Opera Fusion Fall 2015: Shalimar the Clown.

Opera Fusion: New Works Grant Renewed by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

 

Cincinnati Opera and CCM are pleased to announce that their groundbreaking joint program, Opera Fusion: New Works, has been renewed by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with a gift of $300,000, which will fund another six workshops over the next three years.

Thanks to a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Opera Fusion: New Works was created in 2011 to foster the development of new American operas. The program offers composers or composer/librettist teams the opportunity to workshop an opera during a 10-day residency in Cincinnati, utilizing the talent, personnel, and facilities of both organizations. The workshops are cast with a combination of CCM students and professional artists, and each workshop concludes with a public performance. The program is led by co-artistic directors Marcus Küchle, Director of Artistic Operations of Cincinnati Opera, and Robin Guarino, the J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera at CCM.

“We are thrilled that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recognized the impact and importance of this collaboration,” said Patricia K. Beggs, The Harry Fath General Director & CEO of Cincinnati Opera. “The mainstage success of the operas that have come through Opera Fusion: New Works is a testament to the invaluable workshop opportunity the program offers to a new piece.”

“Opera Fusion: New Works provides CCM’s students with something truly remarkable: an opportunity to work directly with world-class artists on the development of new creative works,” said Peter Landgren, the Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music and Dean at CCM. “This workshopping process allows our students to exercise a very different set of artistic and pedagogical muscles, when compared to the process of learning standard repertoire. These life-changing opportunities would not be possible without The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s generous support of experiential learning at CCM, and we could not have a better partner in this endeavor than Cincinnati Opera.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the trust in and recognition of our work with Opera Fusion: New Works over the past three years that is expressed through this generous grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” said Marcus Küchle, co-artistic director of Opera Fusion: New Works. “These are exciting times for the development of new opera and we are thrilled to continue to play a meaningful role.”

In 2011, Opera Fusion: New Works awarded its first workshop to composer Douglas J. Cuomo and librettist John Patrick Shanley in support of their new opera Doubt, which premiered at Minnesota Opera in January 2013. In 2012, Opera Fusion: New Works provided workshops for Champion, by composer Terence Blanchard and librettist Michael Cristofer, which premiered at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in June 2013; and Morning Star, by composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist William M. Hoffman, which premiered at Cincinnati Opera in June 2015. In 2013, the residency went to Fellow Travelers, by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce, which will have its world premiere at Cincinnati Opera on June 17, 2016. In 2014, the program invited composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally to workshop Great Scott, which will premiere at The Dallas Opera on October 30, 2015. For the final workshop of the original six-workshop grant, the residency was awarded to Meet John Doe, with music and libretto by the late Daniel Catán.

“Over the past three years, Opera Fusion: New Works has had a seismic effect on the current art of opera, developing six world premieres, all operas with vital themes for today’s audiences,” said co-artistic director Robin Guarino. “We kick off the next three years and the renewal of our grant with an opera by an innovative composer and librettist team.”

'Shalimar the Clown' is adapted from the 2005 novel of the same name by Salman Rushdie.

‘Shalimar the Clown’ is adapted from the 2005 novel of the same name by Salman Rushdie.

The first opera to benefit from the new cycle of workshops will be Shalimar the Clown, which will receive a residency in Cincinnati from October 7 to 17, 2015. The new opera features music by Jack Perla and a libretto by Rajiv Joseph, adapted from the 2005 novel of the same name by Salman Rushdie.

The opera will have its world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on June 11, 2016. The workshop will be directed by James Robinson, artistic director at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, who will also direct the mainstage premiere, and will be conducted by Roberto Kalb, the resident assistant conductor at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. This is the second time that Opera Fusion: New Works has awarded a workshop to an opera with an upcoming premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; the first was the aforementioned Champion, by composer Terence Blanchard and librettist Michael Cristofer.

The 10-day workshop will culminate in a free public reading of excerpts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at the newly-opened Over-the-Rhine event space The Transept, 1205 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Tickets are available now through the Cincinnati Opera box office; call 513-241-2742 to reserve. The performance will stream on the Cincinnati Opera website at cincinnatiopera.org.

