Watch: CCM Alumnus Edward Nelson Wins Glyndebourne Opera Cup

CCM alumnus Edward Nelson (BM Voice, 2011; MM Voice, 2013) took home the first prize award at the 2020 Glyndebourne Opera Cup, an international competition designed to discover and spotlight the best young opera singers from around the world. Dame Janet Baker, the competition’s honorary president, gave Nelson his trophy, which was inspired by the golden lyre that Baker used in Glyndebourne’s 1982 production of Orfeo ed Euridice.

This prize includes £15,000 (about $18,400 in U.S. currency) and the guarantee of a professional role at a top international opera house. The members of the deciding jury included opera legends Sumi Jo, Sir Thomas Allen and Dame Felicity Lott, as well as other industry professionals.

Following preliminary rounds in Cape Town, Berlin, London, Milan, Paris, Vienna and New York, six singers advanced to compete in the Glyndebourne Opera Cup final, accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Nelson performed two dramatic arias from Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet before sealing his win with a spectacular performance of “Largo al factotum” from The Barber of Seville. His winning performance is available to watch online at YouTube.

Nelson recently made his European debut with the Norwegian premiere of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande at the Norwegian National Opera. His performances were well-reviewed, despite his having learned the role in just four weeks. said that “Nelson impressed with a ringing baritone, excellent French diction and a surprisingly easy top [register].”

This season, Nelson appears with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Vancouver Opera as Figaro in The Barber of Seville, with San Francisco Opera as Bosun in Billy Budd and with the Saint Louis Symphony in Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem. Read more about Nelson’s professional accomplishments.

Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News

CCM Alum and Renowned Tenor Stuart Skelton to Lead Master Class

From Sydney to Cincy: Stuart Skelton (MM Voice, ’95) brings skills and experience from his 25-year career to the CCM master classroom on Monday, Oct. 14 and Tuesday, Oct. 15.

There was a warmth to Stuart Skelton’s voice as he laughed about the sheer luck that landed him across the globe in Cincinnati, Ohio, from Sydney, Australia. “I definitely didn’t think this would be my path,” he says. Now a Grammy-nominated tenor and the 2014 International Opera Awards Male Singer of the Year, Skelton is critically acclaimed for his outstanding musicianship, tonal beauty and intensely dramatic portrayals. And he couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Skelton began performing at the age of 7, when he started singing at St. Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney, Australia. Yet it was only after completing his undergraduate work in economics and law at the University of Sydney that he feels his passion for singing was given the chance of a lifetime. He was awarded a scholarship to travel overseas to pursue various vocal auditions, and Cincinnati made the list. “In a sense I was doing something totally unheard of,” he recalls. “Most vocal performers head to London from Australia as opposed to the U.S.”

After seeing countless programs across the states, the level of dedication among the CCM faculty, as well as the state-of-the-art facilities, tipped the scales. “That was it — my opportunity to give singing professionally a shot, which I had never given any thought to actually doing for a living.” And lucky for us (and our ears), it has worked out. Skelton has appeared in many of the world’s most celebrated opera houses, singing with such companies as the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, English National Opera and Paris Opera.

Finding Home in The Queen City

Skelton recalls being intensely focused on what needed to be done during his graduate studies at CCM. He says it’s that type of focus and self-awareness that allows one to intentionally hone in on their craft. He was able to share this sentiment with students during CCM’s Sesquicentennial Celebrations, and will do so again next week during a multi-part master class — opportunities he calls “an absolute joy.”

“Master classes are a two-way bridge of trust between the teacher and student,” he says. “When you put yourself out there as a performer in front of the audience, the students gain a certain level of trust in you once you start working with them.”

Skelton says one of his happiest moments professionally has been returning to CCM to work with students and witness the next generation of performers. His advice? Apply the parts of every life experience you can use to your advantage and don’t bother with rest. “You’ll spend much more time and enthusiasm embracing the things that are helpful and instructive.”

And with a full performance schedule until 2023 spanning all over the world, Skelton’s 25-year career shows no signs of slowing down. No matter where he goes, he says it’s important to create small pockets of home; it makes you feel less alone in a city you don’t otherwise know well. He’s quick to point out that CCM will always be a small corner of home … And we’re sure glad he’s not a stranger.

Skelton will be giving master classes on Monday, Oct. 14, and Tuesday, Oct. 15 at CCM’s Robert J. Werner Recital Hall. These are free and open to the public and will last approximately 2 hours.

Master Class Details

4 p.m., Monday, Oct. 14
Robert J. Werner Recital Hall, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 15
Robert J. Werner Recital Hall, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Directions and Parking

CCM is located on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit for detailed driving directions to CCM Village.

