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Of Note

:: Two Sirs, with Love: Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Harrison Birtwistle
    among Many Visitors to Oberlin

:: Legendary Mezzo-Soprano Marilyn Horne In Residence
    as Distinguished Professor of Voice

:: Oberlin on the Road
:: David H. Stull Appointed Dean of the Conservatory
:: Bridget-Michaele Reischl is New Conductor
:: New Faculty Appointments at the Conservatory
:: Andrea Kalyn Appointed Associate Dean
:: Oberlin String Quartet Redux
:: International Piano Competition Winners
:: The Steinway Technical Academy at Oberlin
:: Corporate Support for Live Broadcasts
:: Nights at the Opera


Two Sirs, with Love: Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Harrison Birtwistle among Many Visitors to Oberlin

Sir Harrison Birtwistle
(photo by Hanya Chlala)

Two knights of the British Empire crossed the pond to visit Oberlin this past year.

Sir Simon Rattle, famed music director of the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in Finney Chapel last December, with soprano Alyson Cambridge ’02 the featured soloist.

“Sir Simon Rattle is one of the great conductors of our time, and an inspiration to all of us as musicians,” says Dean of the Conservatory David H. Stull. “This was an extraordinary opportunity for our students and surely a highlight of their Oberlin experience.”

“Virtually everything about this performance was stamped by magnificence,” wrote Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg. “Under Rattle, the Oberlin musicians played with superb cohesiveness and refinement.”

Sir Simon had this to say about his Oberlin experience: “I was immensely impressed with my time at Oberlin. Not only were the students excellently prepared, they also emanated a joy in discovery and a corporate intelligence that was very moving. In this small community, there is obviously something special going on.”

In May, the composition department hosted Sir Harrison Birtwistle in a weeklong residency that included lectures, master classes, and three concerts of the acclaimed composer’s work performed by the Contemporary Music Ensemble and the Oberlin Wind Ensemble (conducted by Timothy Weiss) and the Oberlin Percussion Group (conducted by Michael Rosen). Featured soloists included soprano Tony Arnold ’90 and Conservatory faculty members Marlene Ralis Rosen, Richard Hawkins, and Michael Rosen.

 

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the
Oberlin Chamber Orchestra in rehearsal.
(photo by Roger Mastroianni)

Sir Harrison is “literally one of a handful of composers who will be viewed as completely essential to the second half of the 20th century,” says Lewis Nielson, director of the Conservatory’s Division of Contemporary Music and chair of the composition department. “He is absolutely vital to the continuity of contemporary music in the present.”

During the residency, President Nancy S. Dye conferred upon Sir Harrison an honorary doctorate of music arts.

Other visitors to Oberlin this year included jazz flute legend Paul Horn ’52, who was on campus for a series of master classes and coachings in April 2004; and Dr. Carolynn Lindeman ’62, professor of music at San Francisco State University and a board member of the International Society for Music Education, who presented music education workshops in September. The music education division named Lindeman a Distinguished Music Educator. Violinist Jennifer Koh ’97, pianist Kotaro Fukuma, cellist Steven Isserlis ’80, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)—whose members are all Oberlin alumni—the Pacifica Quartet, organist Olivier Latry, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore, and conductor Oliver Knussen, who led the Cleveland Orchestra, featuring violinist William Preucil, were all on campus under the auspices of the Artist Recital Series. Percussionist Steven Schick was in residence in November; visiting harpsichordists throughout the season included Christopher Sternbridge, Robert Conant, and Skip Sempé ’80. Conductor and composer Alice Parker visited in conjunction with a hymn and folk-song festival in October; Madame Marie-Louise Langlais, professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory, conducted a master class; pianist Russell Sherman’s March residency included master classes and a concert; and composer Daniel Pinkham arrived in December for a mini-festival of his work that included the American premiere of Organ Concerto No. 2, performed by James David Christie. Avant-garde and multi-faceted new music pioneer Meredith Monk, in a residency sponsored in part by the art department, engaged in a workshop with composition, TIMARA, percussion, and contemporary music students. Jazz pianist Eric Lewis was invited to Oberlin in February by the Black Musicians’ Guild to perform a concert honoring Emerita Professor of Piano Frances Walker Slocum ’45. Also in February, the Conservatory hosted the first-ever Classical Guitar Studio Alumni Festival, featuring Brian Dowdy ’02, Joshua Millard ’99, Dan Lippel ’98, Rami Vamos ’97, Matthew Hinsley ’96, and Adam Tully ’97.

