Summer Highlights from UW Voice and Opera

It was a productive summer with UW students performing and participating in workshops across the United States and abroad. Our voice faculty were active abroad, singing, coaching opera and presenting papers at national conferences. More posts will follow, but for now, enjoy this update from three of our vocal performance students.

Darrell Jordan, D.M.A. Vocal Performance 2019, now a teaching artist with Seattle Opera, performed the title role of Falstaff for Lawrence Opera Theatre, in addition to singing Nadia Boulanger songs on a recital of women composers.

Erika Meyer (B.M. Vocal Performance 2019) and Christopher Benfield (current DMA candidate)  both performed as part of Lawrence Opera Theater, singing in the chorus of Falstaff,  in recitals for women composers in opera, opera scenes from Peter Grimes (Erika) and Ariadne auf Naxos (Chris), and a musical theatre cabaret.

We’re excited to welcome a new crop of students for the 2019-20 school year while celebrating the many artistic pursuits of the summer!


The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs Masterclass at UW

University of Washington Voice and Opera will offer students an interactive voice masterclass with Morgan Smith, who plays Paul Jobs in Seattle Opera’s current production of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, composed by Mason Bates. Three advanced vocal performance students will obtain coaching from Smith, while also having the opportunity to learn tips on auditioning for companies, pursuing European performance careers, and balancing life/work in the strenuous field of opera performance. The masterclass will take place March 5, 2019 (Tuesday), 3:30-5 pm, and is free and open to the public at the UW School of Music, Brechemin Auditorium.  This fascinating contemporary opera has already won the 2018 Grammy for Best Opera Recording. 

L’enfant et les Sortilèges

Dear Friends!

On March 8th, at 7:30 in Meany Studio Theatre of the University of Washington, the Opera Workshop of the University of Washington School of Music will present Maurice Ravel’s magical one-act opera, L’enfant et les Sortilèges.  This delightful show will feature students of the Opera Workshop Vocal Performance Program, with Maestro Stephen Stubbs conducting in a production directed by visiting faculty artist Deanne Meek.  We hope you can join us and support the wonderful work these talented students are doing!
​As some​ of you know, we previewed some of the scenes from the opera as part of our December 2017 “Works in Process: Creating Narrative in Songs and Scenes” performance.  I include photos of this to give you a small preview of Thursday’s fully staged production.
There will be a small reception afterwards, in which you can meet the artists and learn more about the Opera Program and the exciting work we have been doing.  If you’ve been a supporter of the program in the past, consider this a small thank you for your support.  If you’re new to our work, we look forward to sharing news of our growth and vision for the future.  Primarily, we want to share this beautiful music with you all as we celebrate the importance of art in our lives and nurture a new generation of artists.
Please Join Us!

Deanne Meek

Visiting Artist Faculty; Teacher and Director
University of Washington ​School of Music
Opera Workshop


Voice Division Recital Coming Up!


Join the voice students at UW for their first Divisional Recital of 2018 on Monday, February 26th at 7:30 p.m. in Brechemin Auditorium.  It’s FREE and open to the public.

Voice students of Thomas Harper, Kari Ragan, and Cyndia Sieden perform art songs and arias from Germany, France, Italy, and beyond.

Click Here for more information

Save the Date! April 13 & 14, 2018 “The Art & Science of the Performing Voice”​

Save the Date!

University of Washington and greater Seattle community are invited to attend the 3rd annual Northwest Voice Conference on April 13 and 14, 2018.

The NW Voice Conference is quickly gaining international acclaim, presenting its third annual symposium “The Art and Science of the Performing Voice” with Honorary Tony Award-winning voice teacher Joan Lader as guest clinician. She will present masterclasses as well as a presentation on “The Belter’s Tool Box.”

Click here to register and find out more information!


Kulesa (third from right) receiving Encouragement Award at MONC.

October was an exciting time for the University of Washington voice department as two students earned NATS & Met awards. Lauren Kulesa, a first year Masters in Vocal Performance student, performed at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (MONC) on Sunday, October 29th, and received an Encouragement Award for the Northwest Region. Gemma Balinbin, a second year Masters in Vocal Performance student, was a regional finalist of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards (NATSAA) Competition. Both Lauren and Gemma are from the Seattle area and are working towards recitals later this quarter.  Congratulations Lauren and Gemma! We are proud of your achievements.

Balinbin (third from right) at NATSAA competition.

Voice Students Kick off School Year with Immler Masterclass

Christian Immler visited University of Washington for a Voice Masterclass hosted by the UW voice faculty on October 3, 2017, just a week after classes began in the School of Music.  Immler is a renowned baritone with broad musical talents and interests, including early music historical performance, contemporary and world premiere works, and art song recital literature, especially by 20th century Emigré composers. Keep posted here for more information about upcoming masterclasses, opera productions and recitals at University of Washington.


Mozart Scenes Come to Life January 14

cyndia_sieden_webstephenstubbsMozart Scenes

A powerhouse team of faculty and coaches are in the final phase of producing 11 scenes from five Mozart operas, in our latest Opera Workshop project. UW vocal performance students from the undergraduate and graduate program will star in this production. This rich array is the result of a collaboration of two early music specialists and voice faculty members, Stephen Stubbs and Cyndia Sieden. In addition, professional opera veterans Linda Kitchen and Deanne Meek are assisting in stage direction, while UW Director of Accompanying Rhonda Kline offers musical coaching.  The scenes will be transported to area public schools in the near future. We hope you will join us on January 14th; $10 tickets available here. rhondaklineprt_180x252_140570758109292ad


Kari Ragan publishes national NATS refereed article

imgres-1The National Association of Teachers of Singing has peer-reviewed and published a new article by Dr. Kari Ragan, full time artist-in-residence of voice at University of Washington.  The article is entitled “Serious About Singing: Age Appropriate Repertoire for the Talented Teen”, and appears in the January/February 2016 issue of NATS journal.  This article delves into one of the most important issues in voice teaching: proper assignment of literature based on the unique abilities (and limitations) of young singers.  Kari writes, “We must select repertoire that gives our young singers the best chance for advancement in competitive situations while remaining aware of the serious vocal requirements of operatic arias.”

Dr. Ragan has become one of the nation’s leaders in voice science and voice pedagogy, presenting papers at numerous conferences across the United States.  She is also a specialist in Contemporary Music Theater (CMT) pedagogy, helping to lead and direct efforts in the new University of Washington music theatre degree program, as well as publishing substantive articles on the topic.

Stephen Stubbs earns 2016 Grammy nomination

stephen_stubbsShortly after winning the 2015 Grammy for Best Opera Recording, UW Senior Artist-in-Residence Stephen Stubbs has been nominated yet again, for his collaboration with Paul O’Dette and Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra on a CD featuring Agostino Steffani’s 3-act opera Niobe, regina di Tebe.  This recording includes the stellar singing of Philippe Jaroussky and Karina Gauvin.

The University of Washington vocal department has been enjoying yearly collaborations with Stubbs, most recently with his production of Cavalli’s Calisto (directed by Zach Winokur) in January 2016. DMA, MM, and BM students of Kari Ragan, Tom Harper, and Cyndia Sieden sang the roles, accompanied by and ensemble early music instrumentalists led by Stubbs on harpsichord and Maxine Eilander on Baroque violin. Stubbs has also been active in conducting the UW Chamber Singers in a series of Handel Messiah concerts last December.