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

CCM Behind-the-Scenes: Lighting Design for Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’

First-year graduate student Oliver Littleton’s first lighting design work was in churches, small theaters and tiny clubs. Now his designs will be seen in the Mainstage production of Idomeneo at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music.

The opera opens on Thursday, Mach 30 and continues through Sunday, April 2 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are available through the CCM Box Office.

Littleton began his theatre training in Alabama at the age of 12. He wanted to be an actor, but always had an interest in lighting design. After earning a BFA in technical theatre from Adelphi University in New York, Littleton chose to pursue his graduate studies at CCM. He enrolled in CCM’s Theatre Design and Production program, where he studies lighting design and technology.

Light plays a key role in creating the “gods and monsters” in CCM’s production of Idomeneo. In an interview with CCM graduate assistant Charlotte Kies, Littleton shared some of his thoughts on the expressive power of lighting and its effect in Mozart’s first great opera seria.

What drew you to the lighting design program at CCM?
I loved the opportunity to be the lighting designer for a huge variety of genres including dance, opera, theatre and musicals. I value our large production scale and commitment to modern technology in all areas of the technical and design departments. Most important is probably my comfort within the culture of the CCM community.

It’s a hardworking environment that demands excellence, and does its best to surpass being just an educational institution in order to produce great art in a variety of fields.

How does your lighting design for Idomeneo compare to your work in other CCM productions?
This is my first Mainstage production at CCM so obviously scale is the big one! I designed Middletown in the fall and Transformations just a month ago, both in the Cohen Family Studio Theatre. Though they presented unique challenges, the sheer size of those productions was much smaller than this.

We’ve heard that lighting plays a significant role in establishing the abstract setting and in creating the “gods and monsters” of Idomeneo. Can you describe how you use light to create these “special effects?”
The metaphors of gods and monsters in this production of Idomeneo, in my mind, are far more important than their physical presence in the opera. To this end the “gods and monsters” are expressed in lighting with the contrast between restraint and excess.  Using color, intensity and texture to contrast between safe comfort, otherworldly mystery and grimy disappointment helps tell the story of monsters and heroes.  Our sea monster is of the mind.  It is doubt, hate, selfishness and it gets expressed with rich vivid color and powerful waves of light.  I want the lighting to drive this change and make the audience question who really are the monsters and gods of the piece.

A god-like face can be seen in Littleton's lighting design concept for 'Idomeneo.'

A god-like face can be seen in Oliver Littleton’s lighting design concept for ‘Idomeneo.’ Photo provided by Oliver Littleton.

What other roles does the lighting play in this opera?
When you start looking at abstract or ethereal lighting design, the first pitfall you see lighting designers take is forgetting that the point of the production is for audience members to sit in seats and watch people do things. All the fancy design in the world doesn’t amount to anything if the patrons can’t see the performers and understand what is going on in the story. The first job of every lighting designer is the help interpret the story and we do that in a number of ways. Lighting some areas of the stage while leaving others dark tells the audience where to look and focus. Using toplight and backlight that makes it difficult to see facial features gives a sense of drama and tension, while front light imbues a naturalistic nature to the stage. Every choice is informed by the question, “How does this serve the story,” and any choice that is not enslaved to it must be mercilessly eliminated.

Do you have anything else to add about your experience working on Idomeneo?
Idomeneo is a criminally underrated opera that is one of Mozart’s greatest offerings musically. I hope that everyone who watches the show leaves the theater saying things like “what a wonderful and interesting production” or “that was a beautiful way to share that music and story with us.” If they are talking about my lights or the set more than the characters’ choices or vocal prowess, then we as a design team have failed.

The greatest joy I take in my work is contributing to performers sharing stories and feeling with the audience. I hope this show does that for everyone who comes to see it.

CCM’s production of Idomeneo is directed by CCM artist diploma candidate Marcus Shields and conducted by Assistant Professor of Music Aik Khai Pung. It is sung in Italian with English supertitles. Find more information on the production in our press release.

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IDOMENEO
Composed by W.A. Mozart
Libretto by Giovanni Battista Varesco
Aik Khai Pung, conductor
Marcus Shields, director

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

CCM News Student Salutes
CCM's Mainstage Series production of 'Macbeth.' Photo by Mark Lyons.

Apply Now for CCM’s Summer Playwrights Conference

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music presents the Playwrights Conference from June 12-17, 2017. Now in its second year, this program is organized by CCM Assistant Professor of Acting Brant Russell and is open to aspiring and experienced playwrights alike.

“This year’s conference will host writers from all backgrounds and levels of experience,” Russell said. “Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a theater-lover who wants a boot-camp experience in the fundamentals of playwriting, we’d love to hear from you.  The community we create over the week-long conference is supportive, diverse and artistically adventurous.”

