CCM Students and Alumnae Advance to Semifinals of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition

We are delighted to report that four current and former CCM students have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition! Those include Artist Diploma candidate Jasmine Habersham (also MM Voice, 2013), Artist Diploma candidate Talya Lieberman, first-year DMA candidate Reilly Nelson (also MM Voice, 2014) and alumna Christine Cornish Smith (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013).

This impressive showing gives CCM more semi-finalists than any other school in the 2015 competition!

Habersham, Lieberman, Nelson and Smith will join 24 other singer-actors from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to compete in the Lotte Lenya Competition Semifinals on March 13 and 14 in New York City.

A program of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music now in its 18th year, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theatre singing contest that recognizes exceptionally talented young singer/actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, from opera and operetta to contemporary Broadway musicals, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill.

CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) took Third Prize in the 2013 installment of this prestigious international theater singing contest. CCM alumna Caitlin Mathes (MM Voice, 2009; Artist Diploma in Opera, 2010) earned First Prize in 2011 and fellow alumna Alisa Suzanne Jordheim (BM Voice, 2008; MM Voice, 2010; DMA candidate) progressed to the final round of the competition that same year.

The competition grants over $50,000 in prizes each year, and previous winners have gone on to forge prominent careers in opera houses and on Broadway. More information can be found at www.kwf.org/LLC.

About Jasmine Habersham
Jasmine Habersham returns to the Glimmerglass Festival this summer as Papagena in The Magic Flute. A member of the Glimmerglass Young Artist program in 2014, she also received the Central City Opera Guild Young Artist Award the previous year. The soprano holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from CCCM where she has appeared as Norina in Don Pasquale, Mrs. Julian in Owen Wingrave and Pearl in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. The Georgian is a graduate of Shorter University with a Bachelor of Music degree and is currently working toward her Artist Diploma at CCM.

About Talya Lieberman
An alumna of San Francisco’s 2014 Merola Opera Program, Talya Lieberman returns this spring to the San Francisco Opera Center to make her debut as part of the Schwabacher Debut Recital series. This summer she will perform Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap Opera. While pursuing her Artist Diploma at CCM, the Italo Tajo Award recipient performed Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. She anticipates her first professional opera engagement in 2016 when she will perform Musetta in La bohème at Opera Columbus. In addition to her vocal studies, Lieberman completed a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts degree with Highest Distinction in Linguistics at Duke University. Born in New York, Talya now calls Ohio home.

About Reilly Nelson
Born in the coastal town of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada, Reilly Nelson attended the Eastman School of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and CCM where she completed a Master of Music in Vocal Performance. At CCM she performed Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and Mary in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. She also performed Hansel, as well as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center. The mezzo-soprano was a vocal fellow at Tanglewood in summers 2013 and 2014, performing Les nuits d’été, Op. 7 and Folk Songs by Bernard Rands.

About Christine Cornish Smith
A graduate of CCM with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Theater, Christine performed Polly Peachum in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of The Threepenny Opera, which was part of a year-long Kurt Weill Festival on campus. She also performed the Stepmother and covered the Witch in Into the Woods, and appeared in Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. Upon graduation, she performed Reuben’s Wife in the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She is currently performing in Guys and Dolls at the Goodspeed Opera House (CT). The soprano made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in the Ensemble of Oklahoma! In her native Texas, she made her Lyric Stage debut as Cutie in Fiorello! and performed as a Hot Box Girl in Guys and Dolls at Water Tower Theatre. She has also performed as principal dancer with the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. She was a recipient of an Emerging Talent Award in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition.

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Senior Musical Theatre major Max Clayton is Don Lockwood in CCM's Mainstage Series production of 'Singin' in the Rain,' running Oct. 31 – Nov. 3 in Corbett Auditorium.

CCM Alumnus Max Clayton Cast in Broadway-Bound Revival of ‘Gigi’

CCM alumnus Max Clayton.

