University of Arizona

Opera Theater

For over twenty years our mission has been to raise the quality and awareness of opera in the local Tucson and surrounding borderland area and throughout the state of Arizona.

The Opera Theater program promotes opera as a living and essential art form; opera provokes, thrills and transforms human lives through its unique combination of music and storytelling.

The Opera Theater program is committed to diverse programming including production of new and contemporary works; works in English and in Spanish; standard repertory; and the essential re-imagining of operatic works for the stage.

The Opera Theater program encourages the development of young opera artists as well as cultivating opera enthusiasts of the future.  The Opera Theater program builds community to ensure the success of our students, as they become opera practitioners, teachers and leaders of the future.

Opera Theater Events

University of Arizona Opera Theater Presents


by Kamala Sankaram and Susan Yankowitz

Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and HERE Arts Center for the 2014 PROTOTYPE Festival

“Thumbprint” is presented through special arrangement with UIA Talent Agency

Based on the true story of Mukhtar Mai, who brought her brutal attackers to justice in Pakistan, Mai requested her settlement create schools for girls, so they would not experience the danger of signing their names only with a thumbprint because they cannot read.


  • April 17 – 19, 2024 7:30 pm
  • April 20, 3 pm

Crowder Hall, 1017 N. Olive Road Tucson, AZ 85721
Tickets: $20, 15, 10
Box office: 520.621.3341,

This production addresses disturbing content including honor killing, rape and sexual assault against women. No violence is depicted in the opera. The composer and librettist suggest these events through musical choices and text. However, its content may be disturbing and is a recommended for mature audiences.

Please join us for a series of pre-show panel discussions before the following performances:

Colonialism, the Western Gaze and Creating Performance

Thursday, April 18, 2024
School of Music Room 146

Join PhD candidate Adam Kirchner, director Cynthia Stokes and conductor Kristin Roach as they discuss their perspective about creating UA’s production of Thumbprint.

Live performance: a Tool for Social Justice

Friday, April 19, 2024
School of Music Room 146

Join moderator Greg Pierotti, panelists Dr. Kristin Dauphinais, Dr. Jennie Gubner and DMA candidate Diana Peralta as they discuss the