Parking is available in UC’s CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit

Story by Jamie Muenzer, Associate Director of Alumni Relations

CCM News
Lotte Lenya Competition Graphic.

Alumni and Students Named Finalists in 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition

Three current and former CCM students are among 14 young artists selected as finalists in the 20th Lotte Lenya Competition. Those include Jasmine Habersham (AD Opera, 2015; MM Voice, 2013), DMA Voice candidate Paulina Villarreal (MM Voice, 2015) and first-year voice masters student Lisa Marie Rogali.

This isn’t the first time Habersham has advanced in the Lotte Lenya Competition. In 2015, Habersham competed in the competition’s semifinal round. At CCM she appeared as Norina in Don Pasquale, Mrs. Julian in Owen Wingrave and Pearl in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star.

Villarreal, who began her DMA studies at CCM in 2015, was a Young Artist at Cincinnati Opera. CCM patrons may have seen her perform in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Bright-Eyed Joy in November. She has also appeared in Some Light Emerges, Il signor Bruschino, Hansel and Gretel and William Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs.

Rogali began her studies at CCM in the fall of 2016. She appeared in the ensemble and as an assistant costume “spirit” in the CCM Mainstage production of Cendrillon in November.

All 14 contestants range in age from 19 to 32 and hail from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France and Israel. They were chosen from a pool of 266 preliminary audition videos — the most applications ever received in competition history. Thirty-two of those applicants moved on to the semifinal round, where they auditioned live in New York for judges Judy Blazer and Ted Sperling.

“Working with these singers is an enlightening and thrilling experience and whether they win the brass ring or not they all win in a sense for having done it,” Blazer said of her experience coaching the semifinalists.

Kurt Weill Foundation President Kim H. Kowalke stated, “This year’s semifinals were more competitive than some of our finals in previous years; the judges in Rochester are going to have their work cut out for them, especially with the stakes increased this year to a top prize of $20,000.”

In celebration of the 20th competition, top prizes have increased to $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000. Judges may also bestow additional discretionary awards of $3,500 each for outstanding performances of individual numbers. The new Kurt Weill Award for $5,000, established this year, will recognize an outstanding performance of two contrasting Weill selections. All finalists receive a minimum cash award of $1,000.

The finals take place Saturday, April 22 at Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Each finalist will present his or her entire program in the daytime round, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. An evening concert, in which contestants sing only a portion of their programs, follows at 8 p.m. The concert concludes with the announcement of awards and prizes. Both the daytime round and evening concert are free and open to the public.

The evening concert will be live streamed online at Visit the website before or during the concert to stream it (no password required).

This year’s judges’ panel brings together three internationally recognized artists. Renowned stage director Anne Bogart brings diverse theatrical and operatic credits to the jury. In January 2017, she directed the highly acclaimed production of Lost in the Stars with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley has demonstrated his versatility as an actor on Broadway in roles as wide-ranging as Pozzo in Waiting for Godot, The Monster in Young Frankenstein and a Tony and Olivier Award-winning performance as Jud Fry in Oklahoma!. Bogart and Hensley, both first-time judges, join veteran judge Rob Berman, who returns to the competition for a seventh time. Berman has been seen on Broadway most recently as music director for Bright Star and Dames at Sea; he is music director for the popular Encores! series at New York City Center.

The finalists will sing a program of 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.

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. See why Opera News said of the competition, “[N]o vocal contest better targets today’s total-package talents, unearthing up-and-coming singers who are ready for their close-ups.”

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

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News Student Salutes

CCM Presents Rachmaninoff’s ‘All-Night Vigil’ at Covington’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption

CCM's Chamber Choir.

CCM’s Chamber Choir.

Under the music direction of Earl Rivers, the CCM Chamber Choir performs Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Op. 37, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky.

The All-Night Vigil (Vespers) is a series of 15 liturgical/concert settings from the Russian Orthodox tradition in 60 minutes, which achieves great heights of expressive power and intensity through “choral orchestration” by continually varying the textures and sonorities. Subscribers have access to a preferred section of best seats at this can’t-miss, free concert. Ask your usher for more information at the event.

All Night Vigil (Vespers) premiered in 1915 in Moscow, just two years before the revolution that brought the Soviet Union into existence and quashed the performance of sacred music in Russia. Some musicologists view this work as the musical grand finale of religiously-minded imperial Russia, as it enjoyed great success just before the Russian revolution. Interestingly, the All-Night Vigil is one of two liturgical works that Rachmaninoff wrote after his devotion to religion flagged.

