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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David T. Little’s Dog Days

Northwestern University Opera Theater will present the Chicago premiere of David T. Little’s powerful contemporary opera Dog Days November 21–24, 2019 at the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. With music by David T. Little and libretto by Royce Vavrek, Dog Days is based on the dystopian short story by Judy Budnitz.

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Videos

The Crossing and BCE

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble

Brahms - Ein deutches 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
Stephanie Blythe
Matthew Polenzani