The School of Music, Theatre & Dance announces that Kathleen Smith Belcher will join the Department of Voice as assistant professor this fall. Belcher brings considerable expertise to this role, with 20 years at the Metropolitan Opera and extensive work with the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and the San Diego Opera, among others.
“Kathleen Belcher brings an impressive history of professional opera stage directing experience to the Department of Voice,” commented Scott Piper, associate professor of music, Norma L. Heyde Faculty Development Professor, and chair of the Department of Voice. “We believe that Kathleen’s strengths, both as an advocate for change and as an educator, will empower our students and extend the reach of our department’s long-standing history of accomplishment in the vocal arts.”
Belcher shared, “I am delighted and honored to join the faculty at the University of Michigan SMTD. I look forward to working with the voice faculty to train – and to be inspired by – the next generation of great artists.”
Belcher has directed at La Scala (Milan, Italy), Teatro Real (Madrid, Spain), and the Spoleto Festival (Italy), and she has assisted at English National Opera (ENO) and the Royal Opera House. Belcher assisted Peter Sellars on the world premiere of John Adams’s Dr. Atomic in San Francisco and helped to remount the production for the Netherlands Opera (Amsterdam) and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Woody Allen, Michael Mayer, Bartlett Sher, and Susan Stroman are just a few of the directors with whom she has collaborated. As a member of the Metropolitan Opera directing staff, she has collaborated on numerous “Live in HD” broadcasts, including the Emmy-winning production of Don Pasquale.
Engagements for the 2021–22 season included company debuts directing Rigoletto for Florida Grand Opera and Opera Orlando and revival director for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of La bohème. Belcher cowrote, produced, and directed an original piece entitled Baseball, A Musical Love Letter, which was performed by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in May 2021 and will be produced again in May 2023 by Opera Orlando as part of their Fringe Festival. Upcoming projects include remounting Le Comte d’Ory for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and assisting on the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Lohengrin.
In addition to her professional directing work, Belcher helped to cofound an Artist Diploma Program with her husband, baritone Daniel Belcher, at William Jewell College. Belcher directed productions of Così fan tutte, Elizabeth Cree, and Le nozze di Figaro for the AD program.