Opera/Voice

A male voice student sings an aria accompanied by a female pianist during the Moveable Feast event

CCM’s Departments of Opera and Voice provide one of the most comprehensive training programs for singers, opera coaches and opera directors in the United States.

CCM offers an international faculty of dedicated educators who are also celebrated professionals in their own right, widely and currently active in their respective fields.

CCM sends its students out into the profession. Several national opera companies now hold auditions at the conservatory, and the Opera Department also hosts a series of informational talks by nationally renowned artists' managers, opera company managers, artistic directors, program directors, performers and coaches, all of whom are prominent professionals working both in America and in Europe.

CCM students have continued to make their way to Cincinnati Opera, singing in the chorus or entering the young-artist program and taking on supporting roles, before making significant careers in other opera houses.

Opera News


Voice Degree Programs

The most important aspect of CCM's voice program is the weekly private lesson with faculty. The low student-to-teacher ratio allows teachers to serve as advisors and mentors. Performance opportunities abound in solo, ensemble and dramatic settings. At least one solo recital is required as the capstone of the program, and students have the option of performing non-required recitals. Frequent studio recitals, master classes and opera scene workshops are scheduled, and CCM houses two audition choirs that perform each semester.

There are two full-length opera productions in CCM's Corbett Auditorium or Patricia Corbett Theater each year, in addition to several opera and/or cabaret productions in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. These annual offerings provide ample stage exposure, plus an additional opera project limited exclusively to undergraduates. Language instruction and elective opportunities are critical aspects of the study.

This four-year program covers a complete range of academic and performance activities. Senior year includes a requirement for six hours a week of Opera Workshop, studying movement, acting and role preparation that culminates in a fully-staged performance of opera scenes. Advanced students audition for roles in CCM's mainstage opera productions and studio and workshop presentations.

Candidates are offered a wide range of practical and academic classes, including foreign languages and diction, oratorio and vocal repertoire. In the first year, six hours per week of opera training is required, which covers movement, acting and work on opera scenes. In the second year, students can continue with classes in opera characterization, opera coaching and opera production. Students audition for major roles in mainstage opera productions, and studio and workshop performances.

The program is designed to promote the development of superior performing musicians and teachers. It offers singers with a high degree of proficiency and artistry a comprehensive selection of classes in music literature, music history and performance practices, with electives covering a broad range of classes in the Opera Department, and numerous opportunities to perform in recital and on the opera stage.

CCM's admissions process begins on August 1 (undergraduate) and September 1 (graduate) for entrance in the following year's fall semester. All application materials must be submitted on or before December 1 to be considered for specific scholarship awards. Visit the CCM Admissions website for additional application instructions.

Voice - BM

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 3 in order to be invited for an audition/interview and considered for admissions.

Pre-screening Requirements
  • Two Art Songs (one in English, one in another language).
    • While not technically art song, arias from the 24/26 Italian Songs and Arias books are examples of permissible repertoire.
    • Oratorio arias written before 1750 are permissible. 

Audition

Audition Requirements
  • The same repertoire selections may be used for pre-screening and live auditions 
  • Double Major applicants in BM (Voice Performance) and BM (Music Education) will be required to sight-sing as part of the Music Education Assessment. 
  • BM (Voice Performance) auditions do not require sight-singing.

Voice - MM

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 3 in order to be invited for an audition/interview and considered for admissions.

Pre-screening Requirements
  • 2 operatic arias of differing styles
  • 4 Art Songs
  • Language requirements: English and at least 2 languages chosen from Italian/Spanish, German, and French must be presented
  • Upload the Opera Scholarship Competition application (if you wish to be considered)

Audition

Audition Requirements
  • Four Art Songs of contrasting styles and periods in English, French, German and Italian
  • Two arias (one may be from an oratorio)
  • Upload audition repertoire list and music (PDF) to Acceptd.
Audition Dates (on campus)
  • January 26
  • January 27
  • February 9
  • February 10

Recorded auditions are not permitted.

Opera Scholarship Competition: MM, DMA, AD Opera (Vocal Track) Applicants Only

To be considered for the Opera Scholarship Competition, you must complete and upload the application form along with your required pre-screening materials in Acceptd.

