Support Opera at UF

UF Opera Story

Opera first came to the University of Florida in 1980, starting small with students and faculty producing individual scenes and slowly moving to one act performances. Dr. Elizabeth Graham and UF Symphony Orchestra conductor Dr. Raymond Chobaz worked in collaboration with the School of Theatre + Dance musical theatre program to bring guest artists like acclaimed director Dona Vaughn to continue to grow the workshop and provide students with greater learning opportunities. Further support and collaboration with the Gainesville community allowed the opera workshop to produce some of its first full-length productions like Porgy and Bess, Three Penny Opera, and Madama Butterfly. 

Since then, the program has grown in reputation, enrolling about 25 students who enjoy small class sizes and instruction from nationally known guest artists and faculty. The opera workshop also got a new name, UF Opera Theatre, under the direction of Dr. Anthony Offerle. UF Opera Theatre acclaimed productions include La Bohème, Phantom of the Opera, The Magic Flute, Tosca, The Mikado, Three Penny Opera, Die Fledermaus, and La Traviata, among others. 

UF Opera Theatre has also been involved with premiere opera productions. The Red Silk Thread, an original work composed by UF alumna Stella Sung with stage direction by Beth Greenberg under the artistic direction of Dr. Anthony Offerle, was produced at UF in 2014. 

Students involved in UF Opera Theatre productions have gone off to perform professionally on international stages, in addition to working in a range of fields from business to medicine. 

The program started with a gift from a single donor, and it continues to grow with support from people like you. It is because of your support that we can continue to provide opportunities to students and promote excellence in our programs. Thank you!

"My education at the University of Florida laid a solid foundation for my career as an international performer. I learned valuable skills that I continue to use to this day when I am preparing, rehearsing, and performing opera roles. I am particularly grateful for the support Dr. Elizabeth Graham gave me both in our voice lessons and as a mentor. She helped me become more confident in my vocal technique, and her experience as a performer and constant support helped encourage me to take risks, discover what made me unique as an artist, and have the courage to express my story in the most authentic way possible. Thank you, Dr. Graham and UF School of Music, and Go Gators!" - Nicholas Pallesen (BA Music, 2005), Baritone, Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and English National Opera