University Opera

Mimmi Fulmer, Professor of Voice and Opera
Thomas Kasdorf, Opera and Vocal Coach
David Ronis, Karen K. Bishop Director of University Opera
Oriol Sans, Assistant Professor, Music Director and Conductor


Mission Statement

University Opera is a cultural service of the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin–Madison whose mission is to provide comprehensive operatic training and performance opportunities for our students and operatic programming to the community. Students sing principal, supporting, and chorus roles in main stage productions, one-act operas, and programs of opera scenes. In addition, we offer training for directors, conductors, and pianists, and, when possible, provide opportunities for student designers, actors, and dancers. Showcases for faculty, alumni, and guest artists are presented when appropriate.

About University Opera

Since 2015, UW-Madison has been the proud recipient of six National Opera Association Opera Production Awards (Albert Herring, Le nozze di Figaro, Transformations, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Into the Woods and The Turn of the Screw). Our production of Transformations garnered the 2nd Place Charles Nelson Reilly Directing Award in the American Prize’s 2018 competition and Falstaff received an Honorable Mention the same year. University Opera welcomes students of all levels and degree programs, from doctoral candidates to freshman music education majors, to participate in operatic classes and performances. We present an annual season of two fully staged operas, as well as evenings of opera scenes and one-act operas. In recent seasons, repertoire has also included La bohème, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Into the Woods, Die Zauberflöte, The Magic Flute, A Kurt Weill Cabaret, Don Giovanni, Ariodante and Béatrice et Bénédict.

In addition to main stage presentations, University Opera offers Opera Workshop, a course dedicated to the study of operatic staging skills and opera repertoire, culminating each semester in performances of scenes and one-act operas, as well as Acting for Singers, a two-semester sequence focusing on acting techniques specific to the operatic stage. Students have the opportunity to perform around the state for outreach programs in schools and arts centers. University Opera frequently hosts prestigious guest artists in concerts and master classes. Recent guests include Ben Heppner, Dawn Upshaw, Brenda Rae, Brenda Harris, Gary Thor Wedow, Daniel Belcher, Nathaniel Stampley, and Barbara Bonney.  For 2020, we are proud to present a master class taught by Renée Fleming in the newly opened Collins Recital Hall.


I Wish It So: Marc Blitzstein, the Man in His Music
David Ronis, director
Thomas Kasdorf, music director.

Video release
Friday, October 23, 2020, 8:00 pm

What’s Past is Prologue: The Unfinished American Conversation
David Ronis, director
Thomas Kasdorf, musical director

Video release
Saturday, April 10, 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 11, 2 pm

Learn more >>

Opera Scenes

Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 7:30 pm – Video Release

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 7:30 pm


The Karen K. Bishop Fund for Voice and Opera raises funds to support the opera and voice programs.

University Opera’s season is made possible by the support of alumni, friends, and community organizations. Due to the significant costs of producing opera, the university can fund only a small fraction of our budget. Generous donors have helped underwrite productions and support students who would not otherwise have been able to attend UW–Madison.

We are deeply grateful for the assistance of The Karen K. Bishop Fund for Voice and Opera, The Ann Crow Fund for Voice and Opera, and to The Dara Elizabeth Welty Fund for helping make a high-quality season available to our students and audiences. Our goal is an endowed annual operating fund to provide infrastructure for recruiting, training, and performance opportunities to our singers. We welcome your inquiries about becoming part of our family of donors. To find out more, please contact Rebekah Sherman at the University of Wisconsin Foundation at (608) 572-2077 or