CCM Opera is pleased to announce that both Noel Bouley (A.D.) and Mark Diamond (M.M.) have advanced to the final round of the Houston Grand Opera 23rd Annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers. Noel and Mark will now both participate in the Concert of Aria on Cullen Theater stage at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Texas.
Congratulations Mr. Bouley and Mr. Diamond!
Good luck Thursday Night!
Toi, toi, toi!
From The Cincinnati Enquirer
By Janelle Gelfand
January 29th 2011
The frenzied crowd called for blood, trumpets and trombones blared from the balconies and, as the first act rose to a fever pitch, the Prince cried out “Turandot!” and struck the gong loudly three times.
The University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music mounted an electrifying concert version of Puccini’s opera “Turandot” on Friday night in Corbett Auditorium. The professionalism of the student forces, from choristers and musicians to soloists, was impressive. Despite the decibel level, which rose perilously high at times, the audience offered enthusiastic ovations after each act.
Seats were at a premium for the sold-out performance, with throngs waiting outside for turned-in tickets. A first for CCM, the massive effort hailed a 12-year collaboration between the school and the Central Conservatory of Beijing. It was presented in collaboration with Central Opera, Beijing and the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society.
Even though there were no sets or costumes, there was the spectacle of the immense forces crammed into every inch of the stage. Two choirs – the CCM Chorale and CCM Chamber Choir, flanked the CCM Philharmonia, with the red-jacketed Cincinnati Children’s Choir arrayed across the back. Across the front stood the soloists, with the CCM Brass Choir in the balconies.
At the epicenter of all this, behind the large Chinese gong, Mark Gibson, conductor and CCM director of orchestral studies, worked his magic with Puccini’s final opera score. (Franco Alfano finished the final scene after Puccini’s death.) “Turandot,” an opera set in legendary Peking, is the tale of “ice princess” Turandot, who beheads suitors unable answer three riddles. Liù is the slave girl who secretly loves the “unknown prince” Calaf who is vying for Turandot’s hand.
Soprano Helen Lyons, who received her artist diploma at CCM in 2008, returned to sing the title role. She made an excellent “ice princess,” regal and mesmerizing as she told the story of her ancestors in “In questa reggia.” She sang consistently with dramatic power and navigated treacherous leaps thrillingly. Later, as her veneer of ice melted, she became noticeably more human.
In the role of the Prince, tenor Wang Feng, a guest artist from Central Opera, Beijing, was confident and firm, offering a stentorian voice and a commanding presence. However more warmth in his vocal style would have enhanced his performance.
The role of Liù was shared by two excellent CCM sopranos, Xi Wang and Amanda Woodbury. In Acts I and II, Wang was deeply affecting and projected warmth and beauty of tone in “Signore, ascolta.” In Act III, Woodbury sang with expressive beauty in her famous “Tu che di gel sei cinta” (You who are bound by ice).
As the courtiers, Hunter Enoch (Ping), William Compton (Pang), and Wes Lawrence (Pong) were well-matched and brought humor to their roles. There were also fine portrayals as Timur (Timothy Bruno), the Mandarin (Emmett O’Hanlon) and the Emperor (Will Reed).
The idea of placing the choirs downstage was to note that the chorus is “a major protagonist” in the opera, Gibson wrote in program notes. The choruses were well-prepared, provided glorious atmosphere and enunciated their texts well as they cried for blood, implored Turandot for mercy, and finally recapped one of the most famous tunes of all time, “Nessun dorma.” The pure-toned sound of the Children’s Choir was a joy to hear.
Still, the visceral impact of the combined choral and orchestral forces sometimes overwhelmed the hall. Gibson animatedly propelled the tempos and created a big, lush atmosphere that captured the grandeur of Puccini’s music.
J. Ralph Corbett Chair of Opera, Robin Guarino spoke Wednesday at the NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies under the co-sponsorship of the NYU Music Department and the Remarque Institute on a special seminar celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the premier of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier in Dresden on January 26th 1911. She was joined by esteemed musicologist and Richard Strauss biographer, Bryan Gilliam (a CCM Graduate whose recent Biography on Strauss has just been published), Brown University Writer, Historian, and Dramaturg of the Salzberg festival and of La Scala, Milan, Michael P. Steinberg. The Seminar was co-sponsered by Chairman of the NYU Music Department, Professor Michael Beckerman and Professor Larry Wolff, Director of the Center for European and Mediteranean History at NYU. The were joined by very special guest internationally renowned Soprano and Strauss specialist Evelyn Lear.
CCM Opera Artist Diploma student Xi Wang sits down with Janelle Gelfand from the Cincinnati Enquirer
From The Cincinnati Enquirer, January 23rd, 2011
By Janelle Gefland
Soprano Xi Wang, a student at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, remembers standing on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York two years ago, when she was a national semifinalist in the National Council Auditions.
“Being on that stage at age 25, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I have already fulfilled my dream.’ The stage was so huge, but you could hear a penny drop,” the singer says. “Even though I didn’t advance to the finals, I felt so grateful, so lucky to be that far.” Wang sings the role of Liù in a concert presentation of Puccini’s “Turandot” Friday and Saturday in Corbett Auditorium at CCM.
In a rehearsal last week, Wang sang with beauty, passion and bell-like timbre as she rehearsed Liù’s famous Act I aria, “Signore Ascolta,” with Gibson and the CCM Philharmonia. “I feel amazed by the music, and there is some resonance to my culture,” Wang says, struggling to find the right words in English. “(The music) is big and huge. It reminds me of China, where everything is big. And the tragic story has such beauty.”
CCM begins its Winter Orchestra Series with a concert version of Puccini’s thrilling opera Turandot. The story of the beautiful but cold princess and the prince who wishes for her love is presented at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 28 in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium on the University of Cincinnati campus.
This production of Turandot is quite unique. A collaboration between Central Opera, Beijing, the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society and CCM, this massive undertaking will include the talents of CCM’s Philharmonia Orchestra, Brass Choir, Chamber Choir, Chorale and Cincinnati Children’s Choir, as well as the talents of a CCM Opera alumna (Helen Lyons), a student from Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, several current CCM Opera students and local Chinese singers.
For ticket information on Turandot or any other CCM event contact the CCM Box Office: 513-556-4183 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCM Opera Alumnus Michael Hendrick (M.M. ’91 & A.D. ’93) will be covering 3 major lead roles at the Metropolitan Opera in the coming months.
Chairman Mao in John Adams’ Nixon in China
The Drum Major in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck
Bacchus in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.
Michael made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007 when he went on as Menelas in Strauss’ “Die Ägyptische Helena” for the opening night performance.
Michael is also performing the title role in Teatro Colón production of Lohengrin this Fall in Buenos Aires.
Bravo Mr. Hendrick, keep the good news coming.
For more information about Michael please visit his website at http://www.michaelhendrick.com
Next month CCM Opera faculty member Nic Muni will travel to Boston to direct Paul Hindemith’s enigmatic opera Cardillac.
Click here to read more about this rarely peformed opera from Wikipedia.
Click here to visit Opera Boston’s website and read about the production.