The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

Archive for June, 2011

CCM Opera Alumni Spotlight – Tamara Wilson

Where are you call home these days?
I am living in Naperville, IL a suburb of Chicago but I’m probably home only 6-8 weeks out of the year.

What plans do you have coming up the next year?
I have engagements to sing with The Oregon Bach Festival, Grant Park Music Festival (with fellow CCMer Brendan Touhy) singing Lobgesang by Mendelssohn. Then the rest of the season is more Verdi for me. Aida in Santiago Chile, Trovatore in Toulouse, and Don Carlo in Houston.

What have been some of your highlights in the past year?
I opened the season with Washington National Opera in Washington D.C. and then sang another Ballo with Teatre Principal in Maó, Spain. I sang a number of Beethoven 9 concerts touring Japan with Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart under Helmuth Rilling. Sang Turn of the Screw with L.A. Opera. Made made German debut singing Ada in Wagner’s first opera with Oper Frankfurt under Sebastian Weigle which was recorded and will be released by Oehms Classics sometime next year.

I won the 48th Annual Francisco Vinas Competition held at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain, received a Tucker Career Grant for 2011 from the Tucker Music Foundation and I also was given the chance to sing for the National Endowment of the Arts Opera Honors concert in Washington D.C. I sang “Ernani involami” from Verdi’s Ernani to honor legendary soprano Martina Arroyo.

Can you share some fond memories you have of CCM?
My fondest memories come from three main branches at CCM. First and foremost my voice lessons with Barbara Honn. She is and always will be my closest friend and mentor. I enjoyed my time in Professor Griffiths Art Song class. I love the fact that Professor Griffiths looks at music history in context of everything else that was happening in the arts. Whether is was visual arts, poetry, etc. I still thinks of certain paintings when I’m singing song literature. I learned more in that class than any other while in school. My fondest memories though stem not from the opera department but the choral department. I was given chances to learn and perform repertoire that I am currently singing professionally because of Dr. Earl Rivers. You learn skills in choir that make you a better singer, colleague, and musician. The first solo I learned was from Verdi’s Requiem my freshman year and I just sang that piece for the first time professional at the Oregon Bach Festival last year. The choral department knew I would be singing Verdi before I did.

What were some valuable lessons you took with you after you left CCM?
The main things that CCM instill in their students are discipline and striving for excellence. CCM has this way of challenging it’s students to produce high levels of technical prowess to interpret music to it’s full potential. Being at CCM prepared me for the “real” world and I would argue that preparedness is 90% of what makes a successful musician.

Would you like to share anything else?
I am living proof that you do not need to sing major roles while at school. I only did two operas while at CCM both minor roles and because I focused on my technique and lived in a practice room (not all the time though because you do have to have a certain amount of fun :)) I now get to travel the world doing what I love.


CCM Opera Students and Alumni Populate 2011 Summer Festivals and Young Artist Programs

CCM Opera would like to recognize the following students who are performing in summer festivals and young artist programs both in the United States and abroad.

Post comments at the bottom of this page if we’ve missed you.

Castleton Festival

Amanda Consol – Stage Director

CCM Spoleto

Michael Alcorn
Samina Aslam
Holly Cameron
Ryan Connelly
Chance Eakin
Esther Kang
Yi Li
John McCarthy
Simone McGaw
Shawn Mlynek
Fotina Naumenko
Luis Orozco
Gino Pinzone
Lauren Pollock
Abigail Santos-Villalobos
Alison Scherzer
Jesslyn Thomas
Dashiell Waterbury
Jennifer Williams

Cincinnati Opera 2011 Season

Kaitlyn Adams
Tyler Alessi
Christopher Allen
Davia Bandy
Anthony Beck
Noel Bouley
Keith Brown
Timothy Bruno
Kelvin Chan
Allan Chan
Sara Cowing
Marshall Dean
Natalie Eccleston
Jackie Echols
Hilary Ginther
Melissa Harvey
Gregory Jebaily
Alisa Jordheim
Elena Kholodova
Seth Killen
Wesley Lawrence
Audrey Luna
Marie McManama
Jamie Medina
Edward Nelson
Charles Owen
Christina Paz
Amita Prakash
Mary Clare Quinn
Jennifer Rhodus
Nathan Stark
Kenneth Stavert
Jonathan Stinson
Megan Tarkington
Audrey Walstrom
Ivy Walz
Weston Wetzel
Brittany Wheeler
Jennifer Williams

