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Paul Houghtaling, Director

Amir Zaheri, composer – Morehead, Kentucky – Instructor of Theory and Composition, Composer-in-Residence

2013-2014 Graduate Assistants in Opera

Chun-Ya (Tracy) Chang, pianist – Taipei, Taiwan – DMA, Coach/Assistant Conductor
Ryan Landis, tenor – Rapid City, South Dakota – DMA, Opera Production/Administration
Alana Sealy, soprano - Cary, North Carolina – MM, Opera Production/Administration
Matthew Wilson, pianist – Birmingham, Alabama – DMA, Coach/Assistant Conductor

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** February 2014 – Political dissidents, the secret police, government bureaucracy and beautiful music combine in an emotionally moving opera production that opens March 7 at 8:oo p.m. in the newly renovated Bryant-Jordan Hall at the University of Alabama.  The UA Opera Theatre will perform Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul on Friday, March 7th and again at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 9th.  The performances will be directed by Paul Houghtaling in collaboration with the Huxford Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Blake Richardson.

The three act opera is set in the mid-20th century in an unnamed totalitarian country.  It addresses a theme seen repeatedly throughout modern history and its story is compelling.  The opera won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. 

Opera Theatre director Houghtaling expressed enthusiasm for this first performance in Byrant-Jordan Hall (Bryce Campus), adding that the March 7th show will be followed by a reception for audience and musicians.  Attendees will have an opportunity to meet the student singers and production staff who make up the University’s Opera Theatre.  Members of the Opera Guild (OG@UA) will host the reception.  See below for ticket information.

**** February 2014 – The Opera Theatre is excited to announce that we have moved into a newly renovated, dedicated opera space. Bryant-Jordan Hall is the old chapel on the Bryce Hospital campus, just minutes from Moody Music. The university invested heavily to reconfigure the building which will serve as our teaching and performing space; it’s a state-of-the-art facility.   

****** November 2013 – The first meeting of the OPERA GUILD @ UA took place on Saturday morning, November 16 at the home of Elizabeth Aversa. Young artists in the Opera Theatre have long benefited from the time and generosity and creativity of a number of community members who have helped with fund-raising efforts and other supportive activities.  This new name and structure begins a new chapter of community support from Tuscaloosa-area opera lovers. Stay tuned for more details.  Inaugural members in attendance were Joan Atkinson, Joan Brown, Ann Bourne, Anne Edwards,  Jane Joslin, Francine Marasco, Joanne Miles (the very first “organizer” of so many great events), Dorothy Pierroni, Judi Rabel, Beth Riggs, and Eleanor Street.  Please contact Elizabeth if you would like to learn more and be a part of the fun in helping the UA Opera Theatre.  See the OG@UA’s new page to the left. 

******** October 2013 – The UA Opera Theatre celebrated Opera America’s National Opera Week in October by bringing opera workshop classes to Capstone Village Retirement Community for the third year in a row. Members of the program enjoyed leading residents in classes in movement and improvisation and residents then served as our mock audition panel for Audition Class. The final day included “Dress as your favorite opera character” – an instant hit! Opera America was so intrigued by UA’s National Opera Week offering that they featured  it in their national press release as a unique and noteworthy event in 2011.

************ September 2013 – The UAOT is pleased to announce the second Mini-Opera Composition Competition.  Deadline for submissions of 5-minute scenes or arias is June 1, 2014.  The winning works for the stage will be premiered in the fall of 2014.  CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of the First UA Opera Theatre Mini-Opera Composition Competition:  First Place – “Onomast” by Thomas Wilson; Second Place – “The Abyss” by Ten Yeen Chong; Honorable Mention – “Queen Misery” by Tim Gibbons. “Onomast” received its world premiere on the Opera Theatre’s fall production Something Old, Something New: The Then and Now of Opera on October 12 and 14, 2012.  A short scene from “The Abyss” was also be performed. Congratulations to all, and good luck to all composers already hard at work on their submissions.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW to see a fun promotional trailer for our March 2012 production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW to see an exciting promotional trailer for Amir Zaheri’s The Raven’s Revenge, the world premiere of which the UA Opera Theatre gave in 2011.


2013-2014 UA Opera Theatre season:

September 12, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
September 13, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.      

Over Dinner!

Music and Lyrics by Amir Zaheri

The UA Opera Theatre presents the world premiere of Amir Zaheri’s latest work for the stage, a musical moment in time when lives intersect at a restaurant. Add an enticing mix of patrons with a quirky restaurant staff and the result is a deliciously dramatic  meal.

Season-opening reception to follow.

** PLEASE NOTE: The show has adult themes and language and is not recommended for young audiences
Tickets:  $10 = General Admission;   $5 = student
Location – Choral Opera Room, Moody Music Bldg.


