The May Festival is here

Eun Sun Kim with soloists for Verdi’s Requiem in Music Hall

The May Festival opened last night with a stunning performance of Verdi’s Requiem conducted by Eun Sun Kim — the first woman to lead the Cincinnati May Festival. Watch for a review later today at bizjournals.com/cincinnati/topic/arts.

And below are links to other preview stories that I’ve been writing for The Business Courier, part of their new initiative to provide arts coverage for our region:

Volunteer talent shines at 145-year-old Cincinnati May Festival: Click here to read

May Festival conductor Kim among new wave of women on the podium: Click here

May Festival to perform Bernstein Mass for first time in 46 years: Click here

The tradition of little flowers girls/boys is still alive at the May Festival
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Tenor Bryan Hymel to step in for Polenzani in Verdi Requiem

Tenor Bryan Hymel. Photo by Dario Acosta

The Cincinnati May Festival has announced that the celebrated tenor Matthew Polenzani is ill and unable to perform in Verdi’s Requiem to open the festival this Friday.

Bryan Hymel will replace Polenzani as tenor soloist on May 18. Hymel regularly appears with the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Opéra National de Paris, and La Scala.

He has performed the roles of Don José in Carmen, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and as tenor soloist in the Verdi Requiem. He has been the recipient of the opera world’s most prestigious awards including the Olivier Award, the Metropolitan Opera’s Beverly Sills Artist Award, and the George Thill Prize, and has been the top prize winner in the Lissner, Albanese, Zachary, Gari and Metropolitan Opera National Council competitions.

Rising star Eun Sun Kim will conduct the opening night performance, replacing James Levine.

For information, visit mayfestival.com.

Brahms Concerto shines with Ehnes in CSO season finale

James Ehnes performed Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major with the CSO. Photo provided

Violinist James Ehnes’ inspired playing in the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra over the weekend can only be described as masterful. The golden sound that he achieved on his 1715 Stradivarius violin was stunning. In Saturday’s concert, it was equally fascinating to hear Ehnes reveal the Cincinnati connection behind his $8 million instrument.Read More »

CSO’s Baroque gems with Bicket a rare treat

Countertenor Iestyn Davies joined Harry Bicket and the CSO in a rare Baroque concert at Music Hall. Photo provided by CSO/Kayla Moore

Harry Bicket’s Baroque concert of Handel and Rameau brought a breath of fresh air to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra over the weekend.

A glance at the program told the story of how rare it was to hear these Baroque gems in Music Hall. Every single piece on the program – even Handel’s Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 11 – was being performed by the orchestra for the first time.

And there was no better partner in this repertoire than the superb British countertenor Iestyn Davies, who made his Cincinnati debut in arias from Handel operas. Davies is one of a new generation of countertenors now making international waves. Read More »

CCM grad a winner in Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions

Faselt, Jessica (updated)
Jessica Faselt, soprano. Photo provided by the Metropolitan Opera

CCM alumna Jessica Faselt, 25, of Iowa City was among five singers named as the winners of the nation’s most prestigious vocal competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Faselt earned a Master of Music degree in Voice in 2016, and was a winner of the Corbett Award at CCM.

The other winners are: Madison Leonard, 26, soprano (Coeur d’Alene, ID); Ashley Dixon, 26, mezzo-soprano (Peachtree, GA); Hongni Wu, 23, mezzo-soprano (Jingdezhen, China); and Carlos Enrique Santelli, 26, tenor (Orlando, FL).

Each winner receives a $15,000 cash prize and the exposure that has launched the careers of many of opera’s biggest stars.

And in another local tie, CCM Artist Diploma in Opera Performance student Brandon Russell was a semi-finalist in this year’s Met National Council Auditions. He competed in the semi-final round held on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera on April 22, and was awarded $1,500.Read More »

André Watts, stellar artists to join Linton for 40th anniversary season

Andre watts8_print
André Watts

Superstar pianist André Watts and a stellar lineup of other artists will help Cincinnati’s Linton Music Series celebrate its 40th anniversary next season.

“In planning Linton’s 40th anniversary season, we wanted to uphold Dick Waller’s tradition of ‘music-making among friends’ that he established 40 years ago,” said co-artistic directors Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson, speaking of Linton’s founder Dick Waller.

“The season features so many world-class artists that are looking forward to gathering in Cincinnati to make great music together. It’s the combination of these artists, intimate settings, and captivated audiences that really makes Linton Chamber Music concerts so special.”Read More »