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, 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
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).