Named for businessman and arts advocate Alfred Johnston Fletcher (1887-1979), the A.J.Fletcher Foundation has supported the growth of opera in America for over 50 years, first through the creation of the Grassroots Opera Company in 1948 and subsequently through the productions and educational outreach of the National Opera Company.
In order to strengthen and perpetuate Mr. Fletcher’s vision for opera, the Foundation took the unprecedented step in the spring of 2000 of committing $10 million to establish an Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In September 2001, the A.J. Fletcher Foundation merged its National Opera Company with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts School of Music’s graduate opera program, in collaboration with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts School of Design and Production, to create the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute. A vehicle for advancing the career potential of exceptional young singers, the Fletcher Institute offers performance-based training at the graduate and post-graduate levels to several Institute Fellows each year.
Institute Fellows perform in fully-staged productions of new and established operatic works and participate in touring and outreach programs. Extensive performance experience is enriched by advanced studies in voice, language, diction, operatic and vocal literature, acting, makeup, movement, ballroom dancing, Alexander Technique, stage combat, and career enhancement strategies. Instruction is be provided by a resident artist faculty and visiting artists of national and international renown.