Opera UTEP (Opera Workshop)
Opera UTEP's spring production will be a full production of the beloved zarzuela, LUISA FERNANDA, in collaboration with the UTEP Symphony and Concert Chorale. Directed and produced by Cherry Duke, with Bohuslav Rattay, conductor, and Elisa Fraser Wilson, chorus master.
LUISA FERNANDA by Federico Moreno Torroba, featuring UTEP Voice professor Dr. Phillip Hill as Vidal; New York City-based tenor, Diego Valdez, as Javier; Senior Odalis Aguirre in the title role of Luisa Fernanda; and Senior Rebeca González sings the role of Duchess Carolina.
- Thursday, April 7, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, April 9, 2:30 p.m.
- UTEP's Magoffin Auditorium
- TICKETS on sale at TicketMaster and at all UTEP Ticket Centers.
The second annual GIVING VOICE festival--a joint production of Opera UTEP and El Paso Opera--will take place September 18-21, 2021 in Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall. Opera UTEP will perform an all-Spanish concert with guest mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte.
- Opera UTEP: Giving Voice: featuring guest mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte in concert with the Opera UTEP students
- Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
- Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall
Our Fall Opera Showcase this year will feature scenes from the traditional operatic repertoire as well as scenes from our Spring 2022 full production of LUISA FERNANDA.
- FALL OPERA SHOWCASE: Scenes from Hansel and Gretel, HMS Pinafore, The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, Luisa Fernanda, and more.
- Friday, November 5, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, November 7, 2021 at 2:30p.m.
- Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall
About Opera UTEP
Opera Workshop (aka "Opera UTEP") is an ensemble class that teaches student singers the fundamentals of operatic performance. Skills such as body awareness, movement, dance, role preparation, character development, acting, stage combat, and audition techniques are among the topics to be explored and practiced in the course.
Repertoire for public performances is selected to meet the voice types and skill levels of the enrolled students and may include scenes from opera and/or musical theater, one-act operas, and/or major works from the operatic repertoire.
Additional Performance Opportunities
Opera UTEP singers often perform in small roles or as choristers or young artists with El Paso Opera. Additionally, they have performed as soloists with El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras, on faculty concerts, and various outreach events throughout El Paso.
Community Engagement and Leadership (CEL)
Opera Workshop has been a member of the CEL initiative since it's inception in 2020. The purpose of CEL classes is to emphasize engagement with the community around us and foster critical leadership skills in students. Opera students learn these skills by working on and leading production crews (props, sets, tech, publicity, etc.), by performing not only on UTEP stages but in schools and retirement communities, and as well by honing their public speaking and other communication skills.
Guest Artists and Recent Productions
Opera UTEP hosts residencies, masterclasses, and talks with guest artists several times a year. Upcoming and recent guest artists include:
- Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano, opera legend
- Pablo Zinger, conductor pianist, coach and Spanish music specialist
- Kevin Burdette, bass
- Alan E. Hicks, director, author of Singer and Actor
- Josey Pickett, choreographer, dance instructor
- Darci Balkcom, Alexander Technique instructor
- Jorge Martín, composer, pianist, and vocal coach
- Jay Stratton, guest director, acting coach
- Luis Alejandro Orozco, baritone
- Lisa Vroman, Broadway soprano/actor
- William Sharp, Grammy-award winning baritone
- Levi Hernandez, baritone, director
- Danielle Talamantes, soprano
- Adrienne Danrich, soprano, composer, actor, writer
- Brian DeMaris, conductor and vocal coach
- Mandy Herrera, choreographer, dance instructor
- Dr. Risa Renae Harman, soprano and career coach, director of voice at Bay View Music Festival
- Lisa Smith, choreographer, dance instructor
- Randall Bills, international tenor
- Maestro Steven M. Crawford, vocal coach and conductor, former assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera
- Randi Rudolph, vocal coach
- Justin Lucero, director, acting coach, Artistic Director of El Paso Opera
- Kevin Deas, baritone
- Jessica Medoff, mezzo-soprano/actor
- Ricardo Rivera, baritone
- Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez, movement coach
- LUISA FERNANDA: A Celebration of Zarzuela (April 2021)
- ARIA SOIRÉE (Fall 2020)
- GIVING VOICE: A collaboration with El Paso Opera, amplifying Latinx voices in opera (Fall 2020)
- WHAT IS OPERA?, PART 2 (Spring 2020, produced entirely online due to the pandemic)
- WHAT IS OPERA? (Fall 2019)
- SISTER ANGELICA (Spring 2019)
- LA BOHEME, Act 2 (Spring 2019)
- THE TELEPHONE (Fall 2018)
- A HAND OF BRIDGE (Fall 2018)
- Scenes from LA BOHEME, MADAMA BUTTERFLY and SUOR ANGELICA (Fall 2018)
- Scenes from BEFORE NIGHT FALLS by Jorge Martin (Fall 2018)
- I'M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF: Scenes and Songs by Kurt Weill and Friends (Spring 2018)
- ON BROADWAY! (Fall 2017)
- FLEDERMAUS & FRIENDS (Spring 2017)
- CHEERS! A Toast to Opera & Musical Theater (Fall 2016)
- SPEED DATING TONIGHT! an opera by Michael Ching (Spring 2016)
- PASION! Opera scenes with Spanish passion (Fall 2015)
- THE MAGIC FLUTE (Spring 2015)
- SWEENEY TODD (Fall 2014)
Since 2015, the class has been taught by Director of Opera Cherry Duke with pianist Dr. Esequiel Meza. Student leaders include graduate teaching assistants, a student administrative assistant, and student production crew leaders.
The Opera Workshop class meets 6 hours a week in the fall and spring semesters. There are no prerequisites for the course but prior performance experience and the ability to independently learn assigned music are helpful. Enrollment must be approved by the director. Qualified students from any major are encouraged to join the class. Auditions are scheduled as needed.
Opera Workshop may fulfill undergraduate (MUSA 2253) or graduate ensemble credit (MUSA 5101, CRN 11998). Two semesters are required for undergraduate vocal performance majors, though the course is open to all qualified singers, and many choose to take the course multiple times.