University of Tennessee Opera Theatre
UT Opera Theatre is one of a handful of American arts organizations that is as respected for its excellence in the educational arena as for its presence as a regional artistic force. The opera program at the University of Tennessee is dedicated to serving not only the outstanding student with professional and academic aspirations but also the musical and scholastic life of the University and the cultural vitality of the surrounding geographic area. Its primary aim is to identify and unlock the potential of the student singer and coach/accompanist, equipping him with a secure technical foundation in all areas vital to the development of a successful and fulfilling professional and/or academic life in opera…and music at large, including drama and movement, musical styles and diction, range of repertoire, production methods, stage experience, career orientation, and promotion. Additionally, UT Opera Theatre aims to instill a love and respect for other music theater forms and their component parts and for the artists—and artisans—who practice them, to inspire a strong sense of the artist’s role in the community and to emphasize the values of self-motivation and strong artistic goals.
In the area of performance, UT Opera Theatre is one of the most beloved, successful, and visible venues of the University, College of Arts and Sciences, and School of Music. UT Opera Theatre stresses the importance of its visibility as a performance resource not only to the University but to the Knoxville community, Tennessee, and beyond. As such, it is the particular mission of UT Opera Theatre to explore the scope and variety of the vast body of work comprising the repertory and, in so doing, to create and provide stimulating, vital productions: professional in quality, strong in musical and theatrical values, and rich in imagination.
UT Opera Theatre’s history boasts a wide range of music-theater repertoire, covering a vast compositional span. Countless productions have been presented to a wide-ranging regional audience in UT Opera Theatre’s history. Composers ranging from Mozart to Gilbert & Sullivan, Puccini to Britten, and Rossini to Sondheim have been presented in seasons rich in interest and variety for our audience and full of opportunities for our students. In addition some of America’s most recent and vital musical theatre works have been mounted at UT Opera Theatre, including LITTLE WOMEN, SWEENEY TODD, THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, THE CRUCIBLE, ROMAN FEVER, and the internationally acclaimed SUSANNAH, the latter two works having their composers, Robert Ward and Carlisle Floyd, in attendance.
The UT Opera Theatre seeks, in addition, to provide the community with performances and other activities designed to foster interest in opera and related music-theater forms; developing new audiences, stimulating the current opera-going public and introducing school-aged children to its artistic and entertainment rewards. UT Opera Theatre and the Knoxville Opera Studio render a substantial service to the University, community, and region.
Not only does the UT Opera Theatre perform, but members of the program (including its successful Knoxville Opera Studio) participate in Knoxville Opera productions; sing for Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and Oak Ridge Symphony events; perform for opera education and outreach programs sponsored by Knoxville Opera and Knoxville Opera Guild; entertain at UT functions; serve as recruiting and fundraising ambassadors; and represent the University, the School of Music, and UT Opera Theatre in countless other public venues.