Queen City Chamber Opera was founded in 2012 to advance the careers of emerging opera artists by giving them valuable professional engagements in fully-staged productions. As all the artists performing in QCCO productions are emerging professionals, the prevailing aesthetic is one of youth, relevance and vibrance. Many of our audience members are young people who are seeing opera for the first time and are eager to see their peers perform.

In addition, QCCO is proud to fill the niche of professional opera during the fall, spring and winter in Cincinnati, to complement Cincinnati Opera’s world-class offerings during the summer.

QCCO is unique among opera companies in the world in that our organization is structured with complete vertical integration in artistic preparation. This means that the Artistic Director and Assistant Conductor handle all aspects of artistic preparation: coaching singers, preparing printed parts, and conducting rehearsals and performances. Not only does this cut costs, but it ensures a unity of artistic vision that is impossible in larger companies that have separate staffs for preparing singers, preparing orchestral parts, and conducting.

If you have questions or would like to get involved, send us a message on our contact us page.

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Isaac Selya

Founder and Artistic Director

A musician of remarkable versatility, Isaac is a conductor, pianist, vocal coach, cellist and singer. As Artistic Director of QCCO, he has coached and conducted Die Walküre act 1, L’amore dei tre re, Der Schauspieldirektor, Bastien und Bastienne, Zaide and Abu Hassan. At CCM Opera, he served as coach and conductor for productions of El Amor Brujo and La Tragédie de Carmen. In April of 2013 he conducted a CCM Mainstage Series performance of Die Zauberflöte that received acclaim in international press. In September of 2014, Isaac was named New Artist of the Month by Musical America. In April 2014 he led Opera Memphis as a guest conductor and served on the music staff of Cincinnati Opera in the 2014 season. The National Symphony of Guatemala invited him to conduct two programs in September 2014.  Isaac holds a doctorate from the University of Cincinnat-College Conservatory of Music, where he specialized in historical casting trends in Mozart’s operas.

With QCCO, Isaac is responsible for selecting repertoire, contracting artists, coaching singers from the piano, and conducting performances. In addition, he handles librarian duties such as ordering parts and marking bowings. He is also responsible for administrative duties such as fund-raising, publicity, and renting performance spaces.

Jesse Leong

Assistant Conductor

With repertoire ranging from Rossini and Wagner to Rodgers & Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim, pianist and conductor Jesse Leong is a musician of unique breadth. He is the Assistant Conductor of the Queen City Chamber Opera and a fourth-year Piano Performance major at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He studies piano with Elisabeth Pridonoff, collaborative piano with Donna Loewy, and conducting with Mark Gibson. He is the Principal Keyboardist of the CCM Orchestras, including appointments with the CCM Philharmonia, Concert Orchestra, and Café MoMus. Past piano studies and master classes have been with Sonia Vlahcevic, John O’Conor, Christopher Harding, Donna Lee, and Dmitri Shteinberg. Mr. Leong has attended the Brevard Music Center and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Piano Academy. He has participated in three CCM Conducting Workshops on the music of Beethoven, Rossini, and Verdi. He has also studied conducting with Ken Lam and Erin Freeman.

QCCO Board of Directors

President: Isaac Selya

Treasurer: Yaron Luk-Zilberman. Founder and Fund Manager at NineWells Capital Management, LLC

Secretary: Lev Novikov. Senior Software Systems Engineer at The MITRE Corporation

Mr. Leong was a Resident Artist Pianist at the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh in the summer of 2014, playing Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. Following the highly successful collaboration between Queen City Chamber Opera and the Wagner Society of Cincinnati in May of 2014, Die Walküre, Act I he joined the Wagner Society as its Studio Pianist. He has played for both CCM Opera and CCM Musical Theatre. In the winter of 2013, he made his professional conducting debut conducting tenor Marco Panuccio in O Holy Night ~ An Evening of Holiday Song, and will reprise this performance this winter. Originally from Richmond, VA, Mr. Leong also enjoys travel, nature, and food and wine.

With QCCO, Jesse is responsible for coaching singers from the piano, playing piano in stagings, conducting rehearsals, and being prepared to conduct performances in the event that Isaac gets deathly ill. He also assists with an enormous range of tasks including grant writing, stage management, editing parts, and recording performances.