Ted Christopher has been the artistic director of Penn State Opera Theatre since 2008. He has overseen and directed several successful and innovative operatic performances at Penn State, including Hansel and Gretel (2009), The Marriage of Figaro (2010), Gianni Schicchi (2011), MASS (2013), La Bohème (2015), Così fan tutte (2017), and Suor Angelica (2019) among others. He has also expanded the artistic relationship between the School of Music and the School of Theatre, and several of Opera Theatre’s productions have been held up as models of collaboration and interdisciplinarity, which is a hallmark of Penn State’s mission and work.
Dr. Christopher received baccalaureate and master’s degrees in vocal performance and opera from the Curtis Institute of Music, where his teachers included Mikael Eliasen and Marlena Malas. He supplemented his studies as a member of the Juilliard Opera Center, where he worked with Frank Corsaro, and San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, where he coached with renowned soprano Régine Crespin. He received his doctorate in musical arts (performance and literature) from the Eastman School of Music in 2009.
He has engaged in a wide and diverse career as a singer, actor, director, and teacher. In opera and concert, he has appeared throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. His operatic repertoire spans five centuries, from Monteverdi to Hiram Titus, and includes appearances with such companies as Cleveland Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Vancouver Opera, Anchorage Opera, Skylight Opera Theater, the Ash Lawn/Highland Festival, Western Opera Theater, San Francisco Opera Center, and the Ohio Light Opera. In concert, he has appeared with ensembles such as the Seattle Symphony, the Czech Philharmonic, the Berlin Rundfunksinfonie Orchester, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the BBC Singers, in such venues as the Kennedy Center, the Rudolfinum (Prague), the Schauspielhaus (Berlin), and Carnegie Hall.
His discography consists of recordings with the Albany, Naxos, and Newport Classics labels, including several recordings under the auspices of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Milken Archive of American Jewish Music. He has appeared off-Broadway with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players and the New England Lyric Operetta.
Dr. Christopher has been a featured member of the Ohio Light Opera (OLO), the only professional company in the United States dedicated to the performance and preservation of light opera, since 1997. With the company, he has appeared in and/or directed more than fifty productions of both obscure and standard operetta, including the complete Gilbert and Sullivan canon. Dr. Christopher served OLO as General Director from 2007 to 2009. In 2011, he was named Principal Guest Director of the company. His reputation as an authority on the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan led to his appointment in 2012 as Artistic Director of The Savoy Company, the oldest Gilbert and Sullivan society in the United States.
Dr. Christopher has served on the faculties of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Memphis as director of opera. Additionally, he has been an instructor of voice and director of high school operetta at the Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Festival.