Student and Alumni News

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Welcome! If you are an alum of the program, we would love to hear from you.

Please email Dr. Paul Houghtaling ( with your news so we can brag about you along with the accomplishments of our current students. Be sure to include the year you graduated, as well.

Spring/Summer 2023

Evan Fleming, (MM, 2021) is working at Quisisana Resort in Maine, performing a variety of roles, and will spend the coming season as a resident artist with Toledo Opera.

Zoe Rose Pallas, (MM, 2022) and Rene Vazquez (MM, 2023) covered leading roles in Lucia di Lammermoor with Druid City Opera. Rene also appeared in the title role of Les Contes d’Hoffman with Ars Nova in Huntsville, Alabama.

Reese Hunter, (BM, 2025) will head to New York to participate in a musical theater intensive program at NYU Steinhardt.

Paul Work, (MM, 2017) was awarded a tenure-track voice position at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Christopher Withrow, (DMA 2019) was awarded a tenure-track voice position at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

Albert Andrade, (MM, 2024) will sing the role of Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Berlin Opera Academy.

Charles Daniel, (MM, 2024) will sing the role of Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Utah Vocal Arts Academy.

Spring/Summer 2022

Evan Fleming, (MM, 2021) created the role of the Father in “Ourland: A Dystopia State” with Aquilon Music Festival, and was awarded a fellowship from Opera Steamboat where he will sing Bobby in Company, both in the summer of 2022.

Laura Pritchard, (DMA 2022), presented a poster session on her document research, operatic settings of Emile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin, at the NOA National Conference in St. Augustine, Florida.  Students Zoe Rose Pallas (MM 2022) and Rene Vazquez (MM 2023) sang on master classes.  Dr. Pritchard was also hired by the UA Voice and Opera areas to serve as Instructor of Voice and Associate Director of Opera.  We are very proud of Laura!

Zoe Rose Pallas, and Keying Xu, (DMA 2023) were awarded leading roles in Handel’s Rinaldo at Red River Lyric Opera for the 2022 season.

Zoe Rose Pallas is a finalist in the Tier II division of the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition which will be in July 2022.

Lauren Carlton (BA, 2014) and Shayna Isaacs (MM, 2017) were both part of the production team of the new musical Here There Be Dragons at the Off-Broadway Players Theater in New York, running June and July 2022.

Spring/Summer 2021

Evan Fleming, (MM, 2020) was awarded a fellowship from Opera Steamboat where he will sing Papageno in The Magic Flute.

Laura Pritchard, (current DMA student), presented a poster session on the works of Carlisle Floyd for the NOA National Conference (virtual) in January of 2021 along with colleague and UA Graduate Jamie Balter (MM 2020).

Spring/Summer 2020

UA Opera Theatre students were excited about opportunities at the Brevard Music Festival (Elijah Brown), Red River Lyric Opera (Evan Fleming, Matt Tyree, Grace Hall Richardson, Abigayle Williams), Chicago Summer Opera (Jamie Balter) and others, but these experiences were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abigayle Williams, (BM, 2020) was accepted in to the MM program at the Cleveland Institute of Music for the fall of 2020.

Spring/Summer 2019

Marie Smithwick, (MM, 2019), will begin her DMA on an assistantship at Texas Tech University.

Evan Fleming (incoming MM, 2021), Marie Smithwick (MM, 2019), and Abigayle Williams (senior, BM, 2020) will all perform with Red River Lyric Opera in the summer of 2019.

Scott Willis, (current DMA student), won a teaching position as opera workshop director at Berry College in Georgia beginning August 2019.

Christopher Withrow, (current DMA student), will be adjunct instructor of voice at Mississippi State University beginning in the fall of 2019.

Matthew Tyree (incoming vocal performance transfer student), Evan Fleming (incoming MM student), and Jada Foster (senior, BM, 2020) were young artists with the 2019 Druid City Opera Workshop.  Jada Foster was also a young artist with Spotlight on Opera.  Matthew Tyree is also heading to Germany to study at IPAI, the International Performing Arts Institute.

Miranda Shapiro, (senior, BM, 2020), participated in the Russian Opera Workshop at AVA in Philadelphia and Baroque Collective at the Cincinatti College-Conservatory of Music.

