OperaFest Sewanee

OperaFest Sewanee


Very excited to be a Guest Artist at OperaFest Sewanee!
The culmination of last night's "Much Ado About Shakespeare!" scenes program was wonderful and bittersweet! I am so thankful to the 3 ladies standing around me, to Patrick Hansen and Kathleen Kelly for their musical wisdom, to Gina Lapinski for her brillant staging, to Debbie Robertson for her piano collaboration and last but never least, to my teacher Laura Brooks Rice who guided me (despite quarantine and zoom) and who had this wonderful vision to create OperaFest Sewanee that gave me so many opportunities this summer, I say THANK YOU!!
This Summer, our Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Joan Dornemann, will be a Faculty Member at OperaFest Sewanee - Sewanee Summer Music Festival in June and Guest Faculty at Canto Vocal Programs in July!

Visit https://ssmf.sewanee.edu/ & https://www.cantovocalprograms.com/ for details!

#ivai #summer2021 #comingsoon #opera
Enjoyed The Practicing Mind seminar by Thomas Sterner. “In order to be Free with art, you have to be a slave to the process”
Sewanee Opera Intensive
All set up and Ready to work hard this week with Sewanee Opera Intensive! I can’t wait to coach these arias with the amazing faculty!
Sewanee Opera Intensive
✨This week, both Joan Dornemann and Hemdi Kfir are part of the Sewanee Opera Intensive ✨

Lucky students!!

#Repost @ssmfoperaintensive

Today's #FacultySpotlight features our incredible diction coach, Hemdi Kfir! Keep reading to learn more about her work, favorite composers, and her top tips for singers.


Hemdi Kfir has been a member of the music staff at the Metropolitan Opera since 2007. Among her extensive work with young professional singers: The Juilliard School, the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Washington National Opera Cafritz Young Artist Program, the Israeli Opera, and Tokyo's Academy for the Performing Arts, GeiDai. She joined the faculty of Joan Dornemann's International Vocal Arts Institute in 1999, CoOperative at Rider University in 2016, and Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara in 2019. She edited Nico Castel's book of Handel operas, and translated numerous operas for surtitles. Hemdi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and French, and a Master of Arts in Music and Languages.
✨ 𝓒𝓸𝓶𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓢𝓸𝓸𝓷 ✨

ℹ️ Introducing the Sewanee Opera Intensive! A brand new digital opera training program focused on fostering community and connection among opera artists and providing advanced training during this time of isolation. Created to help artists reboot in 2021, the program offers private coaching focusing on operatic style, diction and language, dramatic presentation, performance technique, and professional skills training. Directed by Laura Brooks Rice, the first one-week digital intensive program is January 3-8, 2021.

👩‍🏫 The Faculty includes @ivaiopera Co-Founder & Artistic Director Joan Dornemann, @ivaiopera @icavcvai @metopera Diction Coach Hemdi Kfir and @ivaiopera @icavcvai Voice Teacher Laura Brooks Rice, among other fantastic opera professionals.

👉🏼 Applications open soon and there is no fee to apply. Learn more at http://ssmf.sewanee.edu/winterfest/opera-intensive/

#sewanee #ssmfoperaintensive #operatraining
The Sewanee Summer Music Festival is pleased to offer a series of FREE masterclasses with our acclaimed festival artist-faculty. Come prepared to perform, ask questions and develop your skills under the guidance of these expert musicians. Not ready to play or SING in the class, you can select to just observe. However, we strongly encourage everyone to participate, ask questions, and engage with our faculty and fellow students. Learn, grow, and be ready for your future. Now is the time!
Students may register at this link below:
For a complete listing of our FREE masterclass series:
Stay tuned for more masterclasses in the spring of 2021.

A program of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, OperaFest Sewanee is an artist incubator program dir OperaFest Sewanee is a program of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.

To learn more about SSMF, please visit our website at https://ssmf.sewanee.edu


Happy birthday to OperaFest Program Director, Laura Brooks Rice! We’re grateful for you today and everyday. All of us at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival are wishing you an amazing day and a wonderful year ahead! ❤️


Congratulations to OperaFest alumni on their wins today at the Orpheus Vocal Competition!! Savannah Cathey won the Bernstein Award and Kathleen O’Mara won the Bizet Award. We’re so proud of you both!!
Sewanee Summer Music Festival

Timeline photos 03/03/2022

Timeline photos

PREMIERES | Friday, March 4. 1PM (PST)

An early sharing of this work in progress, THE SHOAH SONGBOOK: WHY IS THE WORLD SO QUIET? from Jaclyn Grossman and Nate Ben-Horin features rare music by Jewish composers from the Holocaust and explores the experience of Jewish musicians in the Western classical tradition.