If invited to audition for your applied degree program, applicants must also prepare the following for the preliminary round audition (the preliminary round audition occurs on the same date as your assigned degree audition date):

  • Two arias (if applying for MM or DMA voice, the two required for the degree program plus two others so, a total of 4 arias should be performed during your audition)
  • AD Opera (vocal track) applicants will only need to upload the Opera Scholarship Competition application in Acceptd. Your audition which is 4 arias will fulfill the requirement to be considered.

Voice - DMA

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 3 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements

The Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance is designed for the combination of artist, scholar and teacher.  The successful DMA candidate exhibits an exceptional level of performance, has scholarly interests, and is motivated to prepare for a teaching career.

  • 4 Art Songs
    • 1 in English
    • At least 2 languages chosen from Italian/Spanish, German and French must be presented
  • 2 operatic arias in different languages
  • A complete repertoire list should be uploaded.  This should include art song organized by language, operatic roles, oratorio solos, and chamber music performed.
  • Upload the Opera Scholarship Competition application (if you wish to be considered) 
  • A current resume should be uploaded.  In addition to performances, please be sure it includes:
    • A list of your most recent teachers and the dates when you studied with them
    • Degrees earned (or to be earned) and the institution where you studied
    • Master classes where you performed – please list the teacher and date
    • Teaching experience (if any)

DMA applicants must submit two writing samples:

  • One academic paper – papers written during MM academic tenure are acceptable. Topics should be historical and/or theoretical treatments of a musical subject. Papers shall be no less than 10 pages in length. Standard formatting and footnotes are required.
  • One essay – composed on current and future trends in classical vocal music. Submitted essays must be 1-2 pages in length in PDF format. Essays must address: the role of classical singing in contemporary American culture; changes that have occurred and/or should occur; and future possibilities for this art form. Considerations may include: resources of talent, finance, venue and medium; both new and standard repertoire; audience. DMA applicants need not address all of these elements. One or two topics of interest may be chosen and discussed.

Audition

Audition Requirements

  • 1 Italian or Spanish Art Song
  • 1 French mélodie
  • 1 German Lied
  • 1 English Art Song
  • 2 operatic arias in two different languages
  • 1 Oratorio/Cantata/Mass aria
  • 1 art song or aria of your choice in any language

All pieces must be performed from memory, including the aria from an Oratorio, Mass or Cantata.

DMA applicants will have a separate interview with the Voice Faculty on the day of their in-person audition.  

Audition & Interview Dates (on campus)
  • January 19
  • January 20

Recorded auditions are not permitted.

Additional Information

A Cognate is declared by all DMA students at CCM.  It enables students to develop a secondary field of expertise. A minimum of 9 credit hours of specified course requirements are determined in consultation with the student’s Cognate committee chair, and approved by the student’s faculty advisor, Division Head and Director of Graduate Studies. Examples of Cognate areas include, but are not limited to, Choral Conducting, Pedagogy, Opera Direction, Arts Administration, specific areas of vocal repertoire/language, Music History, etc. Applicants should be prepared to discuss a potential area of interest for a Cognate during the interview at the in-person audition.

Voice Graduate Assistantship

Application Requirements

  • Experience in teaching voice required
  • Email professional resume including teaching and work experience to Professor Karen Lykes
  • Interviews will take place in conjunction with applicant’s live audition
  • Preference will be given to DMA applicants

Opera Scholarship Competition: MM, DMA, AD Opera (Vocal Track) Applicants Only

To be considered for the Opera Scholarship Competition, you must upload the completed application form along with your required pre-screening materials in Acceptd.

Applicants must also prepare the following for the preliminary round audition (the preliminary round audition occurs on the same date as your assigned degree audition date):

  • Two arias (if applying for MM or DMA voice, the two required for the degree program plus two others so, a total of 4 arias should be performed during your audition)
  • AD Opera (vocal track) applicants will only need to upload the Opera Scholarship Competition application in Acceptd. Your audition which is 4 arias will fulfill the requirement to be considered. 