Participants in CCM’s 2016 Playwrights Conference work on their plays during a group session.

During the Playwrights Conference participants will write, take master classes with industry professionals and attend readings of their works. The week-long program offers a Development Track for participants who already have a play that they want to work on during the conference, along with a Fundamentals Track for participants who want to learn the nuts and bolts of playwriting.

Participants will also get to hear their work read a loud by CCM actors during nightly “Play Barn” sessions, lead by CCM Acting Chair Richard Hess. The ensemble of actors will bring the plays to life at the program’s 10-Minute-Play Festival, a public performance of the new works scheduled for the final night of the conference.

Conference participants will have an opportunity to work with a host of renowned theatre professionals, including award-winning playwright MJ Kaufman and Huntington Theatre Company director of new work Lisa Timmel.

Timmel will serve as the conference’s lead instructor and resident dramaturg, while Kaufman will serve as playwright-in-residence. Kaufman has been commissioned to write a new play for this year’s conference, which will allow participants to witness this new work develop over the course of the program.

CCM’s 2017 Playwrights Conference is now accepting applications. The application deadline is April 15, 2017.

To learn more about how you can bring your ideas from page to stage, please visit ccm.uc.edu/summer/playwrights.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare
Cohen Studio

CCM’s Studio Musical Theatre Series Presents ‘Children of Eden’ March 30-April 2

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music presents Children of Eden, a two-act musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John Caird, on Thursday, March 30 through Saturday, April 1 in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. The production is directed and choreographed by Vince DeGeorge, with musical direction by Steve Goers.

Like all Studio Series productions, admission to Children of Eden is free, but tickets are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, March 27, and can be reserved by visiting the CCM Box Office or calling 513-556-4183.

Schwartz, known for his smash-hit musicals that include Wicked and Godspell, created Children of Eden in 1986 for Youth Sing Praise, a religious high school theatre camp in Illinois. It was originally shorter and titled Family Tree, but Schwartz later expanded and renamed it. The musical as it exists today was premiered in 1991 at the Prince Edward Theatre in London’s West End.

The musical’s two acts relate the story of Adam and Eve and their children, followed by the tale of Noah and his family. In the first act, Adam and Eve interact with the Father (God) in Eden and are ultimately banished from the garden after they consume the forbidden fruit. We follow the couple through their trials with their children, Cain and Abel, the former of whom ultimately kills the latter.

In the second half of the show, Noah and his family are preparing for the great flood, including Noah’s son Japheth, who is determined to marry his family’s servant Yonah, a descendant of Cain. During the act, Noah laments the difficulty of being a good father, as does the omnipotent Father, who ultimately decides to grant his children the power of self-determination.

With free admission and limited seating, CCM’s Studio Series productions remain one of the hottest tickets in town. Learn more about how secure your tickets by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/did-you-know/how-to-studio-series.

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Cast List

Phillip Johnson as Father
Bryce Baxter as Adam
Ciara Harris as Eve
Zachary Triska as Cain
Edward Dohring as Abel
.Jordan Miller as Seth
Gabe Wrobel as Noah
Emily Meredith as Mama
Donelvan Thigpen as Shem
Dylan Dougal as Ham
Stavros Koumbaros as Japheth
Madelaine Vandenberg as Aysha
Kendall McCarthy as Aphra
Emily Royer as Yonah
Madison Deadman, Kylie Goldstein, Delaney Guyer, Jennifer Mollet, Andrew Alstat, Matthew Copley, Madison Hagler, William Jackson, Erich Schleck as Storytellers

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, March 30
8 p.m. Friday, March 31,
2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 1

Location
Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Admission
Admission is free. Reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, March 27. Please visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

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 information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the 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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Musical Theatre Program Sponsor and Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

CCM News Student Salutes

CCM Piano Series Presents Annual Bearcat Piano Festival and Piano-POW-Looza

CCM spotlights world-class pianists this spring with the return of the annual Bearcat Piano Festival! The festivities begin on Friday, March 31 and conclude on Sunday, April 2 with the Piano-POW-Looza concert, featuring CCM’s own talented student performers. All events will take place in the Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.

Launched in 2010 by CCM Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence Awadagin Pratt, this year’s Bearcat Piano festival invites several internationally acclaimed artists to the stage. Pianist John Perry opens the festival with a master class at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 31. Perry has won numerous awards including the highest prizes in both the Busoni and Viotti international piano competitions in Italy and special honors at the Marguerite Long International Competition in Paris.

Traveling all the way from China, students of Shandong University perform a special program of Chinese classical music at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 31. Also joining the festival this year are University of Michigan students, who visit CCM to perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 1.

Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, pianist Paul Schenly will teach a master class at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 2. Schenly has toured twice in the United States with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and toured with the same orchestra in Europe. He has been a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and New York Philharmonic.

