Founded in 1950 by L. Wayne Batty, VCU Opera has been directed by Melanie Kohn Day since 1983. From 1987 to 2005, Michelle Harman-Gulick served as co-director. In 2008, Dr. Kenneth Wood assumed duties as stage director for VCU Opera.
VCU Opera has the longest-running tradition of annual full-scale productions in the state of Virginia. We produce fully staged opera scenes programs in the fall, as well as a gala evening of arias and several performances in area public schools. Every spring, VCU Opera presents a
full-scale production in collaboration with the VCU Symphony. VCU Opera is also proud of its ongoing relationship with the Virginia Opera and Lyric Opera of Virginia, which includes regular field trips, workshops and master classes with staff and artists.
With a significant emphasis on the holistic training of the complete “singer-actor,” VCU Opera has prepared numerous students for scholarships to the Manhattan School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, Brevard Music Festival, The Curtis Institute of Music, The University of Maryland, Boston University and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Several VCU Opera graduates have been selected for positions with the Virginia Opera Spectrum Young Artists/Apprentice Program, as well as in young artist programs with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Lake George Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Sarasota Opera.
VCU Opera has an impressive history of alumni career success stories featuring performances in many of the world’s greatest opera houses. VCU Opera offers an outstanding and intensive undergraduate opera training experience. Our students have ample opportunities to perform for Guest Artists in master classes in addition to bi-annual fully-staged productions.