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Visiting opera director to discuss value of young artists programs

RELEASED: Oct. 14, 2011

Darren Woods
Darren Woods

EAU CLAIRE — Darren K. Woods, general director of the Fort Worth Opera in Texas, will spend time with University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students and faculty during an Oct. 19 visit to campus.

Woods will give a lecture and answer questions during a session from 10:30 a.m.-noon in Phillips Recital Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center. The discussion will focus on the importance of young artists programs. The event is free and open to the public.

A lunch with Woods will take place from noon-1:30 p.m. in The Dulany of Davies Center. People joining him for lunch will pay for their own meals. Those who are interested should contact Dr. Mitra Sadeghpour, associate professor of music and coordinator of the voice division, at 715-836-3711 or msadeghp@uwec.edu.

Woods will lead a workshop on acting coaching with opera from 2-4 p.m. in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center. The free session is open to the public.

Students can audition with Woods from 4-7 p.m. Interested students must contact Sadeghpour in advance of the session.

Faculty, students and members of the public are invited to join Woods for dinner at 7:30 p.m. at The Livery in downtown Eau Claire. Guests will pay for their own meals.

Woods became general director of the Fort Worth Opera in July 2001. Under his leadership, the opera has increased subscription and donor bases while establishing a reputation for high quality, dynamic productions. In May 2007 the Fort Worth Opera changed its format to a spring festival season and mounted its first main stage commissioned work. Within only four years, Fort Worth Opera also produced Jorge Martin's "Before Night Falls" as its second world premiere, and Opera News hailed the Fort Worth Opera Festival as one of the best in the country.

Demonstrating Woods' dedication to young artists, the Fort Worth Opera Studio was launched in 2002. It now includes four main young artists beginning their professional careers and four apprentice artists in the midst of their college training.

In 2011 Woods was appointed vice chairman for the board of Opera America, the national service organization for the art form.

Woods was appointed general director of the Seagle Music Colony in the summer of 1996 and continues as artistic director today. In recent years four UW-Eau Claire students have been selected to sing in Woods' Seagle Music Colony.

Woods is in great demand as an adjudicator of vocal competitions. In recent seasons he served as a panel judge for the Richard Tucker Foundation, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Lieber Competition, the Denver Opera Guild Competition, the Dallas Opera Guild Competition and the Marguerite McCammon Competition.

Prior to his appointment in Fort Worth, he was the general director of the Shreveport Opera in Louisiana. While in Shreveport, Woods founded Shreveport Opera Express, a touring arts-in-education program that involved schoolchildren working with professional artists in the schools.

Before becoming an opera administrator, Woods performed as a professional operatic tenor for 20 years with such organizations as the New York City Opera, Washington Opera, L'Opera Madrid, Opera Trieste and Seattle Opera.

Woods' visit to UW-Eau Claire is sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire music and theatre arts department, the Opera Workshop Ensemble, NATS student chapter and the Newman Parish.

For more information about Woods' visit, contact Dr. Mitra Sadeghpour at 715-836-3711 or msadeghp@uwec.edu.

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JB/DW

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