School of Visual and Performing Arts

UT Opera Ensemble

Photo from UT production of Henry Purcell's opera, Dido and Aeneas

Welcome to the University of Toledo Opera Ensemble home page! Below are the productions we will present this season. If you would like join the UT Opera Ensemble, please contact our director, Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini to arrange an audition.

Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini
Director of UT Opera Ensemble
Assistant Professor of Voice

UT Opera Ensemble - 2017-2018 Season

Dido & Aeneas 

by Henry Purcell

November 3-5, 2017 (Recital Hall, UT Center for Performing Arts)

Performances: Fridays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays 3 p.m.
Tickets: $15-General Admission; $12-Faculty/Staff/Alumni/Seniors; $10-Students
Order Online at

This 17th century English opera recounts the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her despair when he abandons her. A monumental work in Baroque opera, DIDO AND AENEAS is remembered as one of Purcell's foremost theatrical works. It was also Purcell's only true opera, as well as his only all-sung dramatic work. One of the earliest known English operas, it owes much to John Blow's VENUS AND ADONIS, both in structure and in overall effect.

Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream

March 23-25, 2018 (Doermann Theater, University Hall)

Performances: Friday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m.
Tickets: $15-General Admission; $12-Faculty/Staff/Alumni/Seniors; $10-Students
Order Online at

The UT Opera Ensemble presents Benjamin Britten's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Britten's (English) libretto brings song to the colorful world of Shakespeare's famous play. Fairy-King Oberon orders Puck to gather a special love-potent herb and anoint the eyes of Demetrius, thus causing him to fall madly in love with the woman who loves him, Helena. But things go comically awry when the mischievous Puck gets it wrong and anoints a different pair of eyes.

Repertoire Note
In August 1959, Britten decided to compose a full-evening opera for the reopening of the refurbished Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh in June 1960. As this left no time for a libretto to be prepared anew, he chose to adapt with Peter Pears Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though as he admitted at the time, he had always admired the original play and was excited by the various levels of action between the different groups of characters. As with The Turn of the Screw, these groups are characterized by strongly differentiated colors: the bright, percussive sounds of harps, keyboards and percussion for the fairy world, warm strings and wind for the the pairs of lovers, and lower woodwind and brass for the mechanicals. The opera is completely faithful to the spirit of the original and must be counted as one of the most successful operatic adaptations of a Shakespeare play. It is possibly the most beguiling and enchanting of all Britten's operas, a work with a spellbinding atmosphere that inhabits a truly unique dreamlike world. (

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Last Updated: 3/9/18