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Vocal Fellowship Program

Welcome to Utah Valley OperaFest (formerly UVAA Summer Opera Festival), a unique vocal program dedicated to discovering operatic talent, transforming  voices, and bringing the wonder of opera to Utah Valley communities.

​Program Background

Since  its inception 2011, UVAA Summer Opera Festival has been a guiding light for numerous aspiring singers on their journeys towards thriving operatic careers, while bringing beautiful performances to the Provo/Orem area. Operating as a tuition-based extension of Utah Vocal Arts Academy, we saw several of our singers go on to illustrious careers. However, each year we also discovered many talented artists that were unable to access to our program due to financial constraints. Additionally, we observed the lack of access to operatic performances for the majority of Utah Valley residents. In a significant stride forward, the festival has transitioned into a registered nonprofit organization (501c3). Thanks to many wonderful donors and grants, we will now be able to make this prestigious training accessible based on talent alone, and bring the glorious art form of opera into several more communities

beyond the Provo/Orem area. Our name change is a better reflection of these new initiatives. 


As such, we are thrilled to announce that beginning in 2024, our program will become a tuition-free transformative experience designed to nurture and elevate their talents through deep role-study, ample time with orchestra, and extensive vocal training. 


New format for 2024

This year, Deborah Voigt steps into her new role as Artistic Director of the festival. Under Ms. Voigt's direction, our newly crafted curriculum places a stronger emphasis on immersive performance opportunities, with each participant gracing the stage in multiple opera performances (with orchestra) in a variety of venues across Utah Valley. The program is designed to be the ultimate role-study experience, ensuring that our singers are not just mastering their craft but also repeatedly experiencing the full spectrum of operatic expression. In addition to this intensive performance schedule, master classes, voice lessons, and vocal coachings overseen by Deborah Voigt will provide individualized attention, fostering important artistic development.

Program content

​Our commitment to excellence extends to the selection process, where only 18 exceptional singers from around the world are chosen. These talented individuals are granted full-tuition fellowships, alleviating some of the financial burden of pursuing their dreams. The crown-jewel of the 2024 program will be the chance for each participant to take center stage in Charles Gounod's timeless masterpiece, Roméo et Juliette, prepared and conducted by the renowned Nicolas Giusti and brought to life under the masterful stage-direction of Marc Verzatt.  Participants will also perform scenes selected and staged in a concert gala with orchestra, and in the popular community event, Death By Aria.


The following fellowship assignments are available, alternating performance nights and role assignments as follows:

  • Juliette/chorus (3  sopranos)

  • Roméo/chorus (3 tenors)

  • Mercutio/Gregorio/Paris/chorus (3 baritones)

  • Stephano/Gertrude/chorus (3 mezzo-sopranos)

  • Frère Laurent/Capulet/The Duke/chorus (3 basses)

  • Tybált/Benvolio/chorus (3 tenors)

The production

A nimble, elegantly designed, portable production with simple costuming (participants may be asked to provide some costume elements) and live orchestra.

(We are estimating between 9 and 12 performances in diverse venues).

Principal conductor: Nicolas Giusti

Assistant conductor: TBD

Stage director: Marc Verzatt

Set design and concept: Janice Chan

Costume designer: Carla Summers

Program Schedule (subject to change)

July 1-31, 2024

Week 1: Extensive music rehearsals with conductor and piano, company July 4th outing, staging and orchestra rehearsals begin. 

Week 2: Staging and orchestra rehearsals continue, Death By Aria Event.

Weeks 3-4: Nightly performances, daily master classes, lessons and coachings, final gala concert performance

with full orchestra. ​

Housing, food and transportation

Fellowship recipients are responsible for their own accommodations, food and transportation to and from the festival. We will provide information on affordable options. If flying, please arrange to fly into Salt Lake City International Airport, or Provo Municipal when possible. ​



A fully-refundable deposit in the amount of $1,000 is required to accept a fellowship. Should an artist be unable to participate in the festival for any reason, or arrive without sufficient preparation, the deposit will not be refunded.


Off-book policy

All artists are required to arrive on the first day 100% memorized in all their role assignments.  If an artist is deemed insufficiently prepared, the fellowship may be voided and their deposit will not be refunded, or the artist may be moved to cover/chorus-only status.  


Role decisions and off-night chorus policy

All decisions regarding who will perform in each role for performances will be determined by the artistic staff. We reserve the right to make changes if necessary. All participants are required to perform in the chorus on nights when not singing a principal role.  


Conduct policy

Utah Valley Operafest is committed to cultivating a safe and positive environment for learning, networking and artistic fellowship. All faculty, staff and artists will be held to a high standard of collegiality and respectfulness. Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.  Any behavior that disrupts the experience of others is grounds for dismissal from the program. 

Questions? Please contact Bryan Weatherston:



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