Contact Benjamin Wayne Smith
Director of Opera
2014 - Hansel and Gretel (February)
2013 - The Pirates of Penzance (November)
2013 - The Turn of the Screw
2012 - H.M.S. Pinafore
2012 - Don Giovanni
2011 - La bohème
2010 - Our Town (Ohio permiere)
2009 - Orpheus in the Underworld
2008 - Semele
2007 - Albert Herring
2006 - Hansel and Gretel
2005 - Le nozze di Figaro
This program trains compelling singing actors and gives them opportunities to create vibrant and dynamic works of theater. These works are specifically chosen to showcase our current vocal performance majors. There are many opportunities in our select, undergraduate-only program.
We present three weekends of opera every year. Our Gilbert & Sullivan Series plays to capacity audiences in the newly-renovated Fynette Kulas Music Hall. In the spring, our mainstage opera production marries the talents of our singers, our outstanding university orchestra, professional designers and guest conductors. We finish our season in April with a weekend of opera scenes and a cabaret featuring the freshman class.
Vocal performance majors receive instruction and experience twice a week for four years in our opera workshop classes. These classes focus on acting and movement training and the integration of those techniques with singing. These skills are put directly into practice in scene presentations and full opera productions.
Students also learn how to present their very best work in the ‘audition techniques’ portion of this class. They leave our program well-prepared for the high standards of excellent graduate schools and young artist programs.
Since 2011, Dean Williamson has been the guest music director and conductor for BW’s mainstage operas. A regular at Seattle Opera, Nashville Opera and Wolf Trap Opera as well as the former artistic director of Opera Cleveland, Williamson brings real-world experience and expertise to the podium and rehearsal hall. He will conduct the 2014 mainstage opera Hansel and Gretel this February.
Students of all majors are encouraged to participate in BW's mainstage operas which are produced by Assistant Director of the Conservatory for External Affairs, Bryan Bowser. Recent productions include La bohème, Don Giovanni, and The Turn of the Screw.
The goal of this program is to train complete performers. In addition to the world-class vocal instruction offered by our faculty, singers learn acting, movement, style, repertoire and professionalism. Whether their next stop is graduate school, a young artist program, or the stage, this program prepares singers to meet the expectations of this demanding and rewarding profession.