“I’ve been hoping to work with Robin, Marcus, and Opera Fusion: New Works for some time, and I couldn’t ask for better than to do so with Shalimar the Clown,” said composer Jack Perla. “This is a tremendous opportunity to test and fine-tune this opera stem to stern—to assess its pacing, vocal writing, and dramatic development, well in advance of production and the work’s premiere. Director Jim Robinson, librettist Rajiv Joseph, and the Opera Fusion: New Works team all together in one place, focused on that effort? I couldn’t ask for a better situation for developing this ambitious piece.”

“Workshops such as these are essential for the development of new works such as Shalimar,” said librettist Rajiv Joseph. “It’s one thing to sit in one’s room and write out a bunch of sentences and lyrics, hoping they’re perfect. But, for me at least, it’s not until I can hear them read—and sung—aloud in a room that I have any idea whether what I’ve done is working. Usually it’s not, and so the real work begins.”

About Shalimar the Clown
Shalimar the Clown tells the story of Shalimar and his beloved Boonyi, who have grown up together in a pastoral Kashmiri village, making people laugh as acrobats and dancers in a traditional folk theater. Though one is Muslim and one is Hindu, they fall in love—and despite all odds, their village embraces their marriage. But when a new American ambassador sees Boonyi dance, dark clouds gather. The promise of a new life tears their love apart and sends Shalimar down a path of revenge.

About composer Jack Perla
Composer and pianist Jack Perla is active in opera, jazz, chamber, and symphonic music. His operas and instrumental compositions have been widely performed, and he has performed in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, forging a reputation for his unique cross-fertilization of jazz and classical music. Perla has been commissioned by Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Houston Grand Opera, and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition. He is also a recipient of the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Composers Award, as well as awards, support, and recognition from the Argosy Fund for New Music, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and numerous other organizations. Called “a gripping piece of musical theater,” An American Dream, Perla’s fifth work for a major U.S. company, received its premiere with Seattle Opera in August 2015. Enormous Changes, Perla’s third jazz recording, was recently released on Origin Records, and Pretty Boy, a new disc of chamber and vocal music, is slated for release this winter. Perla grew up in Brooklyn and lived in New York City while attending NYU and the Manhattan School of Music. He earned his D.M.A. in composition from the Yale School of Music, and lives and works in San Francisco.

About librettist Rajiv Joseph
Rajiv Joseph is the author of the Broadway play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and was also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. Joseph’s other plays include Guards at the TajThe North PoolGruesome Playground InjuriesAnimals Out of PaperMr. Wolf, and The Lake Effect. Joseph has written for television, including seasons 3 and 4 of the award-winning Showtime series Nurse Jackie. He also has written for film, and is the co-writer of the 2014 Lionsgate feature Draft Day and the upcoming release, Army of One. He received his B.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University and his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal and now lives in Brooklyn.

About stage director James Robinson
James Robinson is the artistic director at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where he has directed the world premieres of Terence Blanchard’s Champion and Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27 in addition to John Adams’s Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer, the American premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland and Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. His work has been seen throughout the world at such companies as the Wexford Festival, the Royal Swedish Opera, Opera Australia, Canadian Opera Company, the London Symphony, Welsh National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, New York City Opera, Dallas Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Aspen Music Festival. He has directed several productions for the Santa Fe Opera, including the American premiere of Huang Ruo’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and will return in 2016 for Vanessa. Other future projects include Nixon in China for Houston Grand Opera, The Elixir of Love for the Canadian Opera Company, and the world premiere of Shalimar the Clown for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Opera Fusion: New Works is sponsored by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

CCM News
Kevin McCollum talks to CCM musical theatre students at a master class.

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer Kevin McCollum Joins CCM’s Faculty as Distinguished Visiting Professor

Peter Landgren, dean and Thomas James Kelly professor of music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), has appointed leading Broadway producer Kevin McCollum to the position of Distinguished Visiting Professor. McCollum’s initial appointment will be for three years and will become effective in August of 2015.

Alumnus and Distinguished Visiting Professor Kevin McCollum.

