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 »

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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 »

Robert Porco’s contract extended with May Festival

Director of choruses Robert Porco

The Cincinnati May Festival announced today a two-year contract extension for Robert Porco, Director of Choruses, through the end of the 2020 May Festival.

Porco has served in that role since 1989, preparing the volunteer May Festival Chorus for hundreds of performances for the festival, as well as for concerts with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops.Read More »

Opera Rap

Join Cincinnati Opera’s Harry T. Wilkes artistic director Evans Mirageas and me as we discuss arts journalism in today’s cultural climate, and more — 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Mercantile Library, Downtown. It promises to be fun. And, I might bring a surprise guest…

The Opera Rap — a lively discussion — is free to Library members; $10 nonmembers.

Reservations required: 513.621.0717 or email reservations@mercantilelibrary.com

Hope to see you there!

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 »

‘Classical Roots’ to explore Music Hall’s diverse history

Classical Roots Community Mass Choir
Photo provided

This year’s “Classical Roots” concert will explore Music Hall’s history as a gathering place for a wide spectrum of Cincinnati’s society.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s “Under One Roof,” led by Pops conductor John Morris Russell, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on April 20 in Music Hall. The program will illuminate Music Hall’s history — both as a great concert venue for the orchestra in the main hall and as a community gathering place that hosted many of the greatest jazz, soul, rock and R&B artists of the 20th century in the Greystone Club. Today that space in the South Hall is known as the Music Hall Ballroom.Read More »