Why UA Voice and Opera Theater?
You will be allowed to thrive in a nurturing environment with individualized attention to your needs. Your skills will be honed to shape you into the best possible performer you can be.
- BA, BM, MM, and DMA degrees
- Two fully staged operas per year with orchestra and two full scenes programs with both graduates and talented undergraduates receiving major roles
- Award-winning choral ensembles
- Five internal vocal competitions with total winnings of over $18,000 awarded each year
- Support and scholarship for summer programs outside of the university to further enhance your education
- Opportunities to perform with professional choirs, orchestras and opera companies
- Multiple guest Master Classes each year with top artists in the field
How many students are in the voice program at UA?
There are about 75 student enrolled each year in the various programs in the school of music with vocal emphasis. About 20 percent of those are masters and doctoral students and the remainder are pursuing undergraduate degrees in vocal performance, music education and vocal studies.
What kinds of performance opportunities are available for undergraduates?
There are multiple performance opportunities for undergraduate voice majors at the University of Arizona. All undergraduates are eligible to audition for all of the main-stage operatic productions and it is not uncommon for them to be cast in both leading and supporting roles. Most undergraduate vocal performance majors also participate in the fully staged opera scenes program each semester.
In addition, undergraduates participate in our nationally recognized choral program and have their own division in both the “Riemann Opera Competition” and the “Quest for the Best Opera Competition.” We also have regular master classes with guest artists from around the world. Both undergraduates and graduates are eligible to attend and a varied pool is usually selected to participate.
What kinds of opportunities are available for graduate students?
Graduate students at the University of Arizona are able to participate in a wide variety of performance opportunities at UA. We currently have five separate vocal competitions available to graduate voice students. MM and DMA candidates also typically receive main stage supporting and or leading roles in each of the operatic productions. In addition to the full operas graduate students are able to participate in the opera scenes program each semester.
As an ensemble singer, graduate students usually participate in the top choral ensemble and frequently are also given solo opportunities with choral and orchestral ensembles. Outside of the University many of our graduate students are employed as song leaders for religious services around town or participate in the professional opera chorus with Arizona Opera or the professional choral group Arizona Chamber Artists.
What kinds of Scholarships are available for incoming students?
There are full and partial tuition scholarships available for both undergraduate and graduate students as well as few GTA positions for top MM or DMA candidates. Scholarships are awarded based on talent and academic achievement. All students who apply to the school of music will be under consideration for awards from the voice area. However, students are also encouraged to seek additional awards through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
At the University of Arizona we have several different degree tracks to specifically align with your goals and talents. Each student should consider which path will help them to obtain the skillset required to reach their personal aspirations.
Undergraduate Degrees with Vocal Emphasis
BA – Vocal Studies
The Bachelor of Arts in vocal studies offers diverse liberal arts approach to musical study. It is best suited to the student who would like to incorporate knowledge of vocal arts into their career, but perhaps not work as a full-time performer.
Students following the track in a BA in vocal studies have gone on to become lawyers, physicians, song leaders in houses of worship, arts administrators, sound technicians, and business professionals.
BM – Music Education – Vocal
The Bachelor of Music in Music Education with emphasis in vocal training prepares students to become certified choral educators in elementary through high school levels in the state of Arizona and many other states as well.
BM – Vocal Performance
The Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance prepares students for continued graduate studies in voice and for a competitive career as a classical singer on stage in opera, oratorio, song, and other related performance genres. Most students in this track have had prior private vocal training and some stage experience.
It is highly recommended that any student wishing to audition for placement in the vocal performance degree path come to the U of A for a live audition.
Graduate Degrees in Vocal Performance
MM – Vocal Performance
The Master of Music in vocal performance expands upon the knowledge of an individual with a BM in vocal performance. The degree offers training in opera history, art song, vocal pedagogy as well provides the singer an opportunity to hone their craft as a performing artist in terms of vocal technique, stage deportment, and the refinement of foreign languages.
