Dido and Aeneas is composed by Henry Purcell with a libretto by Nahum Tate

Gianni Schicchi is composed by Giacomo Puccini with a libretto by Giovacchino Forzano

8 p.m. Feb. 3-4, 2 p.m. Feb. 5, 2023, Cohen Family Studio Theater

Opera d'Arte Sponsor
Rafael and Kimberly de Acha

  • Conductor | Brett Scott
  • Director | Kenneth Shaw
  • Producer | Amy Johnson
  • Scenic Designer  | McKenna Brennan*
  • Lighting Designer | Bella Pfeiffer*
  • Costume Designer | Corey Cochran*, Kenneth Shaw 
  • Sound Designer | Michael Donahue*
  • Assistant Sound Design | Bri Kelly*
  • Production Stage Manager | Hannah Kate Hawver
  • Props Master | Ashley Crockett
  • Movement | Susan Moser
  • Supertitles |Kenneth Shaw
  • Supertiles Operator | Audra House
  • Rehearsal pianist |Cory Battey
  • Assistant Conductor | Landon Scriber

*CCM Student

Dido and Aeneas + Gianni Schicchi will last approximately two hours with intermission

Featured image at the top of the program: Students perform in CCM Opera's 2018 production of Gianni Schicchi. Photo by Mark Lyons.

Director's Note

By Kenneth Shaw

I have had a long relationship with both operas in tonight's production, having been involved with them on both sides of the footlights. At first glance, they may seem an odd combination for a double bill, but when one looks just under the surface, we first learn that both stories are, to some extent, allegorical. The Purcell is based upon Book IV of Virgil's Aeneid, and the Puccini text comes directly from an incident mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy.  Musically, the two are certainly of vastly different styles, but both are masterful in their depiction of human experience and emotion. Dramatically, therefore, we easily see how human passions burn — whether in the desire for each other or for material things, for love or for duty. And in both, we see how those passions clash, with utterly different outcomes.

I have a special affinity for Dido and Aeneas for many reasons, but I confess to having always struggled with an aspect of the opera that, for me, is unexplained. In past productions, I have simply ignored the nagging question of just who this Sorceress is and why she and the Witches with her hate Dido so much. Though some purists will take issue with me, I have chosen to make a case for this relationship by inventing a reason for that hatred. Built from the legend that Dido fled her murderous brother in Lebanon and landed on the Northern coast of Africa, the Berber chieftain who controlled the region welcomed her and told her she could have as much land as an ox hide would cover. Dido cut a single ox hide into thin strips and laid them end-to-end around a hill, successfully claiming it for her people. I have set forth a premise that Dido has invited the Berber leadership (known in the opera as Sorceress and Witches) into her court at a high level, but not that of leadership. I proffer that their resentment has given birth to a plot to take down Dido in subtle ways — drugging her with ‘medicinal’ droughts and conjuring ancient methods of magic and the supernatural which ultimately, and quite successfully drive the story to its tragic end. Whether one accepts my premise or not, there is nonetheless much to appreciate and enjoy with this work — Purcell's only fully sung opera.

Gianni Schicchi, which Puccini composed as the third in his trilogy of one act operas (with Suor Angelica and Il Tabarro) is his only true comedy, portraying human nature at its most selfish. Yet because we can easily recognize in all the characters some aspect of ourselves that most of us would never dare to express, we can go along with the craziness and laugh about it.

These aspects of the human experience seem to share a commonality across cultures and generations, so we've seen productions set in various historical time periods, with myriad character delineations, the core characteristics of which are found in commedia dell'arte.  Tonight's production is set in 1953, with costumes designed with a nod to the Avant Garde of the period, largely for the purpose of exaggerating the nature of each character.  And we have intended to push the entire design toward that of black and white TV, giving hints of color only to the characters who bring depth and empathy to the story — Rinuccio, Lauretta, and the man himself: the sly, crafty hero of our story Gianni Schicchi. 


Special thanks to The Busse Fund, David Adams, Kimberly and Rafael De Acha, Robert Doak, Donna Lowey, the CCM Voice Faculty.

