September 16, 2015
The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi is pleased to announce that Julia Aubrey, associate professor of music, will serve as the Ford Center Interim Director. She will oversee Ford Center operations while a search is conducted to replace former director, Norm Easterbrook, who accepted the position of executive director of the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts in Columbus, Georgia.
Professor Aubrey teaches voice, serves as the director of opera theatre and assistant chair of the Department of Music. She directed the world premiere of the opera, “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” produced this past spring in the Ford Center and in Prague, Czech Republic. Ms. Aubrey has a master of music in vocal performance and a master of arts in theatre from the University of Missouri—Columbia.
In January 2012 Ms. Aubrey was elected president of the National Opera Association. She served as NOA president-elect from 2010-2012, vice-president of regions from 2008 – 2010 and governor for the Southeast Region from 2001 to 2007. In 2011, The Ole Miss Opera Theatre Ensemble won first place in the NOA Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition and third place in 2010. In 1999, her opera ensemble won first place in the NOA Opera Production Competition with two one-act operas, Amelia Goes to the Ball and Gianni Schicchi.
Professor Aubrey’s research project Living Masterpieces: An Improvised Opera Exercise has been featured on tours, festivals, and was selected for presentations at NOA national conventions in Philadelphia in 2001, Kansas City in 2004, and was one of three programs invited to perform at the Mid-West Opera Festival in 2003. Professor Aubrey served as the Guest Artist Opera Stage Director for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Alaska from 2003 to 2005. Before her tenure at the University of Mississippi, Julia staged operas for the Quad City Mozart Festival and opera and operetta productions at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Professor Aubrey has written a pastiche operetta Topsy Turvedom, or Things Are Seldom What They Seem that will be published this year. Other research in preparation is a textbook, Creative Exercises for the Stage, designed for university opera programs. Ms. Aubrey is also a member of NATS and Opera America.
As director of opera theatre at the University of Mississippi, Aubrey’s productions include Orpheus in the Underworld, The Crucible, Cosi fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, Street Scene, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Magic Flute, Tartuffe, The Ballad of Baby Doe, The Marriage of Figaro, Too Many Sopranos, La Perichole, Carmen, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, The Gondoliers, Die Dreigroschenoper, and L’elisir d’amore. In 2015, Julia served as Artistic Director and Stage Director for the world premiere (Ford Center) and European premiere (Prague, Czech Republic) of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Written by alumna, Dr. Nancy Van de Vate, this new work included professional guest artists, faculty, and graduate students in leading roles and in the orchestra, and a professional staff of designers. The process of producing a new American opera will be seen in a documentary produced by MPB and Southern Documentary.
Ms. Aubrey was associate artistic director of the Oxford Shakespeare Festival, serving as stage and musical director for The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado, Iolanthe, The King and I, Camelot, and The Sound of Music. She has also served as musical director for the UM Department of Theatre, assisting in productions of West Side Story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, How to Succeed in Business, The Man of La Mancha, Cabaret, Chicago, Anything Goes, The Rocky Horror Show, Footloose (as conductor and musical director), Company, and The Drowsy Chaperone. Julia and her husband, Robert H. Aubrey, offer a Youth Music Theatre Workshop each summer, designed for students age 10 to 17 to encourage skill development in singing, acting, and movement for music theatre. The performances of the group include original works and children’s versions of operetta and musicals.