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Maryland Opera Studio


Craig Kier, Director, Maryland Opera Studio
Nick Olcott, Director of Acting, Scene Study
Justina Lee, Principal Coach
Ashley Pollard, Manager


The acclaimed Maryland Opera Studio is both a degree program and a performance ensemble within the UM School of Music's Voice/Opera Division. As a two-year degree program awarding the Master of Music in Opera Performance, the Studio provides complete education & training of the opera singer in preparation for professional performance. The program includes work in all areas of vocal & theatrical training, movement & dance, operatic language study, and performance experience. Scene study, voice lessons and coaching are accompanied by a comprehensive study of movement, dance, fencing and combat, acting (including a Shakespeare course), improvisation, mask, and diction.


First Year
The first semester is devoted to extracting information about a character by exploring the character's words and music. The second semester concentrates on small ensemble scenes. Specific acting and vocal challenges are chosen to help singers overcome their particular areas of weakness. In preparing these ensembles the singers explore together how scenes can be played with other characters. These scenes are chosen from a wide variety of repertory and include all aspects of training. In the spring of the first year, the singers perform the scenes for the public. Accompanied only by piano and minimal props, these performances give the artists a chance to employ the techniques they have been studying.

Second Year
The third and fourth semesters focus on the preparation and performance of complete roles. The choice of repertoire and roles is dependent on the singer's voice type and the composition of the current class. Operas are carefully chosen to address the needs of the class.

In the fall semester the Maryland Opera Studio presents at least one complete opera with piano or small ensemble. In these performance exercises the production values are minimal: basic props and furniture, no wigs or make-up, only the artist and the light. They are exercises designed to give students an opportunity to learn and perform a complete role. The costumes are generally constructed of muslin, which allows the student to understand, work and master movement in the clothes of the particular period. The emphasis is on the singers and their creation.

In the spring the Studio presents at least one fully produced opera with orchestra. Both the fall and the spring operas are performed in the Clarice Smith Center's glorious Ina & Jack Kay Theatre.

Click here for Audition requirements. Scroll down to Master of Music, Maryland Opera Studio (Opera Performance) and/or Doctor of Musical Arts, Maryland Opera Studio.

Recent Works Performed

The Studio stages one to two fully-produced operas each year in the Clarice Smith Center's Ina & Jack Kay Theatre, as well as two operas with piano, staged readings of new operas, and operatic scene study. As a performance ensemble, the Studio has a devoted following and routinely draws large audiences and critical praise for its productions.


La BohèmePucciniSpring 2013
IdomeneoMozartSpring 2013
Postcard from MoroccoArgentoSpring 2012
Miss Havisham's FireArgentoSpring 2012
Il Barbiere di SivigliaRossiniSpring 2011
Die Entführung aus dem Serail MozartSpring 2011
Reading Lolita in TehranNew work readingSpring 2011
Florencia en el AmazonasCatanFall 2010
Shadowboxer (World Premiere)Proto, ChenaultSpring 2010
La Finta GiardinieraMozartFall 2009
L'elisir d'amoreDonizettiFall 2009
XerxesHandelSpring 2009
Eugene OneginTchaikovskySpring 2009
A Midsummer Night's DreamBrittenFall 2008
Cosi fan tutteMozartSpring 2008
Later the Same Evening: an opera inspired by five paintings of Edward Hopper
(World Premiere)
Musto, CampbellFall 2007
ArmideGluckSpring 2007
TransformationsSusaSpring 2007
WertherMassenetFall 2006
Don GiovanniMozartFall 2006
Il Matrimonio SegretoCimarosaSpring 2006
The Newport RivalsMechemFall 2005
Giulio CesareHandelSpring 2005
La BohèmePucciniSpring 2005
The Turn of the ScrewBrittenFall 2004
Il Barbiere di SivigliaRossiniFall 2004
Clara (World Premiere)Convery, CahillSpring 2004
Les Contes d'HoffmannOffenbachSpring 2004
SebajiNew work reading 
IonNew work reading 


See also:
Maryland Opera Studio Alumni