​See more of at https://pacificopera.ca/event/for-all-to-hear/


We're incredibly proud of our Program Director, Laura Brooks Rice, and all of her extraordinary student's accomplishments. Laura recently visited New York to hear her student, Matthew Polenzani, in the The Metropolitan Opera's dress rehearsal for , which opens tonight!!

After our dress rehearsal for , at The Metropolitan OperaI got to have dinner Cafe Fiorello with my voice teacher, Laura Brooks Rice. I began studying with Laura in 1998, after the death of the woman who taught both of us, . She has been my friend, my teacher, my most trusted ear, and her steady hand has helped guide me through all the changing and challenging repertory I have sung in my career. I'm so glad you could be here today, Laura! Thank you for being one of the greatest voice teachers in the world, and to all you young singers out there, I wish for you someone like Laura has been for me!


Introducing OperaFest Guest Artists for the 2022 OperaFest Sewanee! We’re so excited to welcome performing artist and faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Dr. Kelly Ann Bixby!

Dr. Kelly Ann Bixby is a distinguished performer in concert, operatic and chamber music repertoire and has been recognized for her warm, colorful soprano voice and insightful musicianship.

Learn more on ssmf.sewanee.edu


Introducing OperaFest Guest Artists for the 2022 OperaFest Sewanee! We’re so excited to welcome performing artist Joshua Conyers!

“Joshua Conyers is quickly being championed for his captivating performances as he continues to be recognized as one of the most promising young dramatic voices of today.”

Learn more on ssmf.sewanee.edu
Joshua Conyers Baritone


Introducing OperaFest Guest Artists for the 2022 OperaFest Sewanee! We’re so excited to welcome international opera singer and faculty at the University of Notre Dame, Kiera Duffy!

American soprano Kiera Duffy is recognized for both her gleaming high soprano and insightful musicianship in repertoire that encompasses Handel, Bach, and Mozart to modern sounds of Berg, Glass, and Zorn.

Learn more on ssmf.sewanee.edu

Kiera Duffy, Soprano
Sewanee Summer Music Festival


THREE DAYS LEFT to apply for the OperaFest Fellow Artist program!
Get your applications in!!


Studio Artist applicants may apply until March 25th. The 35$ application fee will rise to 75$ after February 18th.


Congratulations OperaFest alumn Grace Wipfli St. Louis District Winner! We’re so proud of you!

The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition

Timeline photos 01/18/2022

Congrats Savannah Cathey!

I am thrilled to announce I have been selected as a finalist! I will be competing in March.


Congratulations to OperaFest alumni Faith Sarah Snyderman Katie O'Mara Jaclyn Grossman Savannah Cathey and Mala Weissberg for entering the semi-finals of the Orpheus National Music Competition for Vocalists in the Student and Young Artist divisions! We wish you the best of luck!


Photos from OperaFest Sewanee's post 01/13/2022

A little OperaFest reunion at the The Atlanta Opera - OperaFest coach Elena Kholodova and OperaFest alum Mala Weissberg! Thank you to our program director Laura Brooks Rice who regularly travels to Atlanta to work with the singers in the Glynn Opera Studio for setting it up!

Sewanee Summer Music Festival


Congratulations to Sewanee WinterFest Opera Intensive alumni, Cloe SanAntonio, who is one of the Boston District Winners in The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition !
Sewanee Summer Music Festival



OperaFest Fellow Artists- application deadline is January 28th

OperaFest Studio Artists- application deadline is March 25th

Apply at app.getacceptd.com/sewanee

For more information about the admissions process, visit

Sewanee Summer Music Festival


Congrats to OperaFest faculty member, Dugg McDonough and the LSU cast of their Wild West COSI FAN TUTTE grabbed first place in Division II (graduate level) of the National Opera Association Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition!! This is the fifth COSC win in a row for the wonderful artists of the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at LSU!!
BRAVI TUTTI!!!!!!! 👏👍💜💛❤️


Happy New Year from OperaFest!

May 2022 be filled with music and love.

Stay healthy everyone!

Sewanee Summer Music Festival


Learn more about OperaFest! Directed by renowned voice coach Laura Brooks Rice, this program is a wonderful developmental opportunity for pre-professional singers to spend a transformative summer with esteemed coaches and professionals in the field!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Learn more at ssmf.sewanee.edu/experience/operafest⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


The Sewanee Summer Music Festival invites you to watch the 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors which will be broadcast by CBS on Dec. 22 at 9 p.m. EST. The performance will include an operatic selection from Carmen and Faust to honor the world renowned opera singer, Justino Diaz. We’re excited to watch the performance of Laura Brooks Rice’s students from the Washington National Opera, including her long time student and Metropolitan Opera star, Matthew Polenzani. We’re also proud to have members of the SSMF faculty playing the Washington National Opera Orchestra.