Andrew Livingston, (BM, 2017), completed training programs with the Second City Improv Group in Chicago and now performs with the company. He was also a guest artist on the faculty of the Druid City Opera Workshop in 2019.

Jen Stephenson, (DMA, 2015), is a stage directing fellow with Chicago Summer Opera.

Ryan Landis, (DMA 2014), will be an assistant director with Red River Lyric Opera.  After that, he heads to Sheridan Wyoming for a new position as head of the performing arts series and music professor at Sheridan College.

Spring/Summer 2018

Dawn Neely, (DMA, 2013) was elected Vice President of Regions for the National Opera Association and Jen Stephenson(DMA 2016) was appointed Regional Governor for NOA’s West Central Region.

Garrett Torbert, Christopher Withrow (current DMA students) and current MM student Megan Taylor will perform with Red River Lyric Opera in Texas in the summer of 2018.

Tyler Koch, baritone (current senior) will participate in the BayView Music Festival in Michgan.

Abigayle Williams (rising junior) was seen in several roles with the Harrower Opera Workshop, in June of 2018.

Shayna Tayloe (MM, 2017) won rave reviews as Marian in Lubbock Moonlight Musicals’ production of The Music Man in June, 2018.

Spring/Summer 2017

Cheyna Alexander, mezzo-soprano (MM, 2016) will perform with College Light Opera in the summer of 2016. Cheyna won third place in the MTNA Young Artist National Finals in Baltimore in March of 2017.

Preston Andrews, bass (MM, 2016) returned to the Natchez Festival of Music.

Lydia Beasley, (current DMA candidate) will perform the title role in Naughty Marietta with Birmingham Music Club.

Zyda Culpepper-Baldwin, soprano (BM, 2016) will begin her MM at the University of Maryland as a member of the Maryland Opera Studio.

Tyler Koch, baritone (current Junior) will participate in the Miami Music Festival.

Ariel McKinney, mezzo-soprano (current MM student) will perform with BayView Music Festival and Red River Lyric Opera.

Alexandrea Nessi, soprano (current sophomore) will study and perform with Spotlight on Opera in Texas.

Isabella Powell, soprano (current sophomore) will study at the University of Miami’s Salzburg Opera Workshop.

Shayna Tayloe, soprano (MM, 2016) will perform with Red River Lyric Opera and begin her DMA at Texas Tech University.

Garrett Torbert, tenor (current DMA student) will perform with Red River Lyric Opera.

Abigayle Williams, soprano (current freshman) will sing a featured role in Into the Woods with Huntsville Community Chorus.

Chrisopher Withrow, baritone (current DMA student) will perform the title role in Don Giovanni with Blooming Voce Opera Workshop in Indiana.

Paul Wolf, tenor (MM, 2016) will perform with Birmingham Music Club Opera and will be a young artist with the Seagle Music Colony in upstate New York.

Spring/Summer 2016

Jennifer Bryant, soprano (DMA, 2012) earned a tenure-track position in voice and opera at Mars Hill University in North Carolina.

Andrew Nalley, baritone (BM, 2016) has won a contract with the Natchez Festival of Music and will be an apprentice artist with Ashlawn opera in the summer of 2016. He will begin graduate school in the fall at the University of Houston.

Zyda Culpepper-Baldwin, soprano (BM 2017), Shayna Tayloe, soprano (MM 2017), and Chenya Alexander, mezzo-soprano (MM 2017), won opportunities to attend Greensboro Light Opera & Song in North Carolina in a variety of leading and supporting roles.

Ibukun Babalola, soprano (BM 2016) was a young artist with the Natchez Festival of Music for summer 2016.

Preston Andrews, bass (MM, 2017) has won contracts with the Natchez Festival of Music and Utah Fesitval Opera for summer 2016.

Nicholas Szoeke, tenor (MM, 2016) will be an apprentice artist with Opera Saratoga for summer 2016.

Paul Wolf, tenor (MM, 2017) will appear as Alfred in Die Fledermaus with the Birmingham Music Club Guild Opera in June of 2016 and then will be an apprentice artist with Ashlawn Opera. Paul was the second place winner at the national finals of the MTNA voice competition in San Antonio and was a semi-finalist in the Opera Birmingham competition.

