Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music College of Communication and Fine Arts Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music
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Copeland Woodruff (M.M., M.S.), Opera

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 100 productions of operas, plays and musicals. 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, Universit├Ąt 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 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 fifteen years. 

Mr. Woodruff's productions of Les contes d'Hoffmann (Temple University), Hansel and Gretel (University of Memphis), Dreimaldrei gleich unendlich (Juventas Opera Project) and Idomeneo (Uuniversity of Memphis) won First Place for Best Opera Production in the National Opera Association (NOA) competition in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011, respectively.  Dreimaldrei gleich unendlich was an American premiere and was partially funded by a Faculty Research Grant, graciously awarded by the CCFA at the University 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), which is changing the face of opera.  Their first collaboration, Heart of a Dog, was a favorite at the Opera America convention in May 2011 and played at the University of Memphis. 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).

In the summer of 2012, Mr. Woodruff began a relationship with the Musical Theatre and Ethnomusicology Research Department of Beijing University, China. Teaching a musical theatre workshop with the department led to receiving an invitation to direct the premiere of the post-modern musical Red Lantern for the Experimental Musical Theatre Lab in Beijing.

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).

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Last Updated: 4/8/13