Donna Boles to Attend International Opera Conference

Donna Boles, a volunteer with the UA Opera Guild, has been selected to attend the June 20 conference of the Opera Volunteers International. The UA Opera Guild supports the University of Alabama's Opera Theatre's faculty, students and theater activities.

"I'm excited to be elected to the board of Opera Volunteers International, representing Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana," says Boles. "I'll be attending conferences in St. Louis and Boston, meeting with professionals and volunteers, to learn new ways to advance the art form and build audiences in our region."

According to Dr. Paul Houghtaling, director of the UA Opera Theatre, the UA Opera Guild has raised about $200,000 since 2013 to support the program-about 80 percent of the department's operating budget. Because of these amazing results, the Opera Volunteers International awarded a Project of Special Merit to the UA Opera Guild in 2014.

The Opera Volunteers International, founded in 1972, is a non-profit group of volunteers that supports and advocates for volunteerism in North America and beyond. The organization works to connect  local opera support organizations and individuals, sharing ideas, projects and the wisdom of those dedicated to art, music and opera.

A longtime educator, Donna Boles has worked with music organizations since the early 1970s.  Besides playing cello with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, she has served on the Tuscaloosa Symphony Board as a board member and as president, and she has been president of the Tuscaloosa Symphony Guild. She has worked especially with fundraising, with the orchestra Petting Zoo, the pre-concert lectures, and concerts for children.

Boles currently serves on the board of the Opera Guild, the Tuscaloosa Symphony, the Tuscaloosa Symphony Guild and also the String Quartet Society of Tuscaloosa. She is a past employee of The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, where she founded Bama Fanfare, a program series for elementary and middle school students.


Summer 2018


In recent seasons, every graduate student and senior in the opera program has either worked professionally as a young artist or participated in workshops or programs for advanced training throughout the country including Opera Saratoga, Ashlawn Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Greensboro Light Opera & Song, Birmingham Music Club Opera, Red River Lyric Opera, Natchez Festival of Music, Druid City Opera Workshop, and the Russian Opera Workshop.  In the summer of 2018, our students will represent UA at Birmingham Music Club, Red River Lyric Opera, BayView Music Festival, the Harrower Opera Workshop, and others.

NEWS ON OUR COACHES – The UA Opera Theatre  and Voice Area are pleased to welcome Maestro Laurie Rogers to the faculty.  Professor Rogers joins us as Instructor of Music and Associate Music Director of Opera starting August 2018.  We will continue to welcome additional coaches for teaching residencies; recent seasons have brought Thomas Bagwell, Christy Lee, Amanda Johnston, and others to our campus.



June 2016

UAOT Director Paul Houghtaling has announced the 2016-2017 Season, leading off with the world premier of Freedom and Fire! A Civil War Story by Amir Zaheri.  Performances of the new Chamber Opera will be Thursday September 29th and Sunday October 2nd.  Details of the season are listed on this site under 'Performances and Events.'


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October 2015 

ACT II, the 2015 Opera Guild Gala, contributed over $30,000 in support of the UA Opera Theatre!  This was an increase of over $7,000 from the gift of 2014.  One hundred and seventy five patrons attended ACT II, which was held on October 4, 2015 in the Alabama Museum of Natural History Grand Gallery.  Community members and opera companies across the country contributed items and "experiences" for the silent auction that comprised the major fundraising effort in support of students and programs in the School of Music at The University of Alabama.


Patrons were entertained by 18 student and faculty performers and were treated to a preview of songs from the upcoming Opera Theatre season.  Director Paul Houghtaling was exuberant in thanking gala guests, guild members and community contributors.


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Opera Volunteers International Bestows Coveted Award at 2015 Conference



In recognition of their efforts, Opera Volunteers International has honored the Opera Guild at the University of Alabama for their special merit project, Food and Music from Around the World: A Gustatory Gala.  Projects of Special Merit awards were presented at the OVI Awards Dinner in Washington D.C. on May 8th. The event was held in conjunction with the 2015 OPERA America/Opera Volunteers International Conference.


The Opera Guild of the University of Alabama, founded two years ago, planned its inaugural fundraising effort to be a grand gala. “Food and Music from Around the World: A Gustatory Gala” was held September 26, 2014, on the Grand Gallery of the Alabama Museum of Natural History on The University of Alabama campus.  The gala featured musical selections performed by 30 opera theatre students, program alumni, and faculty artists.  Visiting professional opera singer, James Bobick, also performed.  The music, the performers, and the buffet represented diverse countries and cultures.  Guests bid on five silent auction offerings and purchased raffle tickets for a large “bucket of spirits.”  Over $25,000.00 was raised for support of the University’s Opera Theatre and  attendees immediately wanted to know when the next gala would be held.


Opera Volunteers International is a nonprofit, volunteer-led service organization and the premier resource and advocate for the development and advancement of volunteerism in support of opera.  OVI expands the relevance, reach, and future of opera worldwide by connecting individual opera volunteers, opera volunteer groups, opera producing organizations, educational organizations, and others that support opera in their communities.


Since 1995, Opera Volunteers International has honored nearly 140 individuals and volunteer support groups who have made outstanding contributions to their opera companies and their communities through the Partners in Excellence award.  




Facebook: Opera Volunteers International

Twitter: @OperaVolunteer


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May 2014

As the 2013-2014 Season comes to a close, the Opera Theatre reflects on the excitement of moving into a newly renovated, dedicated opera space. Bryant-Jordan Hall is the old chapel on the Bryce Hospital campus, just minutes from Moody Music. The University invested heavily to reconfigure the building which will serve as our teaching and performing space; it’s a state-of-the-art facility.  The spring season included highly-successful production of Menotti’s The Consul and the always-popular One Night Only. We look forward to many successful years of teaching and performing in the beautiful new hall.  


The Guild's Broad Horizons:


The Opera Guild at UA (OG@UA) has joined Opera Volunteers International (OVI), thanks to the recommendation of Opera Director Dr. Paul Houghtaling. Opera Volunteers International has as its motto "Expanding the future of Opera through developement, mentoring, and advancement of volunteer service." Since OG@UA is comprimised solely of volunteers, membership in OVI will provide opportunitiesfor members to learn and share their knowledge and skills with other volunteers who are advocates for opera.


OVI programs and services include: a matching grants program that benefits volunteer organizations and programs for Opera; publications on the web and in print, for example, a quarterly newsletter; and annual conferences and occasional focus meetings.


Check out their website to learn more about them.