Texas Tech Opera Theatre has been a performing ensemble of the TTU School of Music since the 1970s. Many of its participants have gone on to major careers in opera and the American musical theatre stage. The list of famed vocal artists grows each year, and now includes mezzo soprano Susan Graham, Bruce Ford, Terry Cook, Garrett Sorenson, Greg Warren, and Rebecca Nelsen. Each of these performing artists boast of international careers that began with TTU Music Theatre.
The stage works offered by Opera Theatre include musicals, operettas, grand opera,
and musical drama, following the German definition of Musik Theater. According to
this philosophy, any theatrical work that also offers singing is a genre of Music
Theatre. In keeping with the definition, it is not unusual for TTU Music Theatre to
offer a contemporary musical on the same season with a world premiere music drama
and a grand opera. Recent past productions have included Puccini's La Bohème, Leonard Bernstein's Candide, Mozart's Così fan tutte, and Sondheim's A Little Night Music. The settings for these works have included the usual proscenium theatre, as well
as dinner theatre presentations and cabaret performances.
In addition to mainstage performance opportunities, Texas Tech vocalists participate in a great number of Opera Theatre activities designed to enhance their performance skills and give them practical stage experiences that they can take to the professional level. Students with intermediate-level performance skills participate in operatic/musical theatre scenes studies that culminate each semester in a staged performance at the School of Music. For this reason the Texas Tech School of Music is considered a school of choice for both undergraduate and graduate vocal students.
TTU Opera Theatre has performed on tour to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, Midland-Odessa, Artesia, New Mexico and the South Plains. TTU Opera Theatre made its international debut in 2012 with Mozart's Opera Cosi fan tutte at the National Theatre of Honduras in Tegucigalpa. It was the first performance of a Mozart opera in that country.
In the summer months, TTU vocalists are encouraged to participate in any number of
opera/musical theatre apprenticeship programs, and many have with remarkable success.
Texas Tech Opera Theatre enjoys a fruitful relationship with the professional Cedar
Rapids Opera Company in Iowa. Opera Theatre Director Gerald Dolter founded a Young
Artist Development Program with this company in 2002. More than 50 TTU vocal students
have received valuable professional training with this company since that time, and
several have made their professional operatic debuts as a result.