Arizona Opera Creates Learning Opportunities for Children & Adults in Tucson Area

OperaTunity Troupe and Opera Singers from Tucson
To Teach Local School Children About Opera
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Phoenix, AZ–As part of a new initiative to bring professional opera experiences to every school in the state every five years, Arizona Opera is excited to announce our new Tucson Area Specific programming. The following educational programs for children and adults are available in the Tucson area. For more information about these programs, contact Lori Fisher at

Who wants to be an Opera Star? This 45-minute in school assembly was developed with the K-6 grader in mind. This high-energy program withArizona Opera’s OperaTunity Troupe introduces students to the art form of opera by professional opera singers. Through a game show format, the MC and Contestants, try their luck answering questions and demonstrating answers to see “Who can be the Opera Star?” Arizona Opera’s OperaTunity Troupe will be offering these assemblies to schools September 10th through December 5th, 2012.

For secondary school students, Arizona Opera has a special student only (Chaperones are indeed welcome) community night performance of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette on November 7th at 7 p.m. Come and participate in Shakespeare’s love-story, squabbling families, and beautiful music. Through benevolent sponsorship, all tickets for students for this event are free. Registration is required. Chaperone and Teacher tickets are $10. Appropriate for grades 6-12.

For adults: Arizona Opera is pleased to bring the lecture series, Opera dell’arte, (the craft of opera)to the Tucson Jewish Community Center.
The schedule is as follows:
October 17th – Lucia di Lammermoor
November 7th – Roméo et Juliette & Tosca
March 6th – Il Trovatore & The Marriage of Figaro
Musicologist and University of Arizona Adjunct Faculty Member, Aaron Isquith will be presenting a unique perspective on the upcoming operas (as listed above) and music will be provided by a variety of singers with Arizona Opera.
Held from 9 to 10 a.m., these presentations are free to the public.

More about Arizona Opera’s OperaTunity Troupe

Dori M. Smith, dramatic coloratura soprano, is a doctoral candidate at University of Arizona under the tutelage of Kristin Dauphinais. On the operatic stage, Smith has performed with Arizona Opera Theater as Zdenka in scenes from Strauss’s Arabella, Glauce in Cherubini’s Medea, and most recently, as Njade in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. She has appeared with Longy Opera singing the roles of Georgette and A Singer in La Rondineand Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief. Her spring 2010 performances included Sue Bartlett in Nancy Van de Vate’s Where the Cross is Made and Papagena in The Magic Flute with MetroWest Opera. Beginning this fall, Smith will present a series of lecture recitals with Tucson Desert Festival of Song and will return to Colby College in October to present a recital with pianist Dr. Gjergji Gaqi. She will perform her first Fauré Reqiuem in the spring of 2013 in New York City, New York.

Jovahnna Anderson, mezzo-soprano, is a native of Elko, Nevada. She attended the University of Arizona where she recently obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance, graduating magna cum laude. Anderson placed third in the 2011 Quest for the Best Competition, won the 2012 Amelia Rieman Opera Competition in the Undergraduate Division, and is a Medici Scholarship Winner. Anderson performed the role of “The Secretary” in the University of Arizona Opera Theater’s 2011 production of Menotti’s The Consul as well as the “Nursing Sister” in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. She has studied and performed at the Taos Opera Institute in Taos, New Mexico and the ‘Saarburger Serenaden’ International Music Festival and School in Saarburg, Germany. Anderson has been selected twice to perform The National Anthem for University of Arizona basketball games and frequently performs at local sporting events in her hometown of Elko, Nevada.

Tenor, Mitchell Sturges, a Salt Lake City native currently makes Tucson, Arizona home and holds professional positions with Arizona Opera, Tucson Chamber Artists & First United Methodist Church. Past performances include collaborations with University of Utah Lyric Opera, La Musica Lirica in Italy, University of Arizona Opera Theatre, Paradigm Chamber Orchestra, and Salt Lake Symphony, including Gianni Schicchi, Il barbiere di Siviglia, The Consul and Amahl and The Night Visitors. A consummate concert artist, he has been featured throughout the Southwest performing the works of Bach, Britten, Dvořák, Händel, Saint-Saëns and others. Sturges has been presented in recital at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, England, St. Philip’s-in-the-Hills Episcopal Church in Tucson, Los Angeles City College, and Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. In March 2013, he will be giving the premiere of a set of songs by New York composer, Clint Borzoni.

A resident of Las Cruces, NM, baritone Ian Sidden was most recently Interim Head of the Doña Ana Lyric Opera and music instructor at New Mexico State University. In Spring 2012, Sidden directed Die Fledermausand An Evening of Opera Scenes. Past performances include Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro and Nemorino in L’Elisird’amore, both at the Doña Ana Lyric Opera, and Otello at Center Stage Opera in Harrisburg, PA. He has also performed as a chorus member with Arizona Opera. Sidden holds a Master of Music degree from New Mexico State University where he was cast in the premieres of Extinction: A Love Story and We Are Enron. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona where he appeared in the operas Little Women, The Telephone, Falstaff, Beauty and the Beast and The Student Prince. In addition, musical theater credits include roles from West Side Story, Chicago, Damn Yankees, My Fair Lady, Phantom, Anything Goes, Oklahoma!, Little Shop of Horrors, Once Upon a Mattress, and Grease.

Rouzbeh Tebyanian was born in Iran and started playing the piano at the age of five. Unable to continue his musical and academic studies in Iran, he came to the United States with his family as a refugee in 2001. He attended high school in Tucson, Arizona where he graduated as a junior, and went to the University of Arizona as a scholarship student. He was a featured performer in the Steinway Peace Piano concert tour, was a prizewinner in the 2008 Tucson Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and in 2009 the winner of the highly competitive President’s Concerto Competition at the University of Arizona. Tebyanian studied with Dr. Paula Fan at the University of Arizona.

All Phoenix performances of Arizona Opera’s 2012-2013 Season are at Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix, AZ 85004. Tucson performances are at the Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701.

Arizona Opera is Arizona’s only professional opera company, which produces fully-staged opera performances, concerts, in-school touring productions, educational and outreach programs that reach over 70,000 school-children and adults annually. Founded in 1971, Arizona Opera is the only opera company in the United States to serve multiple cities.


Kate Crowley
Associate Director of Marketing and Public Relations | 602.218.7341