Finally, the 2017 Bearcat Piano Festival comes to a close with Piano-POW-looza at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 2. Organized by Piano Department Chair Michael Chertock, the event spotlights the talents of a select few from CCM’s nearly 100 dazzling piano majors. This year’s concert features a special tribute to the beloved musicians who have passed away in recent months.

Schedule of Events

 2 p.m. Friday, March 31
• Bearcat Piano Festival •
Master Class with John Perry, piano
Location:
Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Admission: FREE
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8 p.m. Friday, March 31
• Bearcat Piano Festival •
Shandong University Student Recital
The Bearcat Piano Festival welcomes student pianists from Shandong University for a special recital of Chinese classical music.
Location: Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Admission: FREE
____

Saturday, April 1  2 p.m. Sunday, April 2
• Bearcat Piano Festival •
Master Class with Paul Schenly, piano
Location:
Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Admission: FREE
____

7 p.m. Saturday, April 1
• Bearcat Piano Festival •
PROGRAM CHANGE: John Perry’s guest artist performance has been cancelled. In his place CCM welcomes University of Michigan Student Pianists.
Guest artists from the University of Michigan perform as part of this year’s annual Bearcat Piano Festival!
Location: Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Admission: FREE
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7 p.m. Sunday, April 2
• Piano Series •
PIANO-POW-LOOZA: FINGERS OF FIRE
Some of CCM’s award-winning piano students and alumni demonstrate their amazing talents at one, two and three pianos. This concert also features a surprise tribute!
Location: Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Tickets: $15 general, $10 non-UC students, UC students FREE
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Event Information
All events listed take place on the campus of the University of Cincinnati unless otherwise indicated. The Piano-POW-looza Student Showcase concert requires paid admission. All other Bearcat Piano Festival events are free and open to the general public.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online now through our e-Box Office! 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.
____________________

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

All-Steinway School Sponsor: The Corbett Endowment at CCM

CCM is proud to be an All-Steinway School
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Story by CCM Graduate Student Charlotte Kies

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes
Binge watch for summer credit at CCM.

CCM Summer Electives Bring Arts Experiences to All

Do you need to fulfill your fine arts credits? Have you always wanted to learn to dance but couldn’t get over the stage fright? Do you have free time this summer to jam with a virtual band on your laptop or study the music of The Beatles, all while earning class credit?

This summer, you can complete your arts elective requirements on campus or online. UC’s College-Conservatory of Music offers more than 30 different general studies and fine arts elective courses during six different sessions this summer. These credit-granting courses cover a wide range of topics and are open to UC and non-UC students alike!

Learn the basics of modern dance or ballet in on campus or online classes designed for beginners or experienced dancers. Study the history of classic Hollywood films or learn about the modern evolution of Japanese Pop, anime and video game music in movie and media appreciation courses. You can also learn how to create your own videos or study entertainment culture at large.

CCM’s music appreciation courses cover genres from jazz and pop to rock ‘n’ roll, including the music of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Talking Heads. You can also turn your laptop into a musical instrument, or you can learn to play the piano with hands-on music performance classes.

On-Campus and Online arts courses are just a click away: visit ccm.uc.edu/summer/finearts to learn more!

CCM News Student Salutes

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.
____

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s
____

Story by CCM Graduate Student Charlotte Kies
CCM News Student Salutes

CCM Acting Welcomes Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Nilo Cruz on March 21

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz will visit CCM’s Department of Acting for a free public event on March 21. An accomplished playwright, Cruz shot to national prominence in 2003 when he became the first Latino to hold a Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play, Anna in the Tropics.

4-5 p.m., Monday, March 20 This event is cancelled.
The Fellows of the UC Graduate School Present
A Spark Ignites: Discussing Inspiration and Process with Nilo Cruz
Location: CCM’s Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Admission: Free and open to the general public

11 a.m.-noon, Tuesday, March 21
CCM Acting Presents With Hope: A Conversation With Nilo Cruz
Location: CCM Corbett Center Room 4755
Admission: Free and open to the general public

Nilo Cruz is a Cuban-American playwright whose work has been produced widely around the United States. His plays include Night Train to Bolina, Dancing on her Knees, A Park in Our House, Two Sisters and a Piano, A Bicycle Country, Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams, Lorca in a Green Dress, Beauty of the Father and translations of Lorca’s Doña Rosita the Spinster and The House of Bernarda Alba. In 2003, Cruz became the first Latino to hold a Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play, Anna in the Tropics.

His work has been seen at the McCarter Theatre in New Jersey, at New York’s Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theatre, at South Coast Rep, at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, New York Theatre Workshop, Magic Theatre, Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Washington’s Studio Theatre, Florida Stage, The Coconut Grove Playhouse and at New Theatre.

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 campus of the University of Cincinnati. 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 U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.

 

CCM News