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Legendary Mezzo-Soprano Marilyn Horne in Residence as Distinguished Professor of Voice

Courtesy of CAMI

The legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, whose five-decade career in opera, concert, and recital has been celebrated throughout the world, will be in residence as Distinguished Professor of Voice from October 14 through 17, 2005.

Regarded as one of the greatest operatic mezzo-sopranos in history for the power and artistry of her unique and dazzling coloratura as well as for her revival of many forgotten Rossini, Handel, Vivaldi, and Bellini operas, Horne will present four master classes in Oberlin, two of which will be open to the public. She will also teach private lessons to Oberlin voice majors.

“Marilyn Horne is an icon,” says Dean of the Conservatory David H. Stull. “Her stature as a singer, secured by an astonishing performance career, is preserved not only by her discography but also by the legacy she has created as a teacher and mentor. We look forward to welcoming her to Oberlin.”

Horne created the Marilyn Horne Foundation in 1994 to support young singers and the art of the song. She is vocal program director at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California.

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Oberlin on the Road

During the 2004-05 season, Conservatory students and faculty either headlined or participated in numerous performances throughout the country.

Singers from the Conservatory joined the Cleveland Orchestra, under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst, and an international cast of singers in concert performances of Richard Strauss’s Elektra at Severance Hall last May. The Oberlin cast members were sopranos Jean Lowe ’04 and Marie Masters ’05, baritone Todd Boyce ’05, and mezzo-sopranos Karen Jesse ’04, Rebecca Ringle ’02, and Kathryn Leemhuis ’05. Boyce, Leemhuis, and Masters made their Cleveland Orchestra debuts with the performances. The one-act opera, sung in German, received laudatory reviews in the New York Times, the Plain Dealer, and the Akron Beacon Journal.

This May, the Cleveland Orchestra, in an all-Stravinsky program under the baton of Pierre Boulez, again welcomed Marie Masters, along with mezzo-soprano Robin Hok ’06, tenors Thorsteinn Arbjornsson ’06 and Michael Sansoni ’07, and bass Dashon Burton ’05. Masters was the soloist in Four Peasant Songs; the others sang in Le Rossignol.

 

The Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of James Gaffigan, in performance at Severance Hall.
(photo by Roger Mastroianni)

Again in Severance Hall, the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra performed in April under the baton of James Gaffigan, assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, in a concert dedicated to distinguished voice professor Helen Hodam, who taught at Oberlin from 1963 until 1984. The program featured works by Debussy, Stravinsky, and Mussorgsky. The concert was produced with the generous support of the Kulas Foundation. Music critic Robert Finn, writing in the Plain Dealer, noted the ensemble’s “solid and technically assured” playing as well as its “brilliant sound.” This was the second year in a row that one of Oberlin’s large ensembles graced the Severance stage; April 18, 2006 will mark the third occasion.

The Oberlin Baroque Orchestra, led by Jeannette Sorrell ’92, founder and conductor of Apollo’s Fire, performed at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights as well as in Finney Chapel in February. The Plain Dealer reviewed the Finney performance, which was “marked by strong, emotional music-making ... the performances by [the Conservatory students] would have made the baroque composers proud.”