Alumnus and Distinguished Visiting Professor Kevin McCollum.

A distinguished alumnus of the University of Cincinnati, McCollum (BFA Musical Theatre, 1984; HonDoc, 2005) is the Tony Award-winning producer of RentAvenue QIn the HeightsMotown the Musical and many other acclaimed Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions. Earlier this spring, McCollum received two more Tony nominations for his current productions of Something Rotten! (Best Musical) and Hand to God (Best Play). He also received 12 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical, and nine Drama Desk nominations, including Outstanding Musical.

As a Distinguished Visiting Professor at CCM, McCollum’s influence on the college’s students and programs will be broad, focusing his work on musical theatre, although his entrepreneurial expertise will also be applied to aspects of auditioning, career development, arts administration and more.

Through this new appointment, McCollum will also work with faculty and administrators to develop a new musical theatre incubator program at CCM. A collaborative venture between CCM and Alchemation, McCollum’s Broadway producing office, this incubator will be designed to support the creation of new musical theatre works, utilizing McCollum’s entrepreneurial expertise and CCM’s abundance of talent.

“We are very excited to bring Kevin back to CCM as a member of our faculty,” says Dean Landgren. “Kevin is arguably the most accomplished and successful producer working in theatre today. Given his diverse background and his proven expertise in the business of the performing arts, his presence on our faculty will enhance the already world-class training that our students receive.”

“CCM was an essential part of my professional training and I am thrilled to return to such a top-notch institution,” says McCollum. “There are many things that attracted me to this position on CCM’s faculty; Peter Landgren’s bold leadership and openness to collaboration, the level of excellence found in the faculty, the highly accomplished young artists and the state-of-the-art facilities of my Alma Mater. I am proud to be counted amongst the internationally renowned faculty of this great institution. CCM has a longstanding commitment to presenting new works, and I am equally proud to help develop a program that will usher in the next generation of musical theatre artists.”

Speaking of the significance of an incubator program for musical theatre, Landgren explains, “Keeping with the University of Cincinnati’s proud tradition of cooperative education and experiential learning, this collaboration with Kevin and Alchemation will present our students with extraordinary opportunities to hone their craft while working to develop future theatre classics. Developing Broadway’s blockbusters-of-tomorrow with CCM’s stars-of-tomorrow is a win-win.”

Kevin McCollum (center) with CCM Musical Theatre's Class of 2015 after his seminar at Pearl Studios in New York.

Kevin McCollum (center) with CCM Musical Theatre’s Class of 2015 after his seminar at Pearl Studios in New York.

About Kevin McCollum
With a career spanning 25 years in the theatre industry, Kevin McCollum remains one of the most prolific and successful producers on Broadway today. He has received the Tony Award for Best Musical for In the Heights (2008), Avenue Q (2004) and Rent (1996), which also won the Pulitzer Prize. He produced Motown the Musical (Broadway and National Tour), The Drowsy Chaperone in 2006, which won five Tony Awards, Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme in 2002, [title of show] in 2008, the touring and Broadway productions of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the off-Broadway hit De La Guarda, the recent hit revival of West Side Story and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

In 1995 McCollum co-founded the Producing Office, and has since created Alchemation, a theatrical and media producing company committed to new work. In addition to his training at CCM, McCollum earned his Master’s degree in film producing from the Peter Stark Program at the University of Southern California.

In 1995, McCollum received the Robert Whitehead Award for Outstanding Commercial Theatre Producing. In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. He is represented on Broadway this spring with the original musical Something Rotten! and the New American Play Hand to God. His wife is actress and fellow UC graduate Lynette Perry-McCollum (BM Musical Theatre, 1985).

About Alchemation
Founded in 2012, Alchemation is a theatre and media company under McCollum’s leadership. Productions under the Alchemation banner include Motown the Musical, Something Rotten!Hand to God and the third season of theatrical web-series Submissions Only. In the summer of 2013, McCollum entered a joint venture with 20th Century Fox to develop titles from the Fox catalogue into stage properties.

About CCM
Nationally ranked and internationally renowned, the University of Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music (CCM) is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts. Declared “one of the nation’s leading conservatories” by the New York Times, CCM provides life-changing experiences within a highly creative and multidisciplinary artistic environment.

