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Arizona Opera NextGen

Arizona Opera NextGen is an initiative that encompasses the wide variety of programs that go beyond the opera stage to develop the next generation of opera artists, audiences, and philanthropists. These programs include:

  • A robust schedule of K-12 education programs, including our in-school Arlyn M. Brewster OperaTunity tour that reaches more than 50,000 children per year throughout the state, and our Student Preview performances in the theater;
  • Our elite training programs for young singers and theater technicians through the Marion Roose Pullin Studio and the Production Apprentice programs, which give these singers and technicians the professional experience they need to launch their careers;
  • A wide variety of community engagement and adult education opportunities that allow us to serve our community in the most fulsome way possible, whether you are brand new to opera, or a lifelong fan.



The Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio

The Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio

Arizona Opera Apprentice Program

Arizona Opera Apprentice Program

Education Programs Images

K-12 Education Programs

Community Engagement Image

Community Engagement



We asked our apprentices and opera-goers about their experiences with each of the NextGen programs. Here's what they had to say:


Arizona Opera Production Apprentice Program

“The Arizona Opera Production Apprentice program was the perfect bridge I needed to help me go from college to the real world. I was able to get first hand, real life experience at a good-sized company. I had the opportunity to learn painting dying with one of the only professional painter-dyers in the valley and I had no idea how much I would love it. I felt like I came alive that day, and I knew that this was what I wanted to do. Today I am a full-time employee in Arizona Opera’s costume shop and I have opportunity to work on my craft, and share what I’ve learned as a guest lecturer at other art programs. I work on some of the smallest details of costumes, but when everything finally gets on stage, and thousands of people see my work in action, I’m reminded that what I do is so important. I’m helping tell the story and that drives me every day.”

- Shelby Joiner, Alumni of the Arizona Opera Production Apprentice Program 2015/16 – 2017/18


"I became a founding donor of Arizona Opera’s Production Apprentice Program because I saw a need for a career development opportunity for students who are interested in the technical aspects of theater arts. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed seeing the different apprentices learn advanced skills and transition into a professional career."

- Paul S. Symchych, M.D., Arizona Opera Supporter


“Our support of the Arizona Opera Costume Shop reflects a very special relationship that has been cultivated for over a decade. It all started when Marlu and I asked if we could tour the costume shop, and we met the team of people who work so hard behind the scenes to create the operas we see on stage. Our connection with and appreciation for the costume shop team continued to grow over the years with opportunities to support like our sponsorship of the costumes for Barber of Seville in 2010. Once Arizona Opera moved into their new building downtown, we were thrilled to be asked to support the naming of the costume shop, and provide the costume shop with the equipment and tools they needed to produce costumes on the scale our operas require. To watch the costume shop team over the years grow in production, skill, continuity and pride has been incredibly rewarding!”

- Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard, Arizona Opera Supporters


“When I toured backstage at Symphony Hall for the first time I learned about the variety of things that take place backstage in order for the opera to happen on stage. I was blown away. This was the first time I was introduced to the Production Apprentice Program and the different apprentices. I thought it was wonderful to have so many young people backstage learning how to produce opera! I decided to support the Apprentice Program because I know it helps provide the resources the apprentices need to in order to explore the different skill sets required of them in a professional career. Over each season, I feel like I get to watch the apprentices discover their strengths, and actually take those next steps into a career.”

- Nancy Foster, Arizona Opera Supporter


Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio Program

“When I joined the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio Artist Program, every role I was cast in was a role debut. There is nothing better than having the experience of performing major roles to help propel your career. You learn so much in the process of preparing a role - from one on one coachings in the studio, to singing with a conductor, the rest of the cast and then eventually with an orchestra. Then in the staging process you learn how to think on your feet, be flexible to different ideas and interpretations, and how to be a good colleague and collaborator. Finally, you find yourself standing on a massive stage in front of a live audience and delivering everything you’ve assimilated in your preparation process. You just can’t simulate all of those components, you can only live them! Since my time at Arizona Opera, I have been fortunate to continue my singing career around the world with company debuts at Wiener Staatsoper, Minnesota Opera, New Orleans Opera, Opera San Jose, the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy (Japan), On Site Opera, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Florida Orchestra, and even traveled to Egypt as a US Arts Envoy and guest of the US Embassy in Cairo.”