The Oberlin Jazz Septet performs
at the BopStop in Cleveland.
(photo by Roger Mastroianni)

Also in Cleveland, in December, the Oberlin Jazz Septet (OJS) headlined at the Bop Stop before taking to the road for a winter-term tour that included stops in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Denver and ended in Aspen, Colorado, for the winter concert series and outreach program at Jazz Aspen Snowmass.

Members of the OJS are trombonist Ryan Snow ’05, a student of Associate Professor of Jazz Trombone Robin Eubanks; guitarist Max Hellermann ’05, a student of Associate Professor of Jazz Guitar Robert Ferrazza; percussionist Kassa Overall ’06, a student of Assistant Professor of Jazz Percussion Billy Hart and Professor of Percussion Michael Rosen; pianist Phillip Jones II ’06, a student of visiting teacher of jazz piano Dan Wall; tenor saxophonist Matt Nelson ’06, a student of Visiting Professor of Jazz Saxophone Gary Bartz; bassist Ben Purcell ’06, a student of Professor of Jazz Studies and Double Bass Peter Dominguez; and, on trumpet, Theo Croker ’07, a student of Visiting Professor of Jazz Trumpet Marcus Belgrave.

The Oberlin Jazz Ensemble also hit the road, performing at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in February. They returned with a certificate of merit honoring what the organizers called their “excellent performance.”

New York, New York
The Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME), under the direction of Associate Professor of Conducting and Gardner Professor of Music Timothy Weiss, made two sojourns to Manhattan in less than a year.

 

The Contemporary Music Ensemble: (L. to R.) Amie Weiss ’04, violin; J Freivogel ’06, violin; Glenda Goodman ’07, viola; Kristina Hendricks ’05, viola; Chelsea Doohan ’05, cello; Emily DuFour ’05, cello; Gardner Professor of Music Timothy Weiss, conductor.
(photo Copyright Steve J. Sherman '81)

At Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in March 2004, the ensemble, under the auspices of the International Artists Alliance, presented a program showcasing the music of Professor of Composition Lewis Nielson. Music critic Anthony Aibel, writing in the New York Concert Review, declared Nielson “a master composer, an American original” who “deserves to be better known.”

Under Weiss’s direction, the CME presented, according to Aibel, “unbelievably polished, superb performances—impeccable performances.”

When the ensemble returned to the Big Apple in January, with Weiss again at the helm but this time at Merkin Hall, Aibel was ready to give them another assessment. He was not disappointed.

This time the varied program included the world premiere of Nielson’s Anabasis, whose “subtle evolutions of canonic treatment and development are comparable to a recapitulation in a Beethoven symphony,” wrote Aibel.

“One hopes [the CME] will continue performing annually in New York, a city that deserves great performances such as these,” Aibel wrote in the New York Concert Review. “Other contemporary ensembles present fascinating programs in town, but rarely do they perform them with such polish and conviction.”

The following month the CME had another off-site commitment to fulfill: under the baton of Weiss they performed chamber music by Oliver Knussen at Severance Hall as a special lead-in to the Cleveland Orchestra’s concerts featuring the composer as conductor.

The Conservatory Project
The Jasper Quartet, pianists Yury Shadrin ’05, Yingying Su ’07, and Scott Meek ’05, violinist Yuncong Zhang ’07, baritone Todd Boyce ’05, and oboist Emily Brebach ’05 represented the Conservatory in the prestigious Conservatory Project Series at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in February.

The series, a program for developing and presenting young talent from the nation’s leading music conservatories, is part of the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage Initiative. National Public Radio recorded the performances, which were broadcast via the Kennedy Center’s web site.

“By inviting Oberlin to participate,” says Associate Dean Andrea Kalyn, “our nation’s performing arts leaders have affirmed that we offer one of the country’s finest music programs.”

Music critic Daniel Ginsberg, writing in the Washington Post, agreed: “The historic Oberlin College Conservatory ... showed why the school is such a national treasure with its wonderfully varied concert.”

