Sewanee Opera Intensive

Sewanee Opera Intensive 2021

Offered Digitally as part of WinterFest

January 3—8, 2021

The Sewanee Opera Intensive is a one-week 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 intensive brings together some of the leading experts in the operatic field, bringing extensive historical knowledge of the career as well as their active involvement in forging the path of what an operatic career might look like post-COVID-19. Our encouraging, creative environment aims to give each participant the support and tools they need to continue developing and thrive.


Laura Brooks Rice
Master Teacher, Program Director

Mezzo-soprano Laura Brooks Rice has won acclaim on the opera and concert stage for her rich, warm voice, musicality, charm and sensitive acting ability.

From 1985-2019 Miss Rice was on faculty at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey where she was Professor of Voice. Along with her teaching at Westminster, Miss Rice has a private studio of professional singers and has been a vocal consultant to the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Program and is currently the voice teacher for the Cafritz Program with the Washington Opera. She has been an adjunct voice faculty member at The Curtis Institute of Music.

Her private students are currently singing as regular principal artists at The Metropolitan Opera, Washington Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Ft. Worth Opera, Dayton Opera, Minnesota Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and most of the world’s opera houses and orchestras. 

Miss Rice has been on the steering committee for the Singer Training Council under the auspices of Opera America. She has been a member of the board of advisors of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Astral Artistic Services as well as the Princeton Festival. She has served as a judge on the panels of the National NATSAA Competition, Astral Artistic Services Annual Auditions and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She has been Director of one of Westminster’s most innovative programs the CoOPERAtive Program, and three-week intensive opera training program.

Kathleen Kelly
Conductor / Coach
Cincinnati Conservatory of Music

Joan Dornemann
Conductor / Coach
Metropolitan Opera
International Vocal Arts Institute

James Mitchell
Stage Director / Drama Coach
West Virginia University

Howard Watkins
Conductor / Coach
Metropolitan Opera

Gina Lapinski
Stage Director / Drama Coach
Metropolitan Opera

Susan Ashbaker
Conductor / Coach
Westminster Choir College

Amanda Consol
Stage Director / Drama Coach
University of Maryland
Washington National Opera

Hemdi Kfir
Language Coach
Metropolitan Opera

An Introduction to the Sewanee Opera Intensive

with SSMF Director John Kilkenny and
Sewanee Opera Intensive Director Laura Brooks Rice

Who is the program for?

The program is most suitable for college seniors, post-grad singers, and young professionals.

Application Information

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Priority consideration acceptances will be sent out by November 15, 2020. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2020.

Required Materials
Headshot, resume, completed online application, 2 video recordings

Audition Requirements
Two video recordings – contrasting arias

Application Platform:
The Sewanee Opera Intensive will use as an application platform.


Tuition for participants is $385.00 USD.

In order to provide greater access to the WinterFest, and in recognition of the challenges our community is facing, THERE IS NO APPLICATION FEE.

For more information please contact