The Place and Time

Dido and Aeneas, Carthage

Gianni Schicchi, 1950’s Florence, Italy

The Company

Dido and Aeneas

  • Dido | Natalia Adame, Lauren Albano*
  • Aeneas | Emilio Vasquez, Sam Dhobhany*
  • Belinda | Lea Nayack
  • Two Ladies | Jadyn Riggs and Annie Weible
  • Sorceress | Reed Demangone, Maya McGuire*
  • Witches | Caitlin Chisham and Nia Spaulding
  • Sailor | Grant Shields, Zachary Burnham*
  • Spirit |  Torie Davis, Reed Demangone*
  • Ensemble | Zachary Burnham, Desmond Bunting, Gretha Fergus, Sydney Horan, Lucas Maceroni, Natalie Mastali, Samantha Pape, Grant Sheilds, Leah Yackanech

Gianni Schicchi

  • Gianni Schicchi | Nathan Schludecker, Joshua Klein*
  • Lauretta | Cora-Melin Mikat, Laura Stanell*
  • Rinuccio | Carlos Ahrens, Jinpark Choi*
  • Simone | Sam Dhobhany
  • Zita | Matilda Smolij, Nia Spaulding*
  • Marco | Emilio Vasquez
  • Nella | Annie Weible, Caitlin Chisham*
  • La Ciesca | Torie Davis, Reed Demangone*
  • Betto di Signa | Joshua Klein, Nathan Schludecker*
  • Gherardo | Zachary Burnham, Grant Sheilds*
  • Gherardino | Caitlin Chisham, Sydney Horan*
  • Maestra Spinelloccio | Lucas Maceroni,Natalie Mastali*
  • Ser Amantio di Nicolao | Desmond Bunting
  • Pinellino | Gretha Fergus, Samantha Pape, Gretha Fergus*
  • Guccio | Sydney Horan, Leah Yackanech*

*Featured in the performance on Saturday, Feb. 4

Orchestra Roster

Brett Scott, conductor 
Landon Scriber, assistant conductor 


Violin I

  • Lindsey Tootle

Violin 2

  • Kerrigan Mandrell 


  • Brianna Barta 


  • Josh Bermudez

Double Bass

  • Jack Kotchka-Smith 


  • Maddie Choi 


  • Clara Spears 


  • Chaoju Lin


  • Cole Toothaker


  • EJ Busby


  • Kyle Roemer

Production Staff

  • Technical Director | Stirling Shelton
  • Assistant Stage Manager | Elle Bower
  • Production Assistant | Jen Lampson
  • Production Sound Engineer | Lucia Thill
  • Sound Supervisor | Emily Porter
  • Stage Management Supervisor | Michelle Kay
  • Assistant Lighting Designers | Ashton Karp
  • Production Electrician | Abby Fluck
  • Graduate Assistant Opera d’arte | Kaylyn Baldwin
  • Stage Management Mentor | Rosie Pavlik

On stage

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CCM News


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.


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.”


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!

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Louise Dieterle Nippert Trust
Scholarship and Resident Artist Sponsor
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship Sponsor
The Corbett Endowment at CCM
Dance Department Sponsor
All-Steinway School Sponsor
Louise H. & David S. Ingalls Foundation, Inc.
Community Partners
The Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation, Ritter & Randolph, LLC, Corporate Counsel
Visiting Artists & Thinking About Music Sponsor
Dr. & Mrs. Carl G. Fischer 
Greg Mathein 
Gary & Barb Cummins 
Jim & Linda Miller 
George & Carroll Roden
Musical Theatre Department Sponsors
Genevieve Smith
Opera Production Sponsor
Rafael and Kimberly de Acha
Opera D’Arte Sponsor
An Anonymous Donor
Estate of Mr. William A. Friedlander
Mrs. William A. Friedlander
Dr. Randolph L. Wadsworth
Judith Schonbach Landgren and Peter Landgren
Mr. & Mrs. Harry H. Santen
Elizabeth C.B. Sittenfeld
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas E. Stegman
Mrs. Theodore W. Striker
Mrs. Harry M. Hoffheimer
Ariel Quartet Sponsors
Jan Rogers
Willard and Jean Mulford Charitable Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation
Choral Studies Sponsors
  Classical Guitar Sponsor