Nicholas Aguirre, baritone (MM, 2016) has won a contract with Utah Festival Opera for summer 2016.

Spring/Summer 2015

Nicholas Szoeke, tenor (MM, 2016) will be an Apprentice Artist with Ashlawn Opera in the summer of 2015.

Bryant Bush, bass-baritone (BM, 2014) will attend the Cleveland Institute of Music starting in August of 2015.

Jarius Cliett, baritione (BM, 2015) was awarded an assistantship to attend the Georgia State University in Atlanta starting in the fall of 2015. He and soprano Ibukun Babalola (BM, 2016) are performing with the Harrower Opera Workshop in Atlanta in the summer of 2015.

Baritones Andrew Nalley (BM, current senior) and Nicholas Aguirre (first year MM) will share the role of Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola at Opera in the Ozarks, Summer 2015.  Andrew Nalley was also the winner of the Alabama Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Voice Competition held in Tuscaloosa on February 28.

Andrew Livingston, baritone (BM, current sophomore) was the winner of the AMTA Collegiate Voice Competition held in Tuscaloosa on April 4.

Nicole Pietrangelo, mezzo-soprano (BM, 2014) will return to Tuscaloosa as a member of the dance faculty of the 2015 Druid City Opera Workshop.

Fall/Winter 2014-2015

Perry Davis Harper, tenor (MM, 2012) returned to Opera Birmingham as Laertes in Hamlet and to the Cider Mill Playhouse in upstate New York for the Wolf / Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods. He also sang Jean Valjean in Les Miserables with Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts in Colorado and will begin a 10 month residency in Branson, Missouri in Sight and Sound Theater’s production of Jonah in February of 2015.

Kathleen Buccleugh, soprano (MM, 2011) covered Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Peach State Opera in Atlanta.

Andrew Livingston, baritone (BM, current sophomore) won a position with IPAI (International Performing Arts Institute) in Germany in their musical theater institute.

Andrew Nalley, baritone (BM, current senior) was the Alabama state winner of the MTNA Young Artist Voice Competition and will represent the state at the Southern Division competition in Knoxville, TN in January.

Spring/Summer 2014

Ryan Landis (DMA 2014) was awarded an adjunct teaching position at Mississippi State University.

Perry Davis Harper, tenor (MM, 2012) sang Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, NY and Galahd in Spamalot with Cider Mill Playhouse in upstate New York.

Ibukun Babalolo, soprano, and Jarius Cliett, baritone (BM, current juniors) are Young Artists at the Harrower Opera Workshop, Atlanta, summer 2014.

Lauren Carlton, mezzo-soprano (BA, 2014) will sing Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus and The Duchess in The Gondoliers with Greensboro Light Opera & Song, summer 2014.

Andrew Livingston, baritone (BM, current sophomore) was a featured soloist on the AMTA state winners recital, AMTA State Conference in Tuscaloosa.

Andrew Nalley, baritone (BM, current senior) is singing Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods at Opera in the Ozarks in Arkansas

Nicole Pietrangelo, mezzo-soprano (BM, 2014) was the choreographer and movement instructor for Druid City Opera Workshop in May. She leaves for NY for Cap 21 program at the end of the summer.

Jen Stephenson, soprano (current DMA student, class of 2015) was offered positions as stage directing intern with Harrower Opera Workshop and the role of Frasquita in Carmen with Utah Lyric Opera. She also was a presenter and adjudicator at the Classical Singer National Convention and Expo in San Antonio, Texas with Amy Prickett.

Fall/Winter, 2013-2014

Dawn Neely (DMA 2012), Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of West Georgia, was appointed Southeastern Regional Governor by the National Opera Association.

Jonathan Hamner (BM, 2002; MM, 2005) is currently pursuing a Master of Music  Education degree at the University of Georgia. He was recently named the assistant music director of the DeKalb Choral Guild in Avondale Estates, GA and performs with the award-winning Atlanta Master Chorale (formerly the Atlanta Sacred Chorale). Last spring, Mr. Hamner performed the Lenten solos of Handel’s Messiah with AMC, and is happy to announce that he can be featured as a soloist on two nationally released CDs (“Visions” and “This is My Song”). He is honored to be an alumnus of the University of Alabama Opera Theatre.