Voice Faculty

Headshot of Quinn  Patrick Ankrum

Quinn Patrick Ankrum

Associate Professor of Voice

513-556-8229

Headshot of Gwendolyn M. Coleman

Gwendolyn M. Coleman

Professor of Voice

513-556-5381

Headshot of Amy S. Johnson

Amy S. Johnson

Associate Professor of Voice (Soprano)

267-980-3961

Headshot of Wendy LeBorgne

Wendy LeBorgne

Adjunct Assistant Professor

513-368-4770

Headshot of Karen Lykes

Karen Lykes

J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera and Dieterle Chair of Music in memory of George Andreas and Elsa Fishcher Dieterle; Professor of Voice

513-556-9516

Headshot of Elliot Madore

Elliot Madore

Associate Professor of Voice

513-556-5532

Headshot of Kenneth B. Shaw

Kenneth B. Shaw

Professor of Voice

513-556-9561

Headshot of Daniel Weeks

Daniel Weeks

Interim Division Head of Performance Studies; Associate Professor of Voice

513-556-6830


Performance Studies Division Head and Staff

Headshot of Daniel Weeks

Daniel Weeks

Interim Division Head of Performance Studies; Associate Professor of Voice

513-556-6830

Headshot of Sarah Minneman

Sarah Minneman

Chamber Music Coordinator

Headshot of Claudia C. Penn

Claudia C. Penn

Executive Staff Assistant

513-556-3442


Opera Degree Programs

CCM's artist diploma programs provide training in the art and craft of opera with one of the most comprehensive programs available anywhere in the world. These programs help a singer, coach or director develop the skills necessary to move with confidence onto the professional stage with a full understanding of the demands of the career.

one of the continent's major music schools

The Toronto Star

The program is limited to 12 singers who will perform at least four major roles in fully-staged productions. Students receive private coaching, intensive actor training and role preparation together with movement, period dance, language, audition and career management classes, and master classes with some of the finest artists in the world of opera.

In one of the few programs of its type in the nation, students develop linguistic, pianistic and coaching skills in the context of fully prepared original language productions. Opportunities are available to study conducting and take a wide range of vocal, stylistic and interpretative classes.

Candidates of proven ability and experience have a program tailored to their individual developmental needs, covering directing theory and practice, as well as acting, musical and foreign language skills, and areas of design and technical theater production. Students work as Assistant Directors on major productions and direct three productions of their own.

CCM's graduate admissions process begins on September 1 for entrance in the following year's fall semester. All application materials must be submitted on or before December 3 to be considered for specific scholarship awards. Visit the CCM Admissions website for additional application instructions.

Opera AD - Coaching Track

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 3 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements
  • CV or resume in demonstration of their experience working with singers, playing for opera, experience with languages, etc. 
  • Recordings are NOT required during the prescreening stage

Audition

Audition Requirements

Applicants must prepare one selection from each of the following categories (at least one selection must be played and sung simultaneously)

  1. One Mozart aria, with recitative, from the following list: 
    • “In quali eccessi, o numi... Mi tradi” from Don Giovanni 
    • “Crudele, ah no, mio bene... Non mir dir” from Don Giovanni 
    • “Hai già vinta la causa” from Le nozze di Figaro
    • “Temerari, sortite fuori di questo loco... Come scoglio” from Cosi fan tutte
    • “E Susanna non vien... Dove sono” from Le nozze di Figaro
  2. One Puccini aria from the following list: 
    • “Si, mi chiamano Mimì” from La bohème 
    • “Che gelida manina” from La bohème 
    • “Donde lieta” from La bohème
  3. One 20th Century aria from the following list:*
    • “No word from Tom” from Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (complete)
    • “Here I stand” from Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress 
    • “Sein wir wieder gut” from Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos 
    • “Grossmächtige Prinzessin” from Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos
    • *In exceptional situations, with approval of the Opera Coaching faculty, this selection could be substituted for a solo work demonstrating technical abilities.
  4. One ensemble from the following list: 
    • Sextet from Don Giovanni “Sola, sola in buio loco” 
    • Quartet from Rigoletto
  5. Prepare an aria that you will coach in your audition. We ask that you send us a list of possibilities to Professor Marie-France Lefebvre (short arias are welcome – “Ach ich fuhl’s, Di Provenza”...). A singer will be provided at the audition.
  6. Sight-reading
Audition Date (on campus)
  • February 10
Additional Information
  • Applicants should already have earned a bachelor’s degree with college-level proficiency in two languages from French, German or Italian 
  • The program is extremely competitive with no more than four students enrolled in any given year

