCM’s J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair in Opera, directs both works and discusses the unique experience of staging operas in an art museum in the New York Times piece, which you can read online here.

Guarino’s cast for this highly anticipated double-bill production includes three CCM alumni: Craig Verm (MM, ’04), Sarah Tucker (MM, ’11) and Ryan Howell (MFA, ’13). You can learn more about this production by visiting www.gothamchamberopera.org.

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Preview: The Scenic Design of “Rent”

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Later this month, CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater will transform into the lower East Side of New York City for our Mainstage Production of Jonathan Larson’s Rent. Set Designer Brian Ruggaber provides us with a preview of this transformation today. UC Photojournalism student Jospeh Wilkens then shows us how these designs come to life in our state-of-the-art scene shop.

Rent features lighting by Weston Wetzel, sound design by Valerie Lawrence, costumes by Rebecca Doroshuk, hair & make-up design by Robert Michael Navarre, choreography by Diane Lala, musical direction by Steven Goers and stage direction by Richard Hess. The breakthrough musical of the 1990s runs Feb. 24 – March 6. Tickets are on sale now. Learn more about the production after the jump.

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Preview: The Scenic Design of “The Marriage of Figaro”

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CCM’s 2010-11 Mainstage Series continues next month with Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. This is CCM Professor of Stage Design Thomas Umfrid’s second Marriage of Figaro project for CCM. Umfrid and Robin Guarino, Figaro director and head of CCM Opera, capitalized on their previous operatic collaborations to produce a classic set design for Figaro that will elegantly support and showcase the young CCM cast.

The Marriage of Figaro runs from February 10-13, 2011 in the Patricia Corbett Theater on the University of Cincinnati campus. Annunziata Tomaro conducts.

Tickets are available by contacting the CCM box office at 513-556-4183 or by visiting http://ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.html.

You can view Umfrid’s previous Figaro designs here.

Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

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Preview: The Scenic Design of Evita

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Next month, CCM’s Corbett Auditorium will transform into mid-century Latin America for the Mainstage Production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita. Here’s a sneak peek at what that transformation will look like, courtesy of Senior Resident Scenic Designer Thomas Umfrid. You can view more of Umfrid’s work here.

With lighting by Samantha Spiro, sound design by Richard J. Koharik and Chuck Hatcher, costumes by Reba Senske, wig and make-up design by Kelly Yurko, choreography by Patti James, musical direction by Jesse Kissel and direction by Aubrey Berg, Evita will be the must-see musical this fall. See full production details after the jump.

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