CCM’s educational roots date back to 1867, and a solid, visionary instruction has been at our core since that time. The synergy created by housing CCM within a comprehensive public university gives the college its unique character and defines its objective: to educate and inspire the whole artist and scholar for positions on the world’s stage.

CCM’s faculty and staff and its state-of-the-art facilities make possible the professional training and exceptional education on which CCM believes the future of the arts relies. The school’s roster of eminent faculty regularly receives distinguished honors for creative and scholarly work, and its alumni have achieved notable success in the performing and media arts.

More than 150 internationally recognized faculty members work with students from around the world, specializing in the areas of Composition, Musicology and Theory; Electronic Media; Ensembles and Conducting; Keyboard Studies; Music Education; Performance Studies and Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration.

The largest single source of performing arts events in the state of Ohio, CCM presents nearly 1000 major public performances each year, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully supported opera, musical theatre, drama and dance productions.

For more information about the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.

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CCM’s Summer Performance Series Concludes With Operatic Offerings This Weekend

CCM’s Summer Performance Series comes to a close this weekend with a pair of events celebrating the art of opera!

The Opera Studio Summer Workshop presents a free evening of operatic scenes at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8, in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. A select group of talented young singers from around the country will perform under the direction of Metropolitan Opera vet Claudia Catania.

The following night (Aug. 9), CCM’s Discovering Donizetti Summer Workshop presents a semi-staged performance of the beloved L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love) with full orchestra. Young conductors Eli Chen, Brian Diller, Yangchunzi Duan, Aresh Ertefai, HyunKyung Jang, Ching-Chun Lai, Erin McCamley, Jonathon Nelson, Marcoantonio Real-d’Arbelles, Rebecca Tong and Kelvin Ying will take turns yielding the baton under the artistic direction of CCM Professor Mark Gibson.

The cast for this production includes:

  • Megan Slack as Giannetta
  • Jordan Stadvec as Adina
  • Chris Bozeka as Nemorino
  • Spencer Reichman as Belcore
  • Cesar Torruella as Dulcamara

Jeffrey Buchman directs. CCM’s Summer Series production of The Elixir of Love begins at 8 p.m. in Corbett Auditorium. Tickets are $12 general admission, $6 for students. Tickets are available online at here. Contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 for more information!

Learn more about CCM’s Summer Performance Series here.

CCM News

The Art of the Piano Summer Festival and Concert Series Returns to CCM Village June 27 – July 12

Bearcat Piano Festival organizer Awadagin Pratt.

CCM faculty member and World Piano Competition Artistic Director Awadagin Pratt.

This summer, some of the world’s most sought-after piano performers and pedagogues are in residence at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. For the next two weeks, CCM proudly presents the Art of the Piano workshop and concert series, curated by CCM faculty member and World Piano Competition Artistic Director Awadagin Pratt.

This year’s festival welcomes master teachers Ning An, Enrico Elisi, Hee Sung Joo, Gabriel Kwok, Myong-joo Lee, Yoshikazu Nagai, Andrey Pisarev and Ory Shihor. Several of these guest artists will present special event concerts during the festival in CCM’s beautiful Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.

The concert series opens at 7 p.m. this Friday, June 27, with a performance by World Piano Competition Jury Member Andrey Pisarev.

Flex ticket packages are available for this year’s Art of the Piano Special Event Concerts featuring Pisarev, Hee Sung Joo, Enrico Elisi, Dennis Thurmond and Awadagin Pratt. All student recitals are free and open to the general public. See below for more information.

CCM News

CCM Announces 2013-14 Studio Series of Opera, Musical Theatre, Drama and Dance

CCM's 2013-14 Studio Series includes a production of 'Boeing Boeing' presented by the Carnegie and CCM Drama this November.

CCM’s 2013-14 Studio Series includes a production of ‘Boeing Boeing’ presented by the Carnegie and CCM Drama this November.

CCM is pleased to announce details for its 2013-14 Studio Series of opera, musical theatre, drama and dance productions.