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David H. Stull Appointed Dean of the Conservatory

David H. Stull
(photo by Roger Mastroianni)

When David H. Stull ’89 was appointed the new dean of the Conservatory last May by Oberlin College President Nancy S. Dye, she called it “great news” for Oberlin, and noted that his appointment “was greeted with unanimous enthusiasm and support by Oberlin’s faculty.

“David has a keen understanding of Oberlin’s unique place as a top-tier music school and the challenges of the professional music world,” she said. “The young musicians who study at Oberlin—and the artists and scholars who teach here—will find him to be an excellent advocate for their interests and a tireless promoter of their efforts.”

Stull, who is also professor of brass studies, officially took office July 1, 2004, after serving as associate dean of the Conservatory for four years and acting dean during the spring 2004 sabbatical leave of Robert K. Dodson.

“I am very pleased and honored to undertake the leadership of the Conservatory,” Stull said upon his appointment. “I look forward to continuing a legacy of excellence that will grow and flourish in the coming years. This is an outstanding community of performing artists and scholars, and I am privileged to be a part of it.”

Prior to Oberlin, Stull was at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he served as a member of the brass faculty, director of admissions, and ultimately as assistant dean. Before his tenure at Lawrence, Stull was associate director of admissions at the Juilliard School. He also served as director of residential life at the Aspen Music Festival from 1992 to 1994.

A tubist, he has performed with the American Brass Quintet, the Milwaukee Ballet, the Bravo Colorado Music Festival, and the Aspen Festival Orchestra, among others. His performances have included appearances in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall, and Merkin Hall in addition to tours throughout the United States and Europe. He has also recorded for commercial radio and television.

Stull has served as a guest speaker at the Interlochen Arts Academy on numerous occasions, has been a competition judge for Midwest Young Artists and for Juilliard’s pre-college division, and has appeared on National Public Radio’s Performance Today.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Stull studied tuba with Ronald Bishop at the Conservatory, obtaining a bachelor of music degree in performance and a bachelor of arts degree in English literature from the College. He also pursued further study at the Juilliard School in the American Brass Quintet program and holds a master of music degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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Bridget-Michaele Reischl is New Conductor

Bridget-Michaele Reischl
(photo courtesy
Studio 44, De Pere, WI)

Bridget-Michaele Reischl, music director of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra since 2001, will join the Oberlin faculty in July as visiting associate professor of conducting and music director of the Oberlin Orchestras. She will retain her directorship of the Green Bay Symphony.

Since becoming the first American to win Italy’s Antonio Pedrotti International Conducting Competition in 1995, Reischl has been an active guest conductor internationally and throughout the United States.

From 1992 through 2004, Reischl was music director of the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra and associate professor of conducting at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin.

“Bridget Reischl is a phenomenal musician and teacher and a very gifted conductor,” says Dean of the Conservatory David H. Stull. “We are enormously pleased to be bringing her to Oberlin.”

Reischl is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. As a student of Robert Spano ’83, she continued her studies as a conducting fellow at both the Aspen and the Tanglewood music festivals, where she worked with Seiji Ozawa, David Zinman ’58, and Murray Sidlin. She is recorded on the Velut Luna, CRI, and Sea Breeze Record Company labels.

Reischl’s first concert will be with the Oberlin Orchestra on Sunday, October 2, at 8 p.m. in Finney Chapel. She will also conduct the spring opera, The Merry Wives of Windsor, in March 2006.

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New Faculty Appointments at the Conservatory

Ross Feller
(photo by Megan Nadolski)

New faculty appointments at the Conservatory for the 2004-05 academic year included Salvatore Champagne, associate professor of singing; Ross Feller, assistant professor of composition; Amelia Kaplan, assistant professor of composition, and Jan Miyake ’96, assistant professor of music theory.