Opera AD - Vocal Track

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 3 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements
  • Four operatic arias (video with high quality sound fidelity). Examples should not be sound enhanced. Videos may be from live performances (not split) of opera in which the student has recently appeared (please only send a five-minute clip cued to your specific excerpt), as well as the solo presentation of four operatic arias.
  • Upload the Opera Scholarship Competition application to Acceptd.

Audition

Audition
  • Four arias in total
    • One in English
    • One in Italian
    • One in EITHER French or German
    • One as the singer prefers
Audition Date (on campus)
  • February 10

Recorded auditions are not permitted.

Opera Scholarship Competition: MM, DMA, AD Opera (Vocal Track) Applicants Only

To be considered for the Opera Scholarship Competition, you must upload the completed application form along with your required pre-screening materials in Acceptd.

Applicants must also prepare the following for the preliminary round audition (the preliminary round audition occurs on the same date as your assigned degree audition date):

  • Two arias (if applying for MM or DMA voice, the two required for the degree program plus two others so, a total of 4 arias should be performed during your audition)
  • AD Opera (vocal track) applicants will only need to upload the Opera Scholarship Competition application in Acceptd. Your audition which is 4 arias will fulfill the requirement to be considered. 

Opera AD - Stage Directing

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 3 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements
  • A 3 to 5-page artistic statement 
  • A portfolio containing visual representation (video, photographs) of your directing work
  • Biography 
  • CV

Audition

Once the application and pre-screening materials are submitted, selected applicants will be scheduled by the Opera Department for a phone interview.

Additional Information
  • The Stage-Directing program is extremely competitive with no more than two students enrolled per year
  • Applicants should already have earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree or have equivalent professional experience as a stage director in the field
  • Proficiency in French, German and Italian and Music literacy is preferred
  • Applicants are expected to have already directed fully-staged theatre, music theatre and/or opera productions either with piano or orchestra

Opera Faculty

Headshot of Andrew Crooks

Andrew Crooks

Visiting Assistant Professor (Opera Coach)

513-556-5803

Headshot of Vincent DeGeorge

Vincent DeGeorge

Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre and the Joseph Weinberger Chair of Acting for the Lyric Stage

513-556-4030

Headshot of Robin A. Guarino

Robin A. Guarino

Professor of Opera

513-556-9450

Headshot of Lisa Sarah Hasson

Lisa Sarah Hasson

Instructor - Adjunct

513-556-5803

Headshot of Marie-France Lefebvre

Marie-France Lefebvre

Professor of Opera/Voice Coaching

513-556-9518

Headshot of Karen Lykes

Karen Lykes

J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera and Dieterle Chair of Music in memory of George Andreas and Elsa Fishcher Dieterle; Professor of Voice

513-556-9516

Headshot of Susan Moser

Susan Moser

Instructor - Adjunct

513-858-1996

Headshot of Brian Robertson

Brian Robertson

Visiting Assistant Professor of Opera


Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration Division Head and Staff

Headshot of Rebecca Bromels

Rebecca Bromels

Division Head of Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration (TAPAA); Chair and Associate Professor of Arts Administration

513-556-5803

Headshot of Jen Lampson

Jen Lampson

TAPAA Production Manager

513-556-9439

Headshot of Deborah Neiheisel-DeZarn

Deborah Neiheisel-DeZarn

TAPAA Program Manager

513-556-5803


For an effort still in its first decade, [OF:NW has] an enviable track record.

Opera News

Opera Fusion: New Works

Opera Fusion: New Works (OF:NW) is a dynamic partnership between CCM and Cincinnati Opera. Created in 2011 to foster the development of new American operas, OF:NW has grown into a nationally recognized collaboration which is not only advancing in repertoire, but also serving as an inspiring example of a successful joint venture between an educational institution and a professional performing arts organization.

