Director of Opera Theatre
Gene Roberts is the Director of Opera Theatre at MSU Denver. Mr. Roberts counts among his mentors American opera director Sally Stunkel, famed British director Colin Graham, and his own voice teacher of many years, W. Stephen Smith. Whether sitting in the director’s chair, or working in the studio with singers, Roberts’ work has long been informed by a passion for transporting audiences through story telling.
Shortly after graduate school, Roberts followed an apprenticeship at Des Moines Metro Opera, by accepting an engagement to be part of the Swiss premier cast of Lloyd Webber’s das Phantom der Oper. This production remains, to date, the only dual language production of the show, given six times a week in German, and twice in English. Phantom led to many other opportunities throughout Europe in stage and television, including starring as Beast in the German production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (die Schöne und das Biest), a role Roberts performed over 500 times. Altogether, throughout the US and Europe, Roberts sang over 30 roles in musical theater including Tony in West Side Story and Snoopy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and 20 roles in opera including Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro, Normano in Lucia di Lammermoor and Bardolfo in Falstaff.
In the Rocky Mountain region, Roberts is singular among mentors of young singers for his ability to work with ease across multiple genres of vocal artist. Roberts is on a self-proclaimed mission to eradicate caricatures of singing which prohibit powerful communication between vocal artists and their audiences, whether with his students in Opera Studio at MSU Denver, or when working with with musical theater or commercial singers. His students have been seen in US touring productions, Billy Elliot, European productions, Cabaret, Little Shop of Horrors and Miss Saigon, and on the West End in London, The King and I. Among commercial artists, Roberts counts among his students most successful bands from the Midwest including Denver-based Flobots and Grammy-nominated The Fray.
For the summer of 2012, Roberts has been engaged by Northwestern University for the newly inaugurated Naked Voice Institute for Singers and Teachers, where he will direct opera scenes and provide coaching for emerging young artists, alongside world renowned teacher W. Stephen Smith.