Feller recently served as an assistant professor at Georgia College and State University, where he coordinated music theory and composition programs. A specialist in contemporary saxophone techniques, he directed and performed with the GC&SU Jazz Combo. He studied composition with Henry Brant, Morgan Powell, and Salvatore Martirano. Feller’s compositions have been finalists in the Gaudeamus Foundation International Composers’ Competition (Amsterdam) and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Young Composers’ Competition (New York City). His work has been nominated for awards from the Theodore Presser Foundation and American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been performed throughout the United States and in Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, and Spain. He earned a doctor of musical arts degree in composition-theory from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor of music degree, also in composition-theory, from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.

 

Amelia Kaplan
(photo by Joanna E. Morrissey)

Kaplan earned a PhD in music composition from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Princeton University. A recipient of an ASCAP Young Composers’ Grant for Chicago Chanson (1992), she also held a fellowship that year at the prestigious Gaudeamus International New Music Festival. She served as visiting assistant professor of composition and theory at the University of Iowa for four years and has held residencies at the McDowell Colony, Ucross, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Kaplan has studied with such composition scholars and composers as Shulamit Ran, Marta Ptaszynska, John Eaton, Ralph Shapey, Franco Donatoni (at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, where she received a diploma of merit), and with Tristan Murail and André Boucourechliev at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, where she earned a diploma. Her recent commissions include solo works for German violinist Annette Barbara-Vogel and bassoonist Benjamin Coelho.

 

Jan Miyake ’96
(photo by John Seyfried)

Miyake has been visiting instructor of music theory at Oberlin since 2002. She earned bachelor of music and bachelor of arts degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Oberlin College in 1996, a master of arts degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College), and a PhD from the Graduate Center, CUNY, in 2004. She has presented papers at annual meetings of the New York City Graduate Students in Music, the Society for Music Theory, and the Music Theory Society of New York State. Trained as a violist—at Oberlin she studied with Jeffrey Irvine and Lynne Ramsey—she is a research assistant to the acclaimed violinist Midori.

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Andrea Kalyn Appointed Associate Dean

Andrea Kalyn is the Conservatory’s new associate dean for academic affairs. She joined Oberlin in January 2005 after serving four years as assistant dean and musicologist at the North Carolina School of the Arts.

“Andrea brings a wealth of administrative and teaching experience to this position,” says Dean of the Conservatory David H. Stull. “Her energy, musicianship, and extensive professional background will serve Oberlin extraordinarily well in the coming years. I am very pleased she has joined our staff.”

At Oberlin, Kalyn will oversee curricular development and program evolution and will assist the dean with managing the Conservatory.

“I’m honored to be at Oberlin,” says Kalyn. “The Conservatory is a remarkable place. The students are among the best in the country, and I’m looking forward to getting to know them and helping them meet their academic goals. The artists and scholars on the faculty are also second to none—it will be a professional as well as a personal joy to work with them.”

Kalyn earned her PhD in musicology from the Eastman School of Music; her scholarship focuses on American music of the 20th century. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, also in musicology, are from the University of Western Ontario. She also holds an ARCT in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Kalyn has published articles on composers Howard Hanson and Daniel Gregory Mason and has presented papers on the chamber music of Brahms and Schubert, among others.

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Oberlin String Quartet Redux

In 1958, the same year that Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1 premiered in Basel, Switzerland, the Oberlin String Quartet won the fourth prize in the Concours International de Quatuor, sponsored by H.M. Queen Elisabeth, in Liege, Belgium.

 

The Oberlin String Quartet
(photo by Terrence McCarthy)

Bartók’s concerto, inspired by his short-lived relationship with the violinist Stefi Geyer, was first heard 50 years after it was composed. It would be nearly that long before music by the Oberlin String Quartet would once again be heard. The ensemble disbanded in 1959, after four brief seasons.

Now a new Oberlin String Quartet has emerged. Formed in 2004 by Conservatory faculty members (violinist Gregory Fulkerson ’71, violinist Kyung Sun Lee, violist Peter Slowik, and cellist Darrett Adkins ’91), the ensemble made its first public appearance in Finney Chapel in December with a concert featuring Beethoven’s String Quartet in E-flat, Op. 127 and, with Associate Professor of Piano Angela Cheng, Brahms’ Quintet in F minor, Op. 34. The quartet then embarked upon a tour of the West Coast that culminated in February with a performance at Cleveland’s Reinberger Hall in Severance Hall.