Crested Butte Music Festival

Marco Cammarota

Des Moines Metro Opera

Paulette Penzvalto

Houston Grand Opera

Mark Diamond

Kentucky Opera

Noel Bouley
Ryan Connelly
Greg Jebaily
Abigail Paschke


Opera Lafayette

Kelly Ballou

Opera Saratoga

Emma Cardiff
Danielle Messina
Abigail Paschke
Spencer Viator

San Francisco Opera – Merola Opera Program


Mark Diamond
Deborah Nansteel
Xi Wang

Santa Fe Opera

Emma Char
John Holiday
Jason Slayden

Seagle Music Colony

Ian McEuen
Stephanie Schoenhofer

Seattle Opera

Joseph Lattanzi
Brandi Samuels


Sakinah Davis
Katie Papa
Kathryn Zajac

Tanglewood Music Festival

Yoongeong Lee
Andrew Penning

The Music Academy of the West

José Rubio

Utah Festival Opera

Dallas Heaton
Andrew Penning

Wolftrap Opera

Freddie Ballentine
Hunter Enoch
Brandi Samuel

CCM Opera Alumni Spotlight – Bronwen Forbay

This CCM Opera Alumni Spotlight will focus on soprano Bronwen Forbay. While at CCM Mrs. Forbay performed leading roles in Handel’s Ariodante and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Where are you living now?

I am currently living in Durban, South Africa, my hometown. I will be moving back to the US at the end of June 2011.

What projects do you have coming up?

Upcoming performances include my first Violetta in La Traviata with the Cape Town Opera, as well as the soprano soloist in a Mozart Requiem on tour in northern-Italy with my husband, American tenor soloist Randall Umstead (DMA).

What are some projects have you been working on in the past year?

I recently submitted my DMA document and will be graduating from CCM soon. In February 2011 I fulfilled my Fulbright two year home stay obligation and in December 2010 I completed a two year stint lecturing at my alma-mater, the University of Natal (now part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal) in Durban, South Africa. I also debuted in the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Cape Town Opera which was highly successful. When I am awarded my DMA in voice performance, I will become the first South African woman (and second South African) to have ever obtained this qualification.

Do you have any fond memories of CCM?

I have many fond memories of CCM but two people who made a huge impact on my life stand out: one is my teacher and mentor, Kenneth Shaw, the other is my husband, Randall Umstead (DMA) who I met at CCM.

Can you talk about something of value you took with you when you left CCM?

Witnessing and experiencing first-hand how the incredibly high level of talent among the students is nurtured and developed to its fullest potential by dedicated and committed staff within a collegial environment. This is very precious and is something I will take with me wherever I go.

Is there anything else you wish to share?

CCM is an extraordinary institution. It changed my life and I am privileged to have been able to undertake my doctoral studies there.

Opera Resource Site:

FYI: This site looks like a nice resource for young artist programs and other auditions.

If you have not heard of it, you should bookmark it and check it every one in a while for information.

Home Page –
Young Artist Programs Link –


CCM Opera



CCM Opera 2011-2012 Season Announcement

CCM Opera 2011/2011 Season

  • Opera Fusion: New Works

    Co-Artistic Directors: Robin Guarino & Marcus Küchle

    November 12th, 2011 – 8:00pm
    Werner Recital Hall

    November 13th, 2011 – 3:00pm
    The Cincinnati Opera

A Collaboration between Cincinnati Opera and CCM Opera
Opera Fusion: New Works is an exciting new program whose goal is to contribute to the vitality of opera in North America through the development and production of new operatic works. Funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Opera Fusion: New Works offers composers or composer/librettist teams the opportunity to workshop an opera during a 10-day residency at CCM Opera and The Cincinnati Opera.