It is sung in Church Slavonic, which is used by the Christian Orthodox Church. The bass part stretches to a low B-flat; guest basso profundos Cameron Beauchamp and Craig Peterson will join the choir on these incredibly low parts.

Earl Rivers has conducted CCM’s forces in acclaimed regional premieres of John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls and El Niño, J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Bastian Clevé’s film The Sound of Eternity, Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew, Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 5 ­­– Requiem, Bardo and Nirmanakaya and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Credo. He has also produced and conducted American university premieres of staged productions of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, as well as Arthur Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake. He has championed early music at CCM with successful productions of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and Music of Love and War that introduced students to guest artists and coaches. He produced the Shakespeare quadricentennial celebration, which featured CCM Chamber Choir premieres of three settings of Shakespeare texts by composers Judith Bingham, Dominick DiOrio and Jake Runestad. Rivers has received Choral America’s Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art, which honors individuals with a lifetime of significant contributions to the professional choral art, and Chorus America’s Director Laureate Award, an honorary title that recognizes an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and has had significant impact on the choral field. In June 2017 Rivers will conduct South Korea’s Suwon Civic Chorale and Orchestra in the South Korean premiere of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. He will also give conducting master classes and lessons while in Seoul.

The CCM Chamber Choir has been acclaimed for its staged productions of Bach’s St. John Passion at Christ Church Cathedral and St. Matthew Passion at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, which were produced in conjunction with CCM’s Opera Department. The choir hosted renowned early music artists with its Monteverdi Project, which was produced for public television by WCET Arts Connect, and also advocates for new music by performing contemporary works, including David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion, Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew and Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir. The CCM Chamber Choir has performed at the conventions of the American Musicological Society, American Choral Directors Association and the National Collegiate Choral Organization, as well as Chorus America’s Conducting Masterclass. The choir will perform a staged production of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, 2017 at Christ Church Cathedral, 318 East 4th Street.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption was built in 1895 and was designed to replicate the Basilica of St. Denis in northern Paris, albeit at a smaller scale. It purportedly houses the world’s largest handmade stained glass window found in a church, as well as three pipe organs, an altar carved from Italian marble, several murals and marble floors. Pope Pius XII elevated the cathedral to the rank of minor basilica in 1953. The UC College-Conservatory of Music has held concerts in the basilica regularly since the early 1970’s.

Performance Time
3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption
1101 Madison Ave., Covington, KY 41011

Free and open to the general public, no reservations required. Subscribers have access to a preferred section of best seats at this can’t-miss concert. Ask your usher for more information at the event.

Parking and Directions
The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is located at the corner of 12th and Madison Avenue in Covington, Kentucky. There are public parking lots to the north and east of the church.

From I-71/75, take the 12th St./Pike St. exit from either direction. Turn east on to 12th Street to Madison Avenue. Turn left on to Madison Avenue. Turn right on 11th Street and enter the lot or go to Scott Boulevard and turn right to access the rear lot.

From Scott Street, travel south to 11th Street. Turn right on 11th, then left into the public parking lot or go past 11th Street and enter the east lot between 11th & 12th facing the Apse.

For additional information, please refer to
Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

CCM News
Santa Claus makes a guest appearance at the 2012 Feast of Carols. Photography by Dottie Stover.

CCM Welcomes the Holidays with Choral Concerts in December

CCM's annual Feast of Carols. Photography by Dottie Stover.

CCM’s annual Feast of Carols. Photography by Dottie Stover.

Hundreds of voices will fill the stage of Corbett Auditorium this December as CCM celebrates the season with a pair of holiday-themed concert programs!

The annual Feast of Carols returns with 2 and 5 p.m. performances on both Saturday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 7.

The following Saturday, Dec. 13, CCM’s ensemble-in-residence the Cincinnati Children’s Choir presents its Holiday Concert with performances at 2 and 5 p.m.

Only a limited number of seats remain for each of these concerts.

The annual Feast of Carols – a tradition that dates back decades – will embrace an eclectic mix of holiday songs ranging from the classic and traditional to the contemporary. CCM’s Chamber Choir, Chorale and Concert Orchestra, UC Men’s and Women’s Choruses, Cincinnati Children’s Choir and outstanding area guest choirs, including Connor Middle School, Lakota East and Mason High Schools, will perform these treasures sounds.

Conductors Earl Rivers, Brett Scott, Robyn Lana, Christopher Albanese, Alexander Sutton, Becky Bertelsen, Becky Huddilston and Elaine Santos invite audiences to sing along to favorite holiday carols during the spectacular “Fa-La-La” Finale with audience, combined choirs and CCM’s Concert Orchestra.