- Katrina Galka, Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio Alumni 2016/17 & 2017/18


“We have been enjoying and supporting opera around the world for nearly 50 years. When we started to spend more time in Arizona, we thought it would be appropriate to get involved in the local opera company. We became season ticket holders and have been quite impressed with the quality of the productions at Arizona Opera. We have always been interested in how young singers develop their careers, and we were excited to learn about the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio Program. It seems to us that the program, led by strong leaders like Chris Cano, is able to serve two purposes for the company: train and develop future opera artists and bring top talent from around the country to perform on the Arizona Opera stage. Arizona Opera offered us the opportunity to sponsor one of these emerging artists, and we have really enjoyed our experience. Becoming studio sponsors has given us a strong relationship with the studio singers and a first-hand personal connection with Arizona Opera as an organization.

Katie Beck has been a wonderful singer to follow during her time in the Marion Roose Pullin Studio. We have really enjoyed getting to know Katie. What has been the most gratifying is literally being able to witness firsthand her growth during her time in the program. When Katie returned for her second year in the studio program, the difference was incredible. Katie is also being rewarded for her efforts in competitions around the country, all because of her diligent work and excellent coaching during her time in the studio program. Being able to play a formative role in the development of Katie’s career has been an exciting opportunity for us. We are looking forward to supporting another future opera star next season.”

- Drs. Tom and Ginger Collier, Marion Roose Pullin Studio Sponsors of Mezzo Soprano, Michaela Wolz


“The Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera program has graduated dozens of young singers who are already off to major careers as professional opera singers. It is exciting to watch their development during their time in the program, and to cheer them on as they continue their careers singing for us and other opera companies around the world. Bravi tutti to our Marion Roose Pullin Studio Singers!”

- The Hon. Jean S. Cooper – Arizona Opera Board Member, and NextGen Supporter


Arizona Opera Education Outreach Program

Before Arizona Opera brought the Arlyn M. Brewster OperaTunity Program to our school, I asked my students to share one word that came to mind when they heard the word “opera.” I heard responses like, “annoying, olden days, unpopular, old people, and shouting.” After the OperaTunity performance, these same scholars were asked again to share one word that described the "opera," and they used words such as “epic, adventurous, energetic, stunning, impressive, magical, funny, fascinating, majestic, and unique.” As opera can sometimes be reduced to a caricature that carries a negative stereotype, I absolutely love the tangible evidence that I see of the attitudinal transformation of my scholars when they get closer to the art form itself. I am thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with this stellar opera company in changing the narrative, in cultivating an appreciation, respect, and love for this amazing art form in our young people, and in creating an eager audience for future opera productions. This is music education at its finest.”

- Cathy Letkeman, K-4 Music Educator at Leman Academy of Excellence


I was incredibly lucky to have access to classical music at a young age, and I know that it shaped my life for the better. The Arlyn M. Brewster OperaTunity Program introduces students to the world of opera in a setting that is accessible for them. By breaking down some of the stereotypes of opera, we encourage students to pursue their interests in music. We also show them that it is possible to have a life and career in the arts, and that there’s so much more to putting on an opera than just singing and acting. When students see us perform in person with costumes and a real set, it is unlike any experience they could have watching a production on TV. You can see how in awe they are that a person is able to create that kind of sound using only their body, and it’s incredibly empowering for them AND us! Being an OperaTunity artist has helped my performance career in ways I couldn’t have predicted. I am connected to theater directors and music educators across the valley. I was also interviewed by the local PBS station about bringing opera to students, and I even gave a TEDx talk about how opera has impacted my life.”

- Miriam Schildkret, Arizona Opera Teaching Artist 2017/18 to present