Sewanee Summer Music Festival


OperaFest Sewanee is happy to give an application fee waiver code until December 31st, 2021, and will waive the $35 application fee for all applicants who submit their application during those dates.

Enter the code 03WINTER65 to waive the application fee at the time of submission.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Send this to of your opera singer friends!

We look forward to reviewing your applications!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sewanee Summer Music Festival


Another lovely OperaFest testimonial to share with you all-

“OperaFest Sewanee was a transformative month. I found myself leaving the four week program with a renewed sense of musical confidence that has carried into this year’s audition season”
- 2021 OperaFest participant

We’re so proud of everyone’s achievements and successes following OperaFest!

Bel Canto in Tuscany - Summer Opera School 11/18/2021

Bel Canto in Tuscany - Summer Opera School

AFTER OperaFest Sewanee, you can continue to work with Laura Brooks Rice and Patrick Hansen in Italy!

Bel Canto in Tuscany - Summer Opera School Homepage for the summer opera school, Bel Canto in Tuscany. Learn about the faculty, the program details, fees and the new Young Artist Division.

A Discussion About OperaFest with Laura Brooks Rice and John Kilkenny 11/18/2021

A Discussion About OperaFest with Laura Brooks Rice and John Kilkenny

Join Sewanee Music Center Director John Kilkenny and Sewanee OperaFest Director Laura Brooks Rice for a look back on the inaugural Sewanee OperaFest as well as a sneak peek of what's to come!


A Discussion About OperaFest with Laura Brooks Rice and John Kilkenny Join Sewanee Music Center Director John Kilkenny and Sewanee OperaFest Director Laura Brooks Rice for a look back on the inaugural Sewanee OperaFest as well ...


A big congratulations to our OperaFest 2021 alumni (Grace Decious, Faith S. Sneiderman and Morgan Manifacier) who are finalists in the John Alexander National Vocal Competition! Yay!
Toi toi toi to everyone in the final round, we’re so very proud of you!


Congratulations to our 2021 OperaFest participants, who have received audition invitations to
Des Moines Metro Opera, Merola Opera Program, Washington National Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe, Wolftrap, The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition district round, and Glimmerglass Festival. Sewanee Summer Music Festival


Last night’s wonderful and informative Panel Discussion on College and Career Readiness with faculty-artists Chad Burrow, Donna Shin, Dr. Gene Moon, Patrick Hansen, John Kilkenny and Dr. Hilary Dow Ward. To view click the link below.



OperaFest reunion at the Metropolitan Opera where alumna, Jaclyn Grossman ran into OperaFest faculty and MET stage director Gina Lapinski!!!

Minnesota Opera to Stream 'Interstate' - Opera Wire 10/13/2021

Minnesota Opera to Stream 'Interstate' - Opera Wire

Watch our incredibly creative faculty member Kathleen Kelly Deekay Zee In action! We are so proud!


Minnesota Opera to Stream 'Interstate' - Opera Wire Minnesota Opera is set to present “Interstate” starting on Oct. 9, 2021. The new opera film features music by Kamala Sankaram with a libretto by Jennifer Cresswell and Kathleen Kelly. Tonya McKinny directs with Ryan McKinny as Director of Photography. The film was produced by Helio Arts. It tell...


The Sewanee Summer Music Festival is pleased to offer a FREE series of masterclasses with our acclaimed festival artist-faculty. Come prepared to perform, ask questions, and develop your skills under the guidance of these expert musicians. Learn, grow, and be ready for your future. Now is the time. There are a total of 9 classes featuring voice, viola, and violin plus an extra class which will be a panel on College and Career Readiness. Please fill out the form on our webpage at https://ssmf.sewanee.edu/masterclass-series/


A reminder that our 2021 fall Masterclass Series is now open for registration!

What a unique opportunity to sing and observe our brilliant opera artist faculty members; Laura Brooks Rice, Patrick Hansen and Kathleen Kelly in their Masterclass Series "Beyond the Five Arias!"

Share this post with all of your opera-loving friends!

Register at


Introducing the fabulous Kathleen Kelly who is one of our coaches for the Sewanee Opera Intensive Masterclass Series “Beyond the Five Arias” Rebooting your aria Package.

In her class, Ms. Kelly will work with each singer on their audition aria in which she will provide feedback about their performance and lead a collaborative discussion about other repertoire, and how to use those choices to showcase their strengths.

Registration info is on our website ssmf.sewanee.edu



Make sure to save the date below👇
The 2022 SSMF dates: June 18th- July 17th

Apply beginning October 15th 2021.

Please share with your fellow musicians!

We can’t wait to have you all back here in beautiful Sewanee.

More audition info can be found at our website at ssmf.sewanee.edu

Videos (show all)

We are so proud of our incredible Opera Intensive alumni!
Sewanee Opera Intensive, An Introduction




Sewanee, TN

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