Department of Voice & Opera

The Department of Voice & Opera is a vibrant and diverse community dedicated to fostering artistic excellence and academic rigor. Through our broad curriculum, private voice lessons, specialized coachings in operatic and song literature, and intensive language training, our students develop the technical proficiency and expressive depth necessary to excel in today’s artistic landscape.

Central to our department is our robust opera program, offering a holistic approach to the art of opera performance. Students have opportunities to study and perform operatic works across the breadth of the standard and emerging repertoire, from Baroque to the 21st century. For both undergraduate and graduate students, our curriculum encompasses many other essential elements to building a successful and sustainable career in today’s opera landscape, including acting, body movement, stagecraft, audition techniques, and navigation of the business aspects of a career in opera.

A wide range of additional courses includes African American Art Song, Oratorio Repertoire, Vocal Chamber Music, Czech Vocal Literature, and performance classes in European and American Art Song. Our curricular offerings are enhanced by frequent master classes and residencies of guest artists and industry professionals, who provide additional insights and networking opportunities.

Rooted in our tradition of commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, we empower emerging artists by championing diversification of repertoire and performance techniques, embracing innovative approaches to pedagogy, and amplifying traditionally under-represented voices of wide-ranging backgrounds and identities.

Faculty

The Department of Voice & Opera boasts a seasoned and outstanding faculty, with a wealth of performance, teaching, and research experience. At Michigan, private study goes beyond a weekly appointment. Professors are accessible and involved mentors, deeply committed to their students’ growth as individuals as well as musicians. The faculty’s range of experience creates an incomparable in-house resource, while their commitment to teaching provides students with the foundation and real-world guidance needed to flourish in today’s musical landscape.


Freda Herseth

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Music
Applied Voice, Vocal Pedagogy

Scott Piper

Associate Professor of Music; Norma L. Heyde Faculty Development Professorship
Applied Voice

George I. Shirley

Joseph Edgar Maddy Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of Voice
Applied Voice

Stephen West

Interim Chair of Voice & Opera and Professor of Music
Applied Voice

Mo Zhou

Assistant Professor of Music
Opera Stage Director

Degrees

performance

Undergraduate

Bachelor of Music

Bachelor of Musical Arts

Graduate

Master of Music

Specialist in Music

Doctor of Musical Arts

Opera at Michigan

Opportunities abound for students to refine their performance skills at SMTD, including two fully produced mainstage operas each year, two smaller-scale chamber operas, workshops of new works, opera scenes programs, and student-initiated performance projects.

Current Season

Opera at Michigan is a highly collaborative endeavor, bringing together faculty and students in the Department of Voice & Opera, players from SMTD’s two stellar orchestras, faculty and student designers and stage managers in the Department of Theatre & Drama, and staff in University Productions, to present our two mainstage opera productions each year. The fall semester production is performed in the Power Center, and the winter semester production is in the historic Mendelssohn Theatre. The chamber operas are performed in smaller venues, providing students the opportunity to learn performance skills appropriate to a variety of non-traditional spaces.

Orpheus in the Underworld (Orphée aux enfers)

November 2 at 7:30 pm

November 3 & 4 at 8:00 pm

November 5 at 2:00 pm

Department of Voice and University Symphony Orchestra

Operetta composed by Jacques Offenbach
Libretto by Hector Crémieux & Ludovic Halévy
Sung in French with dialogue in English
Directed by Mo Zhou

Power Center for the Performing Arts
Reserved Seating $30/$24
Students w/ ID $13

Elizabeth Cree

March 21 at 7:30 pm

March 22 & 23 at 8:00 pm

March 24 at 2:00 pm

Department of Voice & Opera
University Philharmonia Orchestra

Composed by Kevin Puts
Libretto by Mark Campbell
Sung in English
Conducted by Kirk Severtson
Directed by Gregory Keller

Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Reserved Seating $30/$24
Students w/ ID $13

Chamber Opera: Gianni Schicchi

November 30 at 7:30 pm (livestream option)

December 1 at 8:00 pm

Department of Voice

McIntosh Theatre, Earl V. Moore Building
Free, no tickets required

Conductor: Kirk Severtson
Stage Director: Mo Zhou
John Morefield, piano

Recent Productions

Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni

Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
March 23-26, 2023

Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni

Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
March 23-26, 2023

Cunning Little Vixen

The Cunning Little Vixen

Power Center for the Performing Arts
November 4-6, 2022

Cunning Little Vixen - new hunter

The Cunning Little Vixen

Power Center for the Performing Arts
November 4-6, 2022

Ties that Bind: Rise for Freedom

Rise for Freedom: The John P. Parker Story
The Ties That Bind: Two One-Act Operas by African-American Composers

Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Spring 2022

Ties that Bind: Highway 1 USA

Highway 1, USA
The Ties That Bind: Two One-Act Operas by African-American Composers

Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Spring 2022

Cendrillon

Cendrillon (Cinderella)

Power Center for the Performing Arts
November 5-8, 2021

Cendrillon

Cendrillon (Cinderella)

Power Center for the Performing Arts
November 5-8, 2021

Opera One-Acts

Opera One-Acts

Performed Online - Spring 2021

Opera One-Acts

Opera One-Acts

Performed Online - Spring 2021

Don Pasquale

Don Pasquale

Performed Online - Fall 2020

Don Pasquale

Don Pasquale

Performed Online - Fall 2020

La Boheme

La Bohème

Power Center for the Performing Arts
November 7-10, 2019

La Boheme

La Bohème

Power Center for the Performing Arts
November 7-10, 2019

Candide

Candide

Power Center for the Performing Arts
November 8-11, 2018

Candide

Candide

Power Center for the Performing Arts
November 8-11, 2018

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About George I. Shirley, Joseph Edgar Maddy Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of Voice

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