The Cincinnati Children’s Choir’s Holiday Concert will feature all 450 members of the Choir, including CCM resident choirs and satellite choirs from across the tri-state area, performing holiday songs from around the globe. Robyn Lana conducts.

Only a limited number of seats remain for each of these performances. Please see individual listings below for ticket prices and additional information.

CCM News

Cincinnati Children’s Choir Celebrates its 21st Anniversary in Concert on March 8

Cincinnati Children's Choir, Ensemble-In-Residence at CCM.

Cincinnati Children’s Choir, Ensemble-In-Residence at CCM.

CCM proudly presents the Cincinnati Children’s Choir as they “Celebrate Youth!” at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, in UC’s Corbett Auditorium.

Directed by Robyn Lana, more than 350 children in seven different choirs come together to perform in their 21st anniversary concert: “Celebrate Youth!” In this approximately two-hour long concert, “we celebrate the artistry and ability of our young singers,” says Lana. “CCC is an award-winning choir recognized worldwide as a leading program. We celebrate their ability, energy and commitment to achieving the highest artistic standard.” The choirs will be presenting a great variety of work, from classical to world and folk music, including two commissioned world premieres and one regional premiere.

One of the world premieres that audiences can look forward to is “When Day is Done,” by CCM alumnus Jason Webb, a work that was commissioned by the CCM Harmony Fund. The CCM Harmony Fund was established to celebrate the healing power of the arts. The arts have the ability to inspire imaginative thinking, encourage conversation, present contrasting attitudes and make us examine our own viewpoints. The CCM Harmony Fund supports students and faculty at CCM in Drama, Opera, Musical Theater, Dance, E-Media and Orchestral productions that promote culturally diverse audiences and fight hate and prejudice.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News

CCM Senior Lauren Roesner Wins Third Prize at 2013 Lotte Lenya Competition

2013 Lotte Lenya Competition winners (left to right): Lauren Roesner, Alison Arnop, Douglas Carpenter, and Maren Weinberger. Photo: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.

2013 Lotte Lenya Competition winners (left to right): Lauren Roesner, Alison Arnop, Douglas Carpenter, and Maren Weinberger. Photo: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.

We are delighted to announce that graduating CCM student Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) has been named a winner of the 2013 Lotte Lenya Competition. The soprano was awarded third prize in the prestigious international theater singing contest during the final round of the competition on Saturday, April 13. Congratulations Lauren!

The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, which sponsors the competition, distributed a record $61,500 in prizes this year. Roesner received a third prize of $7,500. CCM alumna Heather Phillips, soprano, was also a finalist in the competition and received an award of $1000.

Several other current and former CCM students were awarded special prizes during this year’s competition. Learn more about those awards here.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News Student Salutes

CCM Students Named Finalists in 2013 Lotte Lenya Vocal Competition

Congratulations to current CCM student Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) and alumna Heather Phillips (BM Voice, MM Voice, 2002-08) on being named finalists in the 2013 Lotte Lenya Vocal Competition! Held annually by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theater singing contest that recognizes talented young singer-actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, and emphasizes the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context.

The Kurt Weill Foundation awards special prizes at the finals in addition to the top prizes and we are delighted to report that current CCM students Conor McDonald (MM Voice, 2014), Katie Wesler (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) and Sofia Selowsky (MM Voice, 2014) were awarded Emerging Talent Awards. Current Artist Diploma candidate Charles Z. Owen (MM, 2012) received the 2013 Grace Keagy Award for Outstanding Vocal Promise.

Congratulations to our two finalists and our four award-winners!

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News Student Salutes

CCM Student Among 10 Finalists in Met Opera National Council Auditions

We are pleased to report that bass-baritone Thomas Richards, a student of William McGraw at CCM, will be singing onstage at the Metropolitan Opera in the Grand Finals Concert of the Metropolitan Opera District Council Auditions this Sunday!

The public concert will be accompanied by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and will be broadcast nationwide on the Metropolitan Opera Radio Network.

Learn more courtesy of Janelle Gelfand and the Cincinnati Enquirer.

CCM News Student Salutes

CCM Announces 2013 Summer Programs

CCM Announces Summer Programs for 2013

CCM is pleased to announce an exciting lineup of Summer Programs for 2013. Students from around the world have the opportunity to work with CCM’s world-class faculty and renowned guest artists while in residence at the state-of-the-art CCM Village.

These high caliber summer opportunities are open to CCM and non-CCM students alike. For a full list of summer programs organized by discipline, please visit Learn more about this year’s summer opportunities after the jump!

CCM News