CCM alumnus Max Clayton.

We are thrilled to report that CCM alumnus Max Clayton (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) has just been cast in the Broadway-bound revival of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s Oscar and Tony Award-winning musical Gigi.

Gigi is set to play a pre-Broadway engagement in the Eisenhower Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The show will officially open on Jan. 29, 2015, and will play a limited engagement through to Feb. 12, before moving on to the Great White Way later next year.

Clayton has kept busy since graduating just last spring. He was recently seen as Gabey in On the Town at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre in Chicago and as Slim in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Oklahoma! The Chicago Tribune hailed Clayton’s performance in On the Town, calling him “an excellent lead.”

CCM audiences last saw Clayton as Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain and as Macheath in The Threepenny Opera.

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CCM Performances and Collaborations Highlighted on Several “Best of 2013” Lists

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As we ring in a new year, several local arts writers have released their “year in review” lists for 2013. Rafael de Acha, Mary Ellyn Hutton, Kirk Sheppard, Rick Pender and Janelle Gelfand help us take a look back at the year that was:

In his “best of” roundup for Music for All Seasons, Rafael de Acha commented, “(CCM) consistently achieves professional level in its numerous productions of operas, musicals and concerts which approached the four-digit mark this past year.” Last spring’s original production of Into a Lamplit Room: The Songs of Kurt Weill and the recent concert production of Verdi’s Don Carlos, along with CCM’s Mainstage Series productions of Singin’ in the Rain and Owen Wingrave, all received special mention in de Acha’s review.

Mary Ellyn Hutton presented her top 16 performances for Music in Cincinnati, which included three CCM productions: Verdi’s Don Carlos, Bach’s St. John Passion and Britten’s Owen Wingrave. Of Verdi’s Don Carlos, Hutton commented, “This gets my vote as perhaps the single finest concert of 2013 in Cincinnati.”

Compiled for The Snappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard‘s list of favorite theatre productions of 2013 included last spring’s Mainstage production of The Threepenny Opera and the Studio production of Parade produced in collaboration with the Carnegie in Covington. This past fall’s CCM productions of Carrie and Singin’ in the Rain also made Sheppard’s list.

Rick Pender included two CCM productions in his 2013 round up of theatre in Cincinnati for CityBeat. Last spring’s co-production of Parade with the Carnegie and the recent Mainstage production of Singin’ in the Rain received special attention.

Janelle Gelfand also included CCM’s massive concert production of Don Carlos in her list of “Top 13 Classical Music Shows in 2013” for the Cincinnati Enquirer. In addition to her performance-specific list, she published a summary of “arts highlights” for the year, which included the work of the MYCincinnati after-school program in East Price Hill (learn more about CCM’s connection to the organization here) and the new partnership between Cincinnati’s World Piano Competition, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and CCM.

What were your favorite performances of 2013? What are you looking forward to most in 2014? Get a first look at what’s coming up at CCM in 2014 here!

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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!

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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:

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CCM Slideshows: The Threepenny Opera

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CCM proudly presents The Threepenny Opera, running tonight, March 1, through Sunday, March 10, in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now. This production contains mature subject matter.

Learn more The Threepenny Opera here.

“[Stage Director Robin] Guarino fearlessly goes back to the musical satire’s socio-political roots in 1920s Berlin,” Jackie Demaline writes in her review for the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Everything about The Threepenny Opera carries out Guarino’s vision, as the cast prowl scenic designer John Arnone’s industrial set of catwalks, with the small orchestra (in costume) perched at the top. Musical director Roger Grodsky as always asks much and gets all from singers and musicians.”

Read Demaline’s full review here.

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A New Sneak Peek at the Scenic Design of ‘The Threepenny Opera’

Assistant to the Scenic Designer Alexandra Kuntz provides these previews of 'The Threepenny Opera.'

Assistant to the Scenic Designer Alexandra Kuntz provides these previews of ‘The Threepenny Opera.’