  • Don Giovanni
    by W.A. Mozart

    Conductor: Junghyun Cho
    Director: Nic Muni

    February 9th, 2012 – 8:00pm
    February 10th, 2012 – 8:00pm
    February 11th, 2012 – 2:00pm & 8:00pm
    February 12th, 2012 – 2:00pm

    Patricia Corbett Theater

  • La Tragédie de Carmen
    by George Bizet adapted by Peter Brook

    Conductor: Stefano Sarzani
    Director: Steven Goldstein

    March 2nd, 2012 – 8:00pm
    March 3rd, 2012 – 8:00pm
    March 4th, 2012 – 2:00pm

    The Cohen Family Studio Theater

  • The Rake’s Progress
    by Igor Stravinsky

    Conductor: Mark Gibson
    Director: Robin Guarino

    May 10th, 2012 – 8:00pm
    May 11th, 2012 – 8:00pm
    May 12th, 2012 – 8:00pm
    May 13th, 2012 – 2:00pm

    Corbett Auditorium

  • La Cenerentola
    by Gioacchino Rossini

    Conductor: TBA
    Director: TBA

    May 25th, 2012 – 8:00pm
    May 26th, 2012 – 8:00pm
    May 27th, 2012 – 2:00pm

    The Cohen Family Studio Theater

More information about CCM Opera can be found at

Cincinnati Opera returns to the zoo with CCM Opera and Opera Fusion

Tyler Alessi, Wesley Lawrence, Davia Bandy, Jacqueline A. Echols & Tim J. Bruno

Tyler Alessi, Wesley Lawrence, Davia Bandy, Jacqueline Echols & Tim Bruno

From and Janelle Gelfand
Arts in Focus

Opera returns to the Zoo — for a night

by Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer

Opera fans flocked to the Zoo.

Cincinnati Opera went back to the Zoo Wednesday night for its second (and what we hope will be annual) evening of arias and animals. What fun it was to see a parade of animals at the end — including a small kangaroo, bearcat, peacock, eagle and llamas — as the fine cast of CCM Opera singers sang “Talk to the Animals,” to the delight of the sold-out crowd of all ages.

The opera gave away more than 1,200 free tickets to the event. Many attended opera when it was at the Zoo; some had never been to an opera. The company, of course, played to huge summertime crowds – and competed with sometimes screeching Zoo animals — from 1920 until it moved into Music Hall in 1972.

Zoo director Thane Maynard and Cincinnati Opera director Evans Mirageas shared hosting duties in the Great American Wings of Wonder Amphitheatre. Mirageas pointed out that the actual opera stage was where Gibbon Island now stands. And Maynard gave tidbits on the fauna, such as Eric the Eagle (Eddie his trainer told us about his incident of “projectile evacuation” during a dress rehearsal for Aida in Music Hall), Lucy the Bearcat, Homer the Barnowl, one of Cathryn Hilker’s cheetahs and more.

The singers — Tyler Alessi (baritone); Davia Bandy (mezzo); Timothy J. Bruno (bass); Jacqueline A. Echols (soprano); and Wesley Lawrence (tenor) were terrific in music from Carmen, Manon Lescaut, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, The Gondoliers, Eugene Onegin and more. Echols wowed in “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess,” and Lawrence channeled Pavarotti in a Neapolitan song, ‘Marechiare.” Carol Walker was the able accompanist.

On June 27, 1920, Cincinnati Opera presented its first opera, a production of Martha, in an outdoor pavilion at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. For the next half-century, performances at the Cincinnati Zoo Pavilion filled a 10-week season that regularly featured some of the most legendary singers of the 20th century—Plácido Domingo, Norman Treigle, Beverly Sills, Sherrill Milnes, Montserrat Caballé, James Morris, and Roberta Peters, to name a few. Cincinnati Opera moved to Music Hall in 1972, but the partnership between the Opera and the Zoo continues to the present day.

The event was sponsored by the Marge & Charles J. Schott Foundation.