Alana Sealy, mezzo-soprano (current MM student, class of 2014) was awarded a contract with Natchez Festival of Music.  She will sing Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore in May of 2014.

Christopher Jordan, baritone (current DMA student, class of 2015) was awarded a contract with Natchez Festival of Music to cover the role of the Captain in H.M.S. Pinafore in May 2014.

Perry Davis Harper, tenor (MM, 2012) made a triumphant debut with Tri-Cities Opera as Don Jose in Carmen. He will return to Opera Birmimgham in January to cover the Duke in Rigoletto.

Jennifer Bryant, soprano (DMA, 2012) will also return to Opera Birmingham in the spring to cover Gilda in Rigoletto and sing Suor Genevieffe in Suor Angelica.

Dewey Camp (1956) reached out to say hello. He is retired as professor of opera at San Francisco State where he taught for 35 years.  He is also a former chorus master for San Francisco Opera and he plans to visit campus next year.  We look forwrd to welcoming him.

Heather Engebretson, soprano (special student in opera, 2005-2006) is a leading soprano at Staatsoper Hanover in Germany.

Spring/Summer, 2013

Nicole Pietrangelo, mezzo-soprano (BM, current Junior) will study and perform both opera and musical theater at Music Theater Bavaria in Oberaudorf, Germany, summer 2013.

Lauren Carlton, mezzo-soprano (BA, current Junior) will perform the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas and Zita in Gianni Schicchi will the Astoria Music Festival in Oregon, summer 2013. She was also accepted at three additional summer programs.

Jonathan Michael Smith, tenor and stage manager (BM, 2006; MM, 2009) has been busy since graduation.  He most recently appeared as Goro in Peach State Opera’s Madama Butterfly in Atlanta, and was the tour manager for the Atlanta Opera Studio’s tour of Stone Soup.  Other engagements since he left UA include the Witch in Hansel and Gretel andGuillot in Manon with Opera in the Ozarks; Assistant Stage Manager for Manon and Albert Herring (2009); Production Stage Manager  for Tosca, Carmen, Don Giovanni for Opera in the Ozarks (2010); and Production Stage Manager for Il Trittico for Atlanta’s Capitol City Opera.

Perry Davis Harper, tenor (MM, 2012) will have a busy few years!
Tri-Cities Opera – 2012-2013 Artist-in-Residence program – Don Jose in Carmen and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus
Natchez Opera Festival, cover of the Duke in Rigoletto and Bill Calhoun in Kiss Me Kate, April-May 2013
Opera Birmingham, cover of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, cover of Tamino in The Magic Flute, Second Armored Man in The Magic Flute, January and March, 2013.

Natassia Perrine, mezzo-soprano (MA in Music Ed., 2012; BM Vocal Performance, 2009) is in her first year as Director of Choral Activities at Central High School in Tuscaloosa.

Jennifer Bryant, soprano (DMA, 2012) was Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and the Second Lady in The Magic Flute with Opera Birmingham, January and March 2013, She is also an Adjunct Instructor of Voice at Birmingham-Southern College.

Jeanette Fontaine, mezzo-soprano (DMA, 2012) is Adjunct Lecturer of Voice at Mississippi State University.

Dawn Wells Neely, soprano (DMA, 2012) won the tenure-track Voice and Opera position at University of West Georgia.

Kathleen Buccleugh, soprano (MM, 2011) will cover Lily in Kiss Me Kate with Natchez Opera, April-May 2013.

Lawson Daves, bass-baritone (BM, 2013) was accepted at the Longy School of Music in Boston.

Katie Aldrup, soprano (BM, 2013) was accepted at Shenandoah Conservatory and East Carolina University.

Mabs Nolen, mezzo-soprano (MM, 2011) was a District Winner in the Met National Council Auditions in Memphis, TN, January 2013.

Haley Malin, mezzo-soprano (BM, current sophomore) was awarded a position in Opera in the Ozarks Young Artist Program for summer, 2013.

Andrew Nalley, baritone (BM, current sophomore) will attend the CoOPERAtive in New Jersey this summer. He will also perform several featured roles in Street Scene with the Harrower Opera Workshop in Atlanta.