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Metropolitan Opera and UConn Announce Academic Partnership (Released: January 3, 2002

By Allison Thompson, Office of University Communications

The Metropolitan Opera and the University of Connecticut announced a new academic partnership today (January 3, 2002) that will provide music and drama students with behind-the-scenes access to the world's most prestigious opera company. Under the terms of this pilot program, University of Connecticut's School of Fine Arts students will have the chance to experience in-depth involvement in the creative process that fuses musical, dramatic, and production elements into live opera performances.

The overall objective of the Metropolitan Opera-University of Connecticut collaboration is to improve the depth and quality of opportunity available to students in this country who want to pursue careers in opera. The project encompasses multiple activities, including production internships and auditing of rehearsals.

"We're opening a new window in the educational arena," said Joseph Volpe, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. "This is the first time we've participated in a university program of this scope, and we are looking forward to working with the University of Connecticut as our partner in this pioneering and unique undertaking."

Raymond and Beverly Sackler, philanthropists and generous supporters of a range of UConn programs, were instrumental in forging the partnership.

"We are delighted to participate with the Metropolitan Opera in this innovative program," says Philip E. Austin, UConn's president. "We are tremendously grateful to Raymond Sackler for his help in making this partnership a reality. This is one in a long list of areas in which Raymond and Beverly Sackler have enhanced Connecticut's flagship public university, and we are tremendously grateful for their support."

"It is gratifying to bring together two outstanding institutions that I care deeply about, especially when unique benefits will be derived by both partners," says Raymond Sackler.

UConn's opera program has long been considered one of the country's strongest, attracting high-quality faculty and students, says David G. Woods, dean of the School of Fine Arts. Last year, Woods met with Raymond Sackler, who is an avid supporter of both UConn and the Met. Sackler suggested that he bring representatives of the two entities together to discuss establishing a mutually beneficial partnership.

"Raymond Sackler is the cornerstone of this partnership," Woods says. "Through his efforts and financial support, two of his 'loves,' the Met and the University of Connecticut, are forming a relationship through which both will be enhanced."

During the academic year, UConn students involved in the collaboration will visit the Met to observe stage rehearsals and preparatory work that will allow them to witness the development of a production on stage. Key guest and house production staff will meet with students to answer questions and explain the particular focus of specific productions. The Metropolitan Opera-University of Connecticut collaboration is the first in-depth partnership involving the Met's artistic and production areas with an institution of higher learning.

January 2002 Releases
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