The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

CCM Opera Alumni

CCM Voice Alum Joelle Harvey Stars in NYCO Production of “Orpheus”

Joelle Harvey as Eurydice

CCM alumna Joelle Harvey recently starred in New York City Opera’s production of Telemann’s “Orpheus,” singing the role of Eurydice. Harvey, who holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in vocal performance from CCM, was also mentioned in a New York Times review of the production and was praised by Times writer Anthony Tommasini for her “bright, agile soprano” and “winsome presence.”


CCM Alumnus Nathan Stark (AD) covering in Billy Budd at the Met

Bass-Baritone Nathan Stark is currently covering in Billy Budd at the Metropolitan Opera.

Nathan Stark
What a thrilling, and terrifying, experience to get a call from the Metropolitan Opera saying, “you’re on today, Mr. Stark – the artist you’re covering is sick and unable to rehearse this evening. Please be here in 30 minutes to begin staging Act 1, scene 1. We’ll also need you to sing through the musical run-through of act 2 this evening.”
THANK GOD I was prepared musically, off-book and memorized. I barely had time to take a 5 minute shower, warm up my voice (while in the shower) and jump on the A train to Lincoln Center before I was standing between opera superstars like Nathan Gunn, James Morris and Dwayne Croft singing through Billy Budd – an opera I’d never done before. Everybody from the artists to stage director, the coaches to the conductor congratulated me afterward for being so well prepared in stepping in. They were all so very kind to me and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.

CCM Opera/Voice Students and Alumni among winners at 2012 Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition

5 CCM Students (almuni & current) have won awards at the internationally prestigious Gerda Lissner Competition held this past week in New York City. Congratulations!
Results from the 2012 Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition.

Opera, The Golden Ticket features CCM Alumnus Daniel Okulitch

Daniel Okulitch as Willy Wonka

Did you know that The Golden Ticket, American Lyric Theater’s (ALT) first opera commission – based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – is being produced for the third time this winter? The Golden Ticket received its world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2010, followed by its European premiere at Ireland’s Wexford Festival. This month, ALT is partnering with The Atlanta Opera to present The Golden Ticket…and… even more exciting news… we are recording the performances for release on CD later this year!

The recording will featuring many of the singers who premiered their roles at OTSL, including Daniel Okulitch ( as Willy Wonka, as well as many artists who first created their roles in ALT’s New York City workshops. We are also very excited to announce that the recording will be conducted by none other than the composer himself, Peter Ash!

Reviewing the world-premiere, The London Financial Times said that this operatic adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory “captures the wit, wizardry and wonder of Dahl’s story” and has a “fun-filled score, with zippy contemporary ambiance”; and The Chicago Tribune was thrilled to discover a “deliciously droll fantasy kids will cheer…and adults can savor!” By recording The Golden Ticket, audiences around the world will soon be able to enjoy this wonderful new opera for years to come.

Read more about this project at 

Zhang Xuan at The Cincinnati Symphony

Zhang Xuan

Peter Landgren, Zhang Xuan & Robin Guarino

Zhang Xuan & Robin Guarino

Zhang Xuan (CCM Alumna) served as the fifth music director of the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra from 2005 to 2007. In January 2008, she became the first woman to conduct the Staatskapelle Dresden in its principal hall. In March 2009, the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi announced the appointment of Zhang as its next music director, the first woman to be named music director of an Italian symphony orchestra, effective with the 2009-2010 season.

CCM Opera Alumni Spotlight – Joélle Harvey

© Arielle Doneson

© Arielle Doneson

Where are you call home these days?
I’m currently living in NYC with my soon-to-be husband and manager, Alex Fletcher.

What plans do you have coming up the next year?
In September (after I get married), I will be in Boston to make a recording of Tod Machover’s robot opera Death and the Powers. Most of October will be spent in Venice singing Galatea in Handel’s Acis and Galatea, which I performed at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence this summer. In November I’ll sing Michal in Handel’s Saul with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen at the Barbican in London. I sing three Messiah’s in December (Dartmouth College, Kansas City Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony). In January and February I’ll be in Boston to sing Jenifer in Michael Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage, along with CCM alums Deborah Selig and Matt DiBattista. In June I’ll sing Bach’s B Minor Mass at the Thomas Kirche in Leipzig with Harry Bickett and the English Concert. After that I’ll be singing Susanna for three months with the Glyndebourne Festival Tour.

What have been some of your highlights in the past year?
I traveled a fair amount over the last 12 months. After singing Seleuce in Handel’s Tolomeo with Glimmerglass Opera in the summer of 2010, I went to Monaco to sing in the world premiere of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers. That November I sang as the soprano soloist with the San Francisco Symphony in Carmina Burana. I then stepped in at the last minute to sing Messiah with Harry Bickett and the English Concert in a short tour of Spain. This winter I spent time singing in Frankfurt and at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and had auditions in Berlin, Paris, and London. In May I sang Sophie in the Washington Concert Opera’s presentation of Werther. I left straight from there to go to Aix-En-Provence, where I spent the summer singing Galatea in Acis and Galatea. Since I got back in July, I’ve mostly been planning my September 3rd wedding!

In the spring of 2011 I received a First Place award from the Gerda Lissner Foundation.

Can you share some fond memories you have of CCM?
I truly enjoyed all of my time at CCM. I have fond memories from my first year of undergrad when the Chamber Choir toured Portugal- how lucky was I to get to do that my first year? I made a lot of great friends, some of whom now live just a few blocks away in NYC. There were also tremendous teachers, such as Dr. Edward Nowacki, and, of course, my voice teacher, Karen Lykes. Karen is the most supportive teacher I’ve ever met, and I feel that it would have been worth six years at CCM just to study with her.

What were some valuable lessons you took with you after you left CCM?
I’m always amazed at the number of former CCM students I run into while singing with various companies. They are consistently the most prepared and hardest working members of any production, and it makes me proud to be able to say that I went to CCM. We were taught to take pride in what we do, do it well, and to be good colleagues.

Would you like to share anything else?
Finally, I would like to admit publicly that I still am in possession of a CCM Chamber Choir black folder. Sorry, Dr. Rivers! 🙂

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.