And the winners are…

The Winners of the CCM Opera Scholarship Competition on Saturday in Corbett Auditorium have been announced. (See more about the competition in the post below.)

The singers were vying for full scholarships and $62,500 in cash awards. The winners:

The Corbett Award – $15,000
Teresa Perrotta of Orlando, Florida

The Italo Tajo Memorial Award – $15,000
Murella Parton of Knoxville, Tennessee

Andrew White Memorial Award –$12,500
Salvatore Atti of Buffalo, New York

Seybold-Russell Award –$10,000
Victor S. Cardamone

John Alexander Memorial Award– $10,000
Eric Shane of Tulsa, Oklahoma

Corbett Chair Recruitment Award — $3,000
Daren Small of Billings, Montana

This year’s judges were Michael Eberhart from Opera Philadelphia, Cory Lippiello from the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Steven Osgood from the Chautauqua Opera Company.


CCM singers compete for cash, scholarships

CCM student Brianna Bragg participating in a master class with opera star Jamie Barton earlier this year. Photo: Andrew Higley

On Saturday at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, singers will be vying for five prestigious full-tuition scholarships and $62,500 in cash awards. The Opera Scholarship Competition will be held on Saturday, March 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium.

It’s a high-stakes, daylong event featuring 27 current and incoming singers who are students in CCM’s storied opera department. They’ll be performing arias, songs and scenes before influential judges who have been flown in for the event.Read More »

VAE conductor change for ‘Vespers’

Elena Sharkova will step in for the VAE’s Craig Hella Johnson. Provided photo

Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble (VAE), the city’s premier professional choral ensemble, has announced a conducting change for Tuesday’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s Vespers at Memorial Hall. VAE Music Director, Craig Hella Johnson, who was scheduled to conduct, has had to cancel due to illness.

Johnson has tapped choral conductor Elena Sharkova to take his place as conductor for the performance. The Russian-American conductor is in her 17th year as Music Director of Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale. She is a passionate advocate for Russian choral music.

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sharkova holds graduate degrees in conducting from the St. Petersburg Rimski-Korsakov State Conservatory and Western Michigan University.


Levine’s fall from grace is complete

Levine cr Naomi Vaughan
James Levine, being applauded at the Metropolitan Opera, was fired by the company, citing “credible evidence” for sexual abuse. Photo by Naomi Vaughan

By now you’ve read, or you’ve heard about, Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine’s fall from grace. Yesterday, the Metropolitan Opera fired the maestro, a Cincinnati native, citing “credible evidence” for sexual abuse allegations that go back decades.

Levine was one of the most powerful people in the opera world. He was revered as a conductor who rivaled legends such as Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein. In Cincinnati, Levine’s talent is a part of local lore. He made his Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra debut as piano soloist at age 10 under Thor Johnson. As a pre-teen, he would sit for hours at Cincinnati Opera rehearsals at the zoo, inhaling opera scores and imitating Italian conductor Fausto Cleva.

He was music director of the Cincinnati May Festival in 1974, before he turned 30, and served for five seasons. (The May Festival has canceled his planned appearance this season.)

In Cincinnati, he conducted his first performances of Wagner operas Lohengrin, Tannhauser and Parsifal, in concert version for the May Festival. Levine hand-picked his successor, James Conlon.

He was a personal champion of opera soprano Kathleen Battle, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

And his mentor from an early age into adulthood was Walter Levin, the late first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet, the distinguished former quartet-in-residence at CCM.

One of Levine’s honorary doctorates was from the University of Cincinnati.

I’m reposting the Met’s entire statement here:Read More »

Taft Museum: Volunteers needed for monumental stick sculpture

Ready or Not, (2013) North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, NC. Used by permission. Photo: Juan Villa

The Taft Museum of Art is seeking volunteers to work outdoors at the museum this April on a monumental art installation by Patrick Dougherty. Dougherty, who was born in Oklahoma and raised in North Carolina, specializes in creating large interactive sculptures out of tree saplings.

The sculpture will take three weeks to create — with your help — and it will last for two years. Visitors will be able to touch and walk through the sculpture.Read More »

Jesús López-Cobos remembered in CSO concerts, tributes around the world

CSO music director emeritus Jesús López-Cobos Photo provided/Javier del Real

In case you missed it on, here’s the CSO review from the weekend: Janowski’s Bruckner, Wagner provide fitting tribute to López-Cobos.

Read an appreciation for CSO music director emeritus Jesús López-Cobos, who died of cancer on March 2 at age 78 by clicking here. During his 15-year tenure with the CSO, he made many contributions.

The CSO’s March 23-24 concerts will be performed in his memory.

You can read some comments in appreciation of the maestro, his CSO recordings and more on Norman Lebrecht’s blog, Slipped Disc.

Two CCM alumni up for Oscars

Nick Lipari also worked on the new Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music is reporting that two alumni — Nick Lipari and Dan Schroer — from the school’s Electronic Media Division worked behind-the-scenes on films nominated for Oscars in the 2018 Academy Awards, airing live from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre at 8 p.m. Sunday on ABC. The 90th Academy Awards is hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.Read More »