CCM’s acclaimed Mainstage Series resumes this week with Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s epic musical The Threepenny Opera. Today, we are happy to provide a preview of the show’s set, courtesy of Alexandra Kuntz, a sophomore in CCM’s Scenic Design program and Assistant to Guest Scenic Designer John Arnone on this production.

Learn more about this dynamic new production, which features set designs by Tony Award-winner John Arnone.

“Set in the mid-19th century, Macheath (otherwise known as ‘Mack the Knife’) runs the town with his rag tag band of ruffians and gets what he wants,” Kuntz explains. “His latest want just happens to be Polly Peachum, daughter of the Beggar’s Lord of London (Johnathan Jeremiah Peachum), who doesn’t take too kindly to Mack the Knife’s interest in his daughter. Doing anything to keep them apart, Peachum uses broads, bribes and blackmails to get Mack out of the picture, while Macheath’s life hangs in the balance.”

This production contains mature subject matter.

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CCM Musical Theatre Celebrates the Songs of Kurt Weill with ‘Into a Lamplit Room’

Celebrated music theatre composer Kurt Weill.

Celebrated music theatre composer Kurt Weill.

CCM continues to study and celebrate the work of composer Kurt Weill with Into a Lamplit Room: The Songs of Kurt Weill presented by CCM’s Department of Musical Theatre at 7 p.m. on both Sunday, March 3, and Sunday, March 10.

Devised and directed by CCM Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre Aubrey Berg with musical direction by Julie Spangler and musical staging by Joey Dippel, this evening of cabaret-style entertainment offers a compilation of Weill songs in the intimate setting of UC’s Cohen Family Studio Theater.

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The Epic Theatre of CCM’s ‘The Threepenny Opera’

Sophomore Hannah Zazzaro as Sukey Tawdry and junior Max Clayton as Macheath. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Sophomore Hannah Zazzaro as Sukey Tawdry and junior Max Clayton as Macheath. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s year-long Kurt Weill Festival resumes this month with a dynamic new production of the iconic musical The Threepenny Opera. Composed by Kurt Weill with book and lyrics by dramatist Bertolt Brecht (adapted into English by Marc Blitzstein), The Threepenny Opera weaves the riveting tale of notorious bandit and womanizer Macheath (“Mack the Knife”) and his seedy companions in London’s underworld. Weill’s innovative score invented a new form of musical theatre, leading the way for such shows as Chicago and Cabaret.

CCM’s Mainstage Series production of this jazz-infused musical is directed by Robin Guarino, with musical direction by Roger Grodsky, choreography by Patti James and scenic designs by Tony Award-winning guest artist John Arnone. The Threepenny Opera runs Thursday, Feb. 28, through Sunday, March 10, in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now. This production contains mature subject matter.

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CCM Presents the Iconic Musical ‘The Threepenny Opera’ Feb. 28 – March 10

Sophomore Hannah Zazzaro as Sukey Tawdry and junior Max Clayton as Macheath. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Sophomore Hannah Zazzaro as Sukey Tawdry and junior Max Clayton as Macheath. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Someone sneaking ’round the corner. Is the someone Mack the Knife? Find out for yourself when CCM presents The Threepenny Opera, Feb. 28 through March 10, 2013!

With The Threepenny Opera, composer Kurt Weill and playwright Bertolt Brecht weave the riveting story of notorious bandit and womanizer MacHeath (“Mack the Knife”) and his seedy companions in London’s underworld, inventing a new form of musical theatre in the process!

Influencing shows like Chicago and Cabaret, this jazz-infused musical comes to life in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater for two consecutive weekends courtesy of CCM’s stars of tomorrow!

Directed by Robin Guarino, with musical direction by Roger Grodsky, choreography by Patti James and set designs by Tony Award-winning guest artist John ArnoneThe Threepenny Opera is the must-see theatre event of the year! Learn more here.

This production contains mature subject matter.

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