October 11, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
October 13, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.

A double bill for families and audiences of all ages ….


Paul Bunyan

     by Benjamin Britten

Hansel and Gretel

     by Engelbert Humperdinck

2013 marks the centennial of Britten’s birth and what better way to say Happy Birthday than to present excerpts from his and Auden’s imaginative tale of the famously large lumberjack.  And audiences young and old alike will delight to the familiar tale of Hansel and Gretel and the mean old witch and will get to cheer and sing with the chorus of gingerbread children.  This production will be a joint venture with the School of Music’s Community Music School.   Paul Bunyan will be directed by Opera Theatre alum Dr. Jennifer Bryant; Hansel & Gretel will be directed by current doctoral student Jen Stephenson.

Tickets:  $20 = General Admission;   $5 = students
Location – Choral Opera Room, Moody Music Bldg.

March 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm (NOTE LATER START TIME for opening night)
March 9, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.

The Consul

     by Gian Carlo Menotti

The UA Opera Theatre is excited to collaborate with the Huxford Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Blake Richardson in his first year as Music Director. Maestro Richardson and Director Houghtaling will partner to bring Gian Carlo Menotti’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama The Consul to the stage.  The story of a family trying to escape a totalitarian society is gripping, dark, and thrilling.

Tickets:  $20 = General Admission;   $5 = students
Bryant-Jordan Performing Arts, UA’s Bryce Campus

April 1, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.


An Annual Evening of

Broadway and Pop Favorites

 An annual celebration of the best of Broadway, this popular event is performed in an intimate cabaret setting.  Seats go fast!!

F R E E Admission – Seating limited -  early arrival suggested.
Bryant-Jordan Performing Arts, UA’s Bryce Campus


 Click here for past UA Opera Theatre seasons, including productions, graduate assistants, and visiting artists/instructors.

Please keep reading whether you are a potential student,
a welcomed audience member, or a Friend of the Opera Theatre
in the form of a generous donor, because …

 Opera at Alabama is exciting!

opera1Our training program includes opera as well as musical theater styles ranging from the Baroque to the 21st century. We perform Verdi and Sondheim, Monteverdi and Cole Porter, Mozart and Bernstein, side by side because we believe versatility leads to marketability.  We study the art of the singer-actor, applying skills to the rehearsal process to bring music and theater to life on the stage.  We offer students the tools needed to have a career in the business today and the chance to find who they are as performers. Join us in the pursuit of excellence in our craft, and start your career at the University of Alabama! The UA Opera Theatre is a comprehensive opera and musical theatre training program encompassing:

  • Workshop classes appropriate to all experience levels
  • Individual attention and personalized career guidance
  • Aria/song audition class
  • Improvisation (improvised operas on Dr. Seuss books, among other things),
  • Dance, including period dances, and movement classes
  • Stage combat classes
  • Stage makeup classes
  • Music business classes (resumes, headshots, websites, promotion and marketing)
  • Technical theatre experience
  • Directing experience for graduate students and upperclassmen
  • Scenes, one-acts, and full productions with piano and orchestra
  • Visiting artists and instructors including managers, agents, conductors

2013-2014 visiting artist/instructors will include (additional guests TBA):

  • Stacy Searle Panitch – UA, acting for singers
  • Dr. Linda Lister – University of Nevada Las Vegas, yoga for singers
  • Dr. Dawn Neely – University of West Georgia, master class; acting techniques
  • Dr. James Daugherty – University of Kansas, vocology/voice science lecture (UA Endowed Chair)
  • Dr. Jennifer Bryant – Birmingham-Southern College, Guest Stage Director
  • Dr. Loraine Sims – Louisiana State University; recital and master class
  • Cherry Duke – mezzo-soprano; class on social media
  • Ryan Landis, DMA candidate – lecture on vocal health
  • Alana Sealy, MM candidate – class on yoga for singers
  • Jen Stephenson, DMA candidate – lecture on the fach system
  • Christopher Jordan, DMA candidate – movement and dance class

2012-2013 visiting artist/instructors included:

  • Stacy Searle Panitch - acting for singers
  • Jennifer Lane, mezzo-soprano (University of North Texas) – master class
  • Dr. Dean Southern, baritone (Cleveland Institute of Music) – “Distant Voices: Listening to Singers of the Past”
  • Dr. Nancy Walker, soprano (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) – master class
  • Natassia Perrine – dance classes
  • Clarissa Boggess – yoga for singers
  • Matthew von Redlich – stage combat
  • Stephen Tyler Davis – acting
  • Marian Montevani – clown and mask workshops
  • Toby Pruett – clown and mask workshops
  • Victoria Jolson – author and UA Alum. Booksigning and Reception


 Click here for photos of classes in action!

Click here for links to videos of past opera performances.