OF:NW offers composers or composer/librettist teams the opportunity to workshop an opera during a 10-day residency in Cincinnati. Residencies utilize the facilities, personnel, and talent of both CCM and Cincinnati Opera. The workshops are cast with a combination of CCM students and professional artists, and each workshop concludes with a free public presentation of excerpts followed by an audience Q&A session, all of which is streamed online.


News and Events

1

CCM shares 2024 alumni and distinguished service awards

April 26, 2024

UC's College-Conservatory of Music is proud to present alumni and distinguished service awards to outstanding members of our community at the end of each academic year. The 2024 awards are presented to four accomplished alumni and one dedicated patron in a private virtual event on April 23.

2

CCM alums win prestigious grants from the Sphinx Organization

April 22, 2024

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music is thrilled to congratulate alums Titilayo Ayangade (BM Cello, ’14) and Jaime Sharp (MM Voice, ’22) on their recent wins of two MPower Artist Grants from the Sphinx Organization. Available only to alumni of the Sphinx Organization, these competitive grants are intended to “empower artists’ careers.”

3

CCM Opera Series presents 'Rappaccini’s Daughter' on April 4-6

April 4, 2024

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music's Opera Series transforms the stage into a treacherously alluring garden in a masterful production of Rappaccini’s Daughter (La hija de Rappaccini) on April 4-6, 2024, in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Get your tickets now through the CCM Box Office!

4

Get to know CCM’s newest faculty and staff members

March 29, 2024

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music will welcome a variety of new faculty and staff members to its roster of distinguished performing and media arts experts this fall. The following new appointments have been announced as of Aug 15, 2023. Additional new hires will be announced later this summer.

5

CCM announces 2024 Opera Scholarship Competition winners

March 13, 2024

Twenty-two current and incoming students competed for six full-tuition scholarships and $62,500 in additional awards during CCM's 2024 Opera Scholarship Competition. Since its inauguration in 1976, this annual competition welcomes current and incoming CCM voice students to compete for scholarships and cash prizes. A panel of judges composed of opera industry professionals selects each year’s class of prizewinners. Six students won awards in this year’s competition, which was conducted Saturday, March 9, 2024, in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium.

6

Cincinnati Opera and CCM to workshop 'Lalovavi' through Opera...

March 7, 2024

Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) have announced the next opera to be workshopped through their joint program, Opera Fusion: New Works (OF:NW): Lalovavi, with music by Kevin Day, libretto by Tifara Brown, and stage direction and dramaturgy by Kimille Howard.

7

New York Times spotlights East Coast premiere of 'Blind...

February 23, 2024

The New York Times recently featured the East Coast premiere of "Blind Injustice," an opera based on true exonerations achieved by the Ohio Innocence Project. The production opened on Feb. 16 , 2024, at Peak Performances at Montclair State University. Premiered in 2019 at Cincinnati Opera, the opera was first workshopped through Opera Fusion: New Works (OF:NW), a collaboration between Cincinnati Opera and UC College-Conservatory of Music.

8

CCM welcomes celebrated vocal ensemble Gallicantus for residency

February 22, 2024

The celebrated vocal ensemble Gallicantus will visit the UC College-Conservatory of Music from March 2-6 for a professional choral singing residency with CCM's Choral Studies program. Under the direction of Gabriel Crouch, Gallicantus specializes in early and renaissance music. The group's CCM residency includes public lectures and workshops on topics ranging from the music of William Byrd to practical advice on building a career in music. Bookending the residency are two public concerts at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in downtown Cincinnati.

9

CCM students star in celebrated Mozart opera 'The Marriage of...

February 19, 2024

The UC College-Conservatory of Music Undergraduate Opera program (also known as Opera d'arte) presented a nearly sold-out run of Mozart’s "The Marriage of Figaro" on February 15-17 , 2024 in Cohen Family Studio Theater. Starring an acclaimed student cast, the opera featured a variety of undergraduates who recently won a variety of awards and prestigious honors.

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