This season’s Studio Series includes eight exciting productions showcasing CCM’s rising stars. The series opens in October with the newly re-imagined musical adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie and concludes in April with the irreverent Shakespearean/zombie mash-up Living Dead in Denmark.

This season’s series includes a revival of the Tony Award-winning comedy classic Boeing Boeing produced in collaboration with the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center and a public reading of the new American opera Fellow Travelers, produced in collaboration with Cincinnati Opera as part of the Opera Fusion program.

Always innovative, CCM’s 2013-14 Studio Series also includes the annual TRANSMIGRATION Festival of student-created new dramatic works and annual student choreographer’s dance showcase. Emmanuel Chabrier’s effervescent opéra bouffe L’étoileand the Tony Award-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee round out this year’s Studio Series.

Tickets and Parking Information
With free admission and limited seating for the six CCM-hosted productions in this series, the Studio Series remains one of the hottest tickets in town. All Studio Series performances held at CCM are free and open to the general public, but reservations are required. Reservations can be made the week of each show by visiting the CCM Box Office in UC’s Corbett Center for the Performing Arts or by calling 513-556-4183.

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

Please see the individual listings below for Boeing Boeing and Fellow Travelers ticketing details.

CCM News

CCM Opera and Cincinnati Opera Select New Work for Fall 2013 Opera Fusion Residency

Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce's 'Fellow Travelers' is adapted from the best-selling 2007 novel by Thomas Mallon.

Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce’s ‘Fellow Travelers’ is adapted from the best-selling 2007 novel by Thomas Mallon.

CCM and Cincinnati Opera are pleased to announce the selection of a new American opera, Fellow Travelers, for the Opera Fusion: New Works program’s third year of residencies.

Fellow Travelers, composed by Gregory Spears with a libretto by Greg Pierce, will receive a workshop from Nov. 17 to 26, 2013. Pierce’s libretto is adapted from the best-selling 2007 novel by Thomas Mallon. The director of the work is Kevin Newbury, who directed Cincinnati Opera’s 2007 production of Nixon in China. Mark Gibson, Director of Orchestral Studies at CCM, will conduct. G. Sterling Zinsmeyer is the executive producer of Fellow Travelers. The workshop will culminate in a public performance on Tuesday, Nov. 26; location and ticket information will be announced at a later date.

CCM News

CCM Hosts Ethnomusicology Conference April 12 and 13

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For the first time in nearly two decades, CCM will host the Midwest Chapter Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology (MIDSEM). The conference comes to CCM Village on Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, with events held in the Baur Room of the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts and in room 3250 of Mary Emery Hall.

More than 100 scholars and students will be traveling from throughout the Midwestern United States to participate in the conference. In addition, students and faculty from a variety of programs at UC (including Musicology, Music Education, Anthropology, Sociology and International Programs and Services), as well as local community members, will be participating in the conference as presenters, volunteers and attendees.

CCM News

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 ccm.uc.edu/summer. Learn more about this year’s summer opportunities after the jump!

CCM News

‘The Wall Street Journal’ Features Opera Fusion in Article on New Operas

Heidi Waleson explores the latest trends in the development and presentation of new operas in a recent Wall Street Journal article, highlighting the CCM and Cincinnati Opera collaboration Opera Fusion: New Works!

Waleson discusses Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer‘s Champion and Douglas J. Cuomo and John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, both of which were workshopped through the innovative Opera Fusion program! You can read the full Wall Street Journal article here.

Opera Fusion: New Works is generously funded by a $300,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Janelle Gelfand Reviews CCM’s Latest Opera Fusion Workshop

The Cincinnati Enquirer‘s Janelle Gelfand shares her thoughts on our latest Opera Fusion workshop production, Morning Star, in today’s installment of the Arts in Focus blog. You can read her review here.

CCM and Cincinnati Opera presented public workshop performances of Ricky Ian Gordon and William M. Hoffman‘s Morning Star earlier this week. The workshop was filmed for a forthcoming documentary focusing on Opera Fusion: New Works, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. You can learn more about this documentary here.

Opera Fusion: New Works is generously funded by a $300,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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