Mr. & Mrs. Joseph W. Hirschhorn
Orchestral Sponsor
Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation
Starling Pre-Collegiate Sponsor
Starling Strings Sponsor
Dr. Timothy E. and Janet L. Johnson
Thom Miles and Roberta Gary
Organ Department Sponsors
Keyboard Club of Cincinnati
Louis and Susan Meisel
Piano Department Sponsors
Kevin and Nancy Rhein
   Wind Studies Sponsor
Buddy Rogers Music
LINKS Sponsor
Sponsors listed as of Sept. 7, 2023

General Information

Land Acknowledgment

The Cincinnati area and the land that the University of Cincinnati has been built on is the native homeland of the Indigenous Algonquian speaking tribes, including the Delaware, Miami, and Shawnee tribes.

Box Office

Located in the CCM Atrium, the Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 1-5 p.m.; and one hour prior to curtain for all ticketed performances. MasterCard, Visa and Discover cards are accepted.

  • Location: CCM Atrium Lobby next to Corbett Auditorium
  • Telephone: 513-556-4183
  • Email:
  • Mail: CCM Box Office, P.O. Box 210003, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0003


Convenient parking is available in the CCM Garage at the base of Corry Boulevard off of Jefferson Avenue. Additional parking is available in garages throughout the UC campus. Any questions concerning on-campus parking should be directed to UC Parking Services at 513-556-2283.

Tax Credit

If you find that you cannot attend your performance, your tickets may be donated for tax credit as a charitable contribution. Simply notify the Box Office prior to the performance to release your seats, and give your name and address. A tax donation receipt will be mailed to you.

Lost and Found

If you have lost an item, contact lost and found at 513-556-9413.

House Policies

The House Manager has been instructed to minimize the disturbance to patrons already seated when accommodating latecomers. The director and producer of each production select times that are least likely to interrupt the performance, and latecomers will be seated only during these times. Latecomers who miss these opportunities will not be admitted until intermission. Children under the age of 6 will not be admitted.

Cameras, Phones and Recording Devices

The video or audio recording of performances is prohibited.

The use of cameras, with or without flashes, recording devices, cellular phones and other electronic devices inside the theater is prohibited. Please leave them with the House Manager.

Smoking and Refreshments

Smoking and refreshments are not permitted in the theater. Effective May 1, 2017, smoking and tobacco use (including chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes) shall be prohibited by students, staff, faculty, visitors, vendors and contractors at all times in or on University of Cincinnati properties, including events on university property during non-school hours. This includes all shelters, indoor and outdoor theaters and athletic facilities, bridges, walkways, sidewalks, residence halls, parking lots, and street parking and garages owned by the university.

Hearing Enhancement

Telex listening devices are available for checkout during performances in both Patricia Corbett Theater and Corbett Auditorium. Please inquire at the Box Office.

Wheelchair Seating

Wheelchair seating is available in both Corbett Auditorium and Patricia Corbett Theater. Seating is limited, so reservations should be made with the Box Office when ordering tickets. These seats are subject to availability.

Group Sales

The Box Office can accommodate groups for major productions and concerts. Preview and benefit performances are also available for some productions. For more information, call the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183.

CCM Faculty and Staff

CCM's faculty and staff and its state-of-the-art facilities make possible the professional training and exceptional education on which CCM believes the future of the arts relies. The school's roster of eminent faculty regularly receives distinguished honors for creative and scholarly work, and its alumni have achieved notable success in the performing and media arts. More than 150 internationally recognized faculty members work with students from around the world, specializing in eight areas of study.

Know Your Exit

Map depicting exits from Cohen Family Studio Theater

Performance dates and repertoire are subject to change. View CCM's current calendar of events.

The purpose of these performances is educational, and they are part of a University of Cincinnati academic program.