The voice and opera program at Northwestern University has a long and illustrious history. Alumni fill the ranks of national and international opera houses and university faculties worldwide.

Recent graduates include Madison Leonard (MM16), Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions winner; Paul Corona (BM06), Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions winner and Lyric Opera of Chicago Ryan Opera Center alumnus; Amanda Majeski (BM06), Richard Tucker Foundation Grant Winner and Lyric Opera of Chicago Ryan Opera Center alumna; Matt Hanscom (BM05, MM07), San Francisco Merola Opera Program alumnus and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions finalist; and David Govertsen (MM10) and Evan Boyer (BM07), Lyric Opera of Chicago Ryan Opera Center alumni. 

The voice and opera faculty offer students a variety of courses that promote a strong technical and pedagogical foundation. Students receive weekly vocal instruction and have access to a number of performing opportunities including opera workshops, vocal solo classes, master classes, studio classes, and recitals. In addition, advanced undergraduate and graduate students participate in weekly musical preparation sessions with vocal coaches.  

Every year, voice students are invited to audition for the school’s three fully-staged operas. Participation in these operas provides students with invaluable experience and exposure to standard operatic repertoire as well as new operas. The thriving music scene in downtown Chicago, only 12 miles from campus, offers many additional performance possibilities.

The Bienen School of Music offers a number of special programs. Undergraduates may pursue dual degrees or double majors (music plus an outside field) or an ad hoc (self-designed) major. The faculty encourages and supports students interested in these opportunities.

All DMA students receive a full-tuition scholarship, stipend, and fully subsidized health insurance.

Voice and Opera Faculty

Richard Boldrey

Senior Lecturer, Vocal Coach, Voice and Opera

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Karen Brunssen

Associate Professor, Voice and Opera

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Alan Darling

Senior Lecturer, Vocal Coach, Voice and Opera

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Laurann Gilley

Lecturer, Vocal Coach, Voice and Opera

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Nancy Gustafson

Artist-in-Residence, Voice and Opera

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Kurt R. Hansen

Senior Lecturer, Voice and Opera

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Pamela Hinchman

Associate Professor, Voice and Opera

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Meg Thalken

Lecturer Voice and Opera (Opera Workshop)

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Strauss’s Die Fledermaus

Northwestern University Opera Theater will present Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus February 27 to March 1, 2020. Mistaken identities, disguises, and romantic escapades abound in this high-spirited operetta.

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Past Opera Productions

Winter 2020

Die Fledermaus (Strauss)

Fall 2019

Dog Days (Little)

Spring 2019

Béatrice et Bénédict (Berlioz)

Winter 2019

The Rake's Progress (Stravinsky)

Fall 2018

The Turn of the Screw (Britten)

Spring 2018

Theodora (Handel)

Winter 2018

Don Giovanni (Mozart)

Riders to the Sea (Williams), Le pauvre matelot (Milhaud), Savitri (Holst)

Fall 2017

Moments of Mortality: Three One-Act Operas

Spring 2017

The Tender Land (Copland)

Winter 2017

Dialogues of the Carmelites (Poulenc)

Fall 2016

Later the Same Evening (Musto)

Spring 2016

Susannah (Floyd)

Winter 2016

Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart)

The Face on the Barroom Floor, A Hand of Bridge, Trouble in Tahiti

Fall 2015

American Dreams: Three One-Act Operas

Spring 2015

Ruddigore (Gilbert and Sullivan)

Winter 2015

Dead Man Walking (Heggie)

Fall 2014

The Impresario (Mozart)

Spring 2014

Cosi Fan Tutte (Mozart)

Winter 2014

Little Women (Adamo)

Fall 2013

Sounds and Sweet Aires: Scenes from Shakespeare

Spring 2013

L'incorinazione di Poppea (Monteverdi)

Winter 2013

The Grapes of Wrath (Gordon)

Videos

The Crossing and BCE

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble

Brahms - Ein deutsches Requiem

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra with combined choirs

Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series

The Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series brings stars of the opera world to the Bienen School to coach top voice and opera students. Previous guest artists include: Renée Fleming, Eric Owens, Frederica von Stade, Lawrence Brownlee, Marilyn Horne, Matthew Polenzani, Isabel Leonard, Jake Heggie, Thomas Hampson, Susanna Phillips, Dwayne Croft, Patricia Racette, and Warren Jones. 

2019-20 Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series

Michael Fabiano
Ana María Martínez
Matthew Polenzani