This degree further prepares students for a career as a professional classical singer, a teacher of singing in a community college or home studio, or continuation into a doctorate of musical arts. The MM student at the U of A has multiple opportunities for gaining stage time, experience in competitions, recital performances, and ensemble experiences.
DMA – Vocal Performance
The Doctorate of Musical Arts is the terminal degree for the field of vocal performance and requires the completion of both a bachelor and masters degree. It is intended to cultivate the highest level of scholarship and performance in vocal arts and prepare students to become teachers, performers and scholars at the university/ professional level.
Students in the DMA program at the U of A also select a secondary track of emphasis to best prepare them for the current job market. This secondary emphasis is known as the doctoral minor. Common doctoral minors for vocal performance majors include: opera direction, conducting, musicology, and music theory. However, students also have the opportunity to create an individualized minor in coordination with the graduate committee.
All freshmen vocal performance majors at the University of Arizona begin in the Stage Techniques class. Here they learn the basic tools for their craft including: character analysis, dramatic analysis, stage deportment and interpretation.
These skills are further honed in the Opera Scenes classes which can be repeated each semester throughout the degree for undergraduates and graduates. The University of Arizona mounts two full scenes programs each year complete with sets, lights, costumes, supertitles and piano accompaniment.
The culmination of the operatic experience at the Fred Fox School of Music is participation in semester Opera. These operas, one per semester, provide the most intense, real-world opera experience with sets, lights, costumes, supertitles and orchestral accompaniment. For 2016-2017, these productions are staged by our guest stage directors, Cynthia Stokes and Mary Duncan Steidl. All roles are coached by Michael Dauphinais, and the performances are produced with maestro Tom Cockrell and The Arizona Symphony Orchestra.
The Choral Area in the Fred Fox School of Music has a long and illustrious history. Nurtured into international recognition under the guidance of Dr. Bruce Chamberlain and Dr. Elizabeth Schauer, the choral area offers 8 auditioned choirs, 23 graduate choral conducting majors, with nearly 500 students and community persons participating in a UA choir. Recent accolades include featured performances at the Musikverein in Vienna, Dvorak Hall in Prague, ACDA conference performances in 2006, 2010, 2014, ACDA conducting competition winners in 2005 and 2013. In addition, UA Choral program students and graduates provide the artistic leadership for over 20 churches and synagogues in Tucson, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, Tucson Girls Chorus, Arizona Repertory Singers, Tucson Master Works Chorale, and the Green Valley Community Chorus.
As a student in the vocal department at the U of A, there are several opportunities to hone the skills required for auditions and competition. We currently offer five distinct competitions totaling over $18,000 in cash awards annually.
Marguarite Ough Competition – (graduate women) This competition was made possible by an endowment from scholar and singer Marguarite Ough. It awards $2,300 in cash awards to our top female graduate students. Judges are comprised of non-faculty singers, teachers or conductors.
President’s Competition Vocal Division – (advanced singers) Winners of the president’s competition are invited to perform with the Arizona Symphony the following spring for a school-wide showcase of our top talent. Judges are comprised of non-faculty singers, teachers or conductors.
Amelia Riemann Opera Competition – (Two divisions divided by age) The Amelia Riemann competition is made possible by long-time supporter of the UA opera program, Mrs. Amelia Riemann. This competition has divisions suited to top singers at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The Amelia Riemann Competition awards $6,500 in cash awards each year. Judges are comprised of non-faculty singers, teachers or conductors.
Larry Day Competition (Graduate Men) – The Larry Day competition is made possible by an endowment from former UA voice professor and opera director, Dr. Larry Day. The competition was new in 2013 and has awarded $2,300 to graduate and upper division men.
Quest for the Best – (undergraduate and graduate) The Quest for the best competition is sponsored by the Opera Guild of Southern Arizona. Students are nominated by the voice faculty to compete in this competition of operatic arias and the awards are chosen by the audience vote. This competition has awarded over $8,000 in cash awards each year to undergraduate and graduate singers.