The first Oberlin String Quartet also consisted of Conservatory faculty members and was formed at Oberlin in 1955 by violinist Andor Toth Sr. and violist William Berman. Violinist John Dalley and cellist Peter Howard joined in 1958.

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International Piano Competition Winners

Wang Da, 17, from Shenyang, China, won the 10th Annual Oberlin International Piano Competition, held July 31, 2004, in Warner Concert Hall.

Second prize went to the Korean-born Sejoon Park, 14, of Falls Church, Virginia. The third-place award went to Sun-A Park, 16. Originally from Korea, she now lives with her family in Little Ferry, New Jersey. Kei Niedra, 14, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, and Hyo Kyun Shin, from Seoul, Korea, shared the fourth-place prize; Niedra also won the audience favorite award. Ying Cheng Yang, 17, of Shenyang, China, took fifth place.

Professor of Piano Robert Shannon is director of the competition, which is for pianists 13 through 18 years old. The 2005 event takes place July 24 through July 31.

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The Steinway Technical Academy at Oberlin

The Steinway Technical Academy at Oberlin debuted in July 2004, marking the first time that the venerable piano builder has collaborated with another musical institution to provide off-site training for its field service technicians. Seventeen technicians from across the country were selected to participate, learning from Steinway and Oberlin technicians, including Director of Piano Technology John Cavanaugh. The company is “thrilled to be partnering with our oldest all-Steinway school,” says John Patton, director of technical services for Steinway & Sons. “The technical support here is excellent and makes having this academy here possible.” Steinway is partnering with Oberlin for a second workshop this summer.

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Corporate Support for Live Broadcasts

Thanks to the generous support of three Oberlin alumni, the Conservatory is on the air.

Béla Szigethy ’77 and Stewart A. Kohl ’77 are the chief executive officers of the Riverside Company; Béla R. Schwartz ’79 is its chief financial officer. A leading private equity firm specializing in premier companies, the Riverside Company sponsored the Conservatory’s live broadcasts on 104.9 WCLV of the finals round of the 10th Annual Oberlin Piano Competition, violinist Jennifer Koh ’97, the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, the Oberlin String Quartet at Reinberger Hall, and the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra at Severance Hall, conducted by James Gaffigan. Upcoming are delayed broadcasts of recent recitals by pianist Kotaro Fukuma and cellist Steven Isserlis ’80 and, on July 30, 2005, the finals round of the 11th Annual Oberlin Piano Competition. All of WCLV’s broadcasts are simulcast on www.wclv.com.

“The generosity of Béla, Stewart, and Béla has made it possible for alumni, friends, and parents of current students—not only in Cleveland but around the world—to hear music from Oberlin,” says Dean of the Conservatory David H. Stull. “All of us are grateful for their outstanding contribution to our program.”

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Nights at the Opera

 

The cast of Albert Herring
(photo by Gabriel Graff)

The cast of Albert Herring included, from left: Kate Lerner ’06, Damien Pass ’06, Megan Hart ’05, Desiree Brodka ’05, Michael Sansoni ’06, and Todd Boyce ’05. “No one stood out in Wednesday’s cast ... They all did,” wrote Donald Rosenberg in the Plain Dealer. “Only space restrictions prevent a detailing of every singer’s sterling accomplishment.”

 

The ensemble of Orpheus in the Underworld
(photo by Jamilla Clarke)

 

 

All that jazz ... er, opera. The ensemble of Orpheus in the Underworld, seemed, wrote Rosenberg, “to be having an irreverent ball.”

Steven Smith conducted both operas, with stage direction by Associate Professor of Opera Theater Jonathon Field.

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