Opera Theatre

Brian Clay Luedloff, Director

Through the production of professional-quality productions and complementary curricular content UNC Opera Theatre trains singers and directors, prepares educators and brings the most collaborative of art forms to public and educational audiences. Each season we present two fully-staged operas with orchestra, a program of opera scenes and a chamber opera festival, in addition to master classes and special events. Alumni of Opera Theatre perform regularly on stages around the globe; recent alumni have enjoyed placement in some of the finest Young Artist programs in the country, such as San Francisco’s Merola Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Central City Opera. Guest artists have included international artists such as conductors Stephen Lord, Dean Williamson and Anthony Barrese; soprani Erie Mills, Lauren Flanigan and Christine Brewer; tenors Vale Rideout and Arturo Chacón-Cruz; baritone Morgan Smith and basses Richard Sutliff and Derrick Ballard.

Students are eligible to participate in the exclusive Apprentice Artist (graduate) and Studio Artist (undergraduate) programs of Opera Fort Collins, a professional regional opera company now in its 36th season, performing comprimari roles, covering principal roles and participating in the chorus, as well as singing in many outreach programs.

Each summer professor William Wilson brings students to Germany to perform in a Summer European Opera Theatre in collaboration with Opera Classica Europa, a professional touring opera company. Performances of fully produced operas and gala concerts occur throughout Germany, France, Italy and Spain with our students performing comprimari and chorus roles, and covering principal roles. Three recent alumni of this program are currently in full-time principal contracts with opera houses in Germany.

Opera Theatre Season 2016 - 2017

Fall 2016

Trial and Trouble: Chamber Opera & Opera Scenes Fringe Festival

Langworthy Theatre and Surrounding Locations

  • October 14 @ 7:30pm
  • October 15 @ 7:30pm
  • October 16 @ 2:00pm*

Arthur Sullivan and Leonard Bernstein’s chamber opera’s share more than just the theme of the trials and troubles of marriage: for both composers these two one-act operas represent their only surviving complete chamber operas. In each opera strong female characters take on the men who take them for granted, and Bernstein’s darkly comic Trouble in Tahiti is nicely balanced by Sullivan’s Trial by Jury. These chamber operas will be framed by a Fringe Festival of opera scenes at local restaurants, bars and coffeeshops; complete schedule to be announced shortly.

*Following the 2pm performance on October 16, we will have a company talk-back and Q&A on the productions, the evolving nature of family and marriage, and to provide an open forum for families and children to discuss their concerns on these topics.

Candide with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra

Monfort Concert Hall
Glen Cortese, conductor

  • November 12 @ 7:30pm
  • November 13 @ 2:00pm

Just a few years after his success with Trouble in Tahiti, Bernstein collaborated with Lillian Hellman on what he described as a “comic operetta.” Several collaborators, versions and years later, we have what Bernstein considered his definitive edition of this classic, based on Voltaire’s novella of the same name. Exposing hypocrisy through the pragmatic lens of experience, Candide and Cunegonde come to embrace a simpler and more sustainable life together, committing, in the final epic ensemble, to “make our garden grow."

Spring 2017

The Opera Garden: Growing New Opera
Hensel Phelps Theatre
  • Saturday, March 25 @ 2:00pm and 7:30pm

Opera blooms in this program of scenes from rarely-performed contemporary operas, and new scenes and short operas from UNC’s student and faculty composers. Here’s your chance to prune your own opera garden, taking with you the blooms you find most beautiful and being among the first to see and hear them!

Le nozze di Figaro with USO

Monfort Concert Hall

  • April 14 & 15 @ 7:30pm

Mozart’s masterpiece on marriage, fidelity and trust uses humanity and humor in telling the story of Figaro and his beloved Susanna as they plot to survive their wedding night and the machinations of the Count Almaviva. Lorenzo daPonte’s clever libretto, based on the revolutionary play by Pierre Beaumarchais, is brought to musical life in Mozart’s stunning score, considered one of his best. Adult themes and issues are presented in a family-friendly way and Mozart’s music is the perfect introduction to the opera initiate.

For ticket information, please call the Box Office at (970) 351-2200

Opera Theatre Alumni


Colleen Jackson, UNC Alumna

At UNCO, the faculty and students help to create a supportive environment and the program provides endless opportunities for performance and growth.

-Colleen Jackson, soprano, MM 2012


Vale Rideout, UNC Alumus

UNC is a superb University in every way - but what matter most to voice students are the staff, facilities and performing opportunities. All three of these things are what make UNC the perfect school to further your education as a singer. Only adding to its allure, is the fact that you won't break the bank getting your degree. It just means you'll be THAT much closer to your career on the stage or in the studio once you graduate. This was my experience at UNC - and I'm always thankful for the path which my UNC degree has shown me.

-Vale Rideout, tenor, BM


Rose Sawvel, UNC Alumna

I could not have asked for a better place to begin my journey into the world of opera. UNC's faculty have supported me from day one and still help me find the next step to becoming a better artist, colleague, and person.

-Rose Sawvel, soprano, BA 2005; MM 2008