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Copeland Woodruff

Copeland Woodruff, Co-Director of Opera Studies, also serves as opera stage director and producer for the University of Memphis Opera.  Over the course of his career, Woodruff has directed more than 85 productions of operas, plays, musicals and scenes programs. He has been on the directing staffs of the New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Atlantic Coast Opera Festival (NJ), and Opera North (Philadelphia and New Hampshire). Mr. Woodruff has been on the faculties of the Oberlin Conservatory, Academy of Vocal Arts, Yale Opera, Universität Bamberg, the Harrower Opera Workshop and Temple University. He has also been a visiting faculty member of The Juilliard School, teaching the acting curriculum and serving as private coach to master’s students in the Vocal Arts Division.  He directed Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land for Juilliard’s Focus Festival 2010 to critical acclaim.

He began his career as a vocalist and instrumentalist and, upon his return from teaching and singing in Germany and Switzerland, he concentrated his talents on becoming a stage director.  Mr. Woodruff has worked with such directors as Francesca Zambello, Anne Bogart, Graham Vick, Ken Cazan, Mark Lamos, Lou Galterio, and  Jay Lesenger.  He is sought after as a teacher of the singing actor, and has been the resident director and acting coach for the Harrower Summer Opera Workshop at Georgia State University for the past thirteen years. 

Mr. Woodruff's productions of Les contes d'Hoffmann (Temple University), Hansel and Gretel (U of Memphis) and Dreimaldrei gleich unendlich (Juventas Opera Project) won First Place for Best Opera Production in the National Opera Association (NOA) competition in 2006, 2008, and 2009 respectively.  Dreimaldrei gleich unendlich was an American premiere and was partially funded by a Faculty Research Grant, graciously awarded by the CCFA at the U of Memphis.

Mr. Woodruff is on the board of directors for the National Opera Association and serves as governor of the Mid-South Region.  He is also on the advisory board of the nationally-acclaimed Guerilla Opera (Boston),  who are changing the face of opera.  For Guerilla Opera, he will direct the premiere of Rudolf Rojahn’s new opera Bovinus Rex in May.  Their first collaboration, Heart of a Dog, was a favorite at the Opera America convention in May 2011 and played at the U of Memphis and its sold-out, two-week run in Boston garnered such reviews as: “…a brilliant stroke of staging” and “…stunning” (Boston Musical Intelligencer); “brilliantly physicalized in this extraordinarily well-acted production” and “a prime and rare example of opera properly compounded with theater” (Boston Lowbrow).

Mr. Woodruff holds a Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Science in Opera Stage Direction from Indiana University. He is a proud member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and Actors' Equity Association (AEA).