Noteworthy events at CCM

In recent weeks I covered several noteworthy events at CCM, not all of which could be reviewed, as was the case with the CCM Scholarship Auditions. I posted some of my coverage on our Music for All Seasons group page on Facebook, and the rest on

Now that my is up and running, I am re-posting excerpts from those pieces, all in an effort to bring yet more attention to the superb work that is being presented week after week at CCM, now the largest presenter of performing arts events in the State of Ohio.

Strauss – Salome – January 29, 2016

Excerpted from

Amy Johnson took on this volcanic assignment brilliantly, conquering its perils with an impressive command of the role’s vocal and dramatic complexities…as brought to life by bass-baritone Kenneth Shaw, the doomed prophet was sung with stentorian authority and portrayed with this artist’s usual attention to the subtleties of text.”

Rossini – Il Signor Bruschino – February 20, 2016

Excerpted from

“As the central pair of lovers, Erica Intilangelo and Benjamin Lee were beyond reproach. Lee is a tenore di grazia with effortless high notes and flawless fioriture, and Intilangelo a superb singing actress who is good to look at and even better to listen to; she stopped the show with her aria di bravura, Ah, donate il caro sposo.”

Donizetti – Maria Stuarda – March 11, 2016

“…The decision to produce and cast this English war zone of an opera with voice students of any age begs the question, why do a work that separates the girls from the Dames and the boys from the Sirs? The good news is that co-producer Kenneth Shaw’s and director Amy Johnson’s bold enterprise made it to the end of Donizetti’s story of love, political dirty-doings and betrayal in Elizabethan England with flying colors…greatly aided by the idiomatic and sensitive conducting of Brett Scott

Amy Johnson helmed the production with insight, flair and a firm hand, keeping her young singing actors from indulging in the sort of posturing with which seasoned professionals out in the “real world” of opera often get away… I must single out the very promising soprano Sarah Vautour, whose portrayal of the doomed Scottish queen combined nobility of bearing, acting chops, and a voice and technical ease that bear an uncanny resemblance to the young Beverly Sills.”

CCM Voice Scholarships – March 12, 2016

The lovely soprano Alexandra Schoeny won the $3,000 Corbett Award in support of her planned pursuit of a DMA degree in Voice.

The $10,000 John Alexander Award, named in memory of the late tenor and former C-CM faculty member went to Grace Newbury, a stylish mezzo-soprano who delivered an idiomatic Cara speme, from Giulio Cesare, and a chaming Voi che sapete.

Murrella Parton, a lyric-coloratura soprano took home the $10,000 Seybold-Russell Award after following a stunningly sung Martern aller Artern with a flawless Qui la voce from I Puritani.

Soprano Erica Intilangelo took the $12,500 Andrew White Award, singing the very same aria from Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino with which she stopped the show a couple of weeks before.

The immensely promising bass-baritone Christian Pursell bagged the $15,000 award, named after the late basso Italo Tajo, founder of C-CM’s Opera Department, with a very funny Come un ape, from Rossini’s La Cenerentola, followed by an impeccably sung Diamond aria from Les Contes d’Hoffman.

The final and largest award of the afternoon, named after J. Ralph and Patricia Corbett, was given to Kayleigh Decker, a lyric mezzo-soprano with a very bright future, who feelingly sang Romeo’s Tu sola from Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi and an elegant Parto, parto from Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito.


Pedro Arroyo in recital – March 15, 2016

Tenor Pedro Andre Arroyo Ojeda recently gave a concert  at CCM, accompanied by pianist Sunghwan Kim, that included Tel jour, telle nuit – Poulenc at his finest and trickiest, played with finesse by Kim and sung in flawless French by Arroyo.

They followed it with a group of Tchaikovsky songs from Opus 73, all ideally suited to Arroyo’s temperament and voice, and Trzy piesni do slow arabskich z x wieku, three songs inspired by Arabic poetry by the Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz.

Turina’s Poema en forma de canciones afforded both singer and pianist a brace of showpieces in which both excelled, bringing the afternoon to a beautiful conclusion.


2 thoughts on “Noteworthy events at CCM

  1. I am clearly biased, but I appreciate your comments about Amy Johnson’s CCM directing debut, and those about Sarah Vautour, our Maria Stuarda. I’ve often told Sarah how much she reminds me of my dear Beverly Sills.

    And Elizabeth Gorrie as the Queen of England proved hers is a young lyric, possibly dramatic soprano to watch!

    One cannot attend every performance, of course, but I am happy to go on record to say that Madeline Jentsch, our Maria on Saturday evening, gave a beautifully detailed reading of the role, vocally and dramatically. And sophomore (that’s right!), Page Michels, as Elizabeth, simply “brought it”! How exciting!

    I was exceptionally happy for and proud of everyone involved.


  2. Like Professor Shaw, I too am clearly biased since I am proud to serve CCM as Dean. I attended the concert performance of Strauss’ masterwork, “Salome”, and couldn’t have been more proud to hear stellar faculty and students partner with top alumni and guests in a musically and emotionally satisfying evening. Stunning actually…

    And what made “Salome” even more stunning, was that two weeks and a day later, the same Philharmonia Orchestra under the direction of Mark Gibson led a remarkable rendition of Honegger’s “Joan of Arc at the Stake”…two weeks of preparation!!

    And then there was “Il Signor Bruschino” with great direction, voices, set, costumes and an expert orchestra of ten musicians performing one on a part. Nothing could have been more aesthetically satisfying. But then CCM continues to produce Transmigration – CCM Drama students original work, Musical Theatre Senior Showcase, Ariel Quartet, Dance Choreographer’s Showcase…and it just doesn’t end.

    Thanks to Rafael de Acha for this blog and his astute reflections on the magic that is created at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, or CCM as we know it.

    Peter Landgren, CCM Dean
    Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music


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