Acting Workshops, Seminars and Residencies


 

Over the past 15 years, Nic has broadened his focus to include in-depth training of young artists: singer-actors, stage directors and designers, as well as Teachers of Acting. By continually refining his teaching methods, he has developed an approach that is detailed and easy to assimilate, achieving results that are both immediate and long-term. His teaching is no-nonsense, extremely practical and aims to inspire rich thinking about art, opera and each character that is being explored. He offers seminars with a flexibility of content, duration and cost to suit the needs of the organization.

To get a sense of what he covers in his acting seminars, peruse his Intro to Acting>>

In addition to his “home” institutions (CCM, Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Bard Conservatory and UNCSA), he has trained young artists at the following organizations: MET Lindemann Program, Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera Center Merola Program, Music Academy of the West, Indiana University, New England Conservatory, Boston University Opera Institute, Yale School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Eastman School of Music, Atlantic Music Festival,  University of Kentucky, Temple University, Montclair State University, Missouri State University, Texas Tech University, University of Missouri at St. Louis, University of California at Humboldt, Rising Star Festival, Vianden International Festival, University of Miami and Miami University of Ohio. In Asia: Opera Hong Kong Young Artist Program, Shanghai Conservatory, Wuhan Conservatory, Kyung Hee University (Seoul), TIVAA Institute (Tokyo).


REACTIONS FROM THE FIELD

Carol Vaness

 

“We first met as colleagues while working on a production of IL TROVATORE in Seattle in 1989. I found Nic then as I find him now: brilliant to work with, wonderfully thoughtful and sincerely interested in what suits each and every singer’s talent. He is quite simply one of the best directors with whom I have ever worked. His master class at Indiana University was by far one of the most popular public classes ever given here. Everyone was entranced with his ability to reach and make progress with every one of the students chosen to participate. The class lasted four hours and no one even wanted to take a break.
– Carol Vaness
, Metropolitan Opera and Professor at Indiana University

 

“I had seen Mr. Muni’s work in professional houses, such as the New York City Opera, but had never had occasion to work with him until he produced and directed my opera, OF MICE AND MEN at CCM. I found him to be a man of intelligence and imagination in the theater and remarkably approachable. It has been my good fortune to work with some of the finest directors from the theater and opera worlds, and, like them, he shares a security of ego that permits him to consider and at times adopt ideas other than his own if he is convinced it benefits the work at hand. This lack of intransigence and this commitment to creating the best final product through trial, error, and re-thinking is a vitally important aspect of the teacher-director for students to observe and experience first hand: it also creates a comfortable atmosphere in which young student-artists can learn and grow rather than be stunted by excessive dogmatism and intimidating instruction. He seems to me to exemplify the teacher-director who is professionally and artistically sufficiently secure as to invite the student’s active participation in their own learning process.”  – Carlisle Floyd, American Composer

 

“I certainly recognize Nic as one who is respected in the business, and I know his devotion to training. He directed L’AMICO FRITZ for me at the Merola Opera Program in the summer of 2009 (returning for LA FINTA GIARDINIERA in 2012 & DON PASQUALE in 2015) and confirmed his abilities to me, as I watched him bring together his casts of young singers into a most cohesive group. The staging was well paced, well spaced and was simple, powerful story-telling. The audiences were thrilled by his work…”
Sheri Greenawald, Director of San Francisco Opera Center

 


I have known and worked with Nic
over a considerable length of time and consider him one of the most thoughtful and inspiring (even unique) figures on the contemporary opera scene. His productions are very carefully conceived and executed with immense theatrical skill. He deals in a very open, effective and focused way with both his collaborators – designers and conductor- and with the singers (both professional and students) He has clear ideas but is always anxious and receptive to his colleagues’ thoughts and opinions. His productions are often termed “edgy” or “far-out” (whatever those ambiguous terms might actually mean) but to me they are always deeply considered and authentically searching – not glib or “shocking” for shock’s sake. They can often truly extend the borders of what we think opera can do.

Relatedly, he is also very intrigued and perceptive about the broader subject of “Opera” – what it IS – formally, psychologically and culturally. (There is no one with whom I would rather discuss this perplexing and often frustrating art form than Nic) Coupled with these intellectual skills and persuasions, is his impressive ability to communicate his on-going and developing thoughts to his students and collaborating partners in a way that is not overbearing but opens far-ranging discussion.
– John Conklin, Production Designer and Artistic Advisor at Boston Lyric Opera

 

I was very honored to have had Nic working with our Bard Vocal Arts Program students over a period of three years, which included opera workshop classes and four beautiful, engaging, fully-staged operas at Sosnoff Theater of the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College  In their work with Nic the students received some of the highest level of training during their Bard experience, and they all grew and developed in clear and thoughtful ways through the process. I was so pleased with the work Nic had done with us at Bard, that I was eager to invite him to Tanglewood, where he created a fabulous staged production of Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins (on a very small budget, a concert stage, and a quite brief rehearsal period!). I very happily would recommend him to any of my colleagues.
– Dawn Upshaw, former Artistic Director of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory of Music.

 

 

I have been privileged to know and work with Nic Muni for over thirty years. We have collaborated together in every possible artistic combination that one can find in the operatic world, as Stage Director for my portrayal of Hindemith’s Cardillac at Opera Boston and more importantly, as a Stage Director for my students at Bard College (Mozart Die Zauberflöte, Britten The Turn of the Screw and Knussen Higglety Pigglety Pop!) and at the Tanglewood Music Center (Weill The Seven Deadly Sins).

Nic is a great artist and teacher. Both, period. He is a man of vision who has the talents to see that vision through, technically and pedagogically. He asks the most important questions that are being asked today about opera as an art form and as a pedagogical construct. I recommend Nic Muni most highly.
– Sanford Sylvan, former Chair of Voice at the Juilliard School

 

I have known Mr. Muni for several years, dating from our first collaboration together at the Merola Opera Program at the San Francisco Opera, where he was the stage director for L’amico Fritz. Mr. Muni is quite simply an amazing teacher and colleague, and is in the topmost ranks of his profession. He has a most keen understanding of the needs and requirements of young singing actors and an appreciation for their stages of development and learning; he constantly asks questions that encourage students to explore their own motivations and feelings; he leads singers to find more expansive and personal connections to music and text; he devotes himself without hesitation to the work at hand, with excellent planning and time management and goal-oriented teaching and studying; and his warm and supportive attitude to all those with whom he works is delightful to behold. In short, he is an ideal colleague with whom to work; he does nothing to aggrandize himself, but rather spends his energy to the betterment of the production and work at hand. He is always budget-conscious in every way, making economy of means into a virtue in his approach to scenic, technical and lighting design and application. I cannot say enough good things about his work.
– Warren Jones, celebrated pianist/coach/conductor and faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music

 

“I had the great pleasure of meeting Nic Muni and getting to know his work at a National Opera Association conference. We were then fortunate to have him come do a residency at my primarily undergraduate university, which helped jumpstart a real change of perspective among our opera students. In the weeks before his arrival, students read his writings on being a singing actor – it planted the seeds and putting it in practice with Nic blew them away. His intense, supportive, and detailed work benefited my students immensely. Their artistry was freed and investment to character shifted to a more dominant role. As a director, I was able to reap the benefits throughout our spring productions. We’d never had someone as dedicated to the acting side of the craft visit, and the work they did with Nic empowered them to ask questions. They have started to think differently about their responsibilities to the music, the character, and to the audience. The students have been applying what they learned to their arias, art songs, scenes, and I see a huge improvement in their auditions as well. I honestly can’t get him back here fast enough!”
Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn, Director of Opera at Missouri State University and Resident Stage Director, Springfield Regional Opera

 

“Nic Muni is a virtuosic craftsman, emboldening students and directors alike to redefine powerful storytelling. He is a dynamic master teacher with profound insights based on years of experience. His work with my students was transformative; each master-class an inspired playground for the development and exploration of the actor-musician. Possessing a tremendously generous spirit, Muni is unparalleled in his ability to impart the critical demands of the operatic world. My students and I were more than just affected by his artistry. We were left with Muni’s singular imprint and a desire to mirror his brilliance.
Dr. Stella Markou, Director of Vocal Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis

 

J. F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

“Mr. Muni has effectively helped our young singers further develop their skills and talents. His input guided the artists in our program towards cohesive performances that included dramatic dynamics into the voice. In addition, he helped our singers strengthen their techniques in order to create truly convincing characters on stage. The Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program also trains directors, conductors, and coach accompanists. Mr. Muni devoted his efforts to contribute to their development as well, mentoring our YA stage director in the preparation of scenes, and instructing our coaches to work towards a comprehensive result. Mr. Muni’s knowledge of every aspect of the performance process brings an integrated perspective to the table. With his unique skills and background, he is a key team member, who excels in bringing emerging artists into the professional world.”
– Maria Crovetto, 
former Director of Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera

 

Vianden Castle in Luxembourg

Vianden Castle in Luxembourg

 

“Mr. Muni did a superb job of coaching young singers on their stage demeanor, achieving a high level of understanding and an execution of the dramatic sense of operatic scenes he staged. His style of work was always marked by extreme patience, respect for the singers and desire and ability to unfold their individual gifts. His knowledge and command of the métier was remarkable and he was able to achieve in a very short time the utmost results in making the opera scenes very expressive and believable. His stagings of both American Musical Theater programs were absolutely brilliant.”
Semyon Rozin, Director of Vianden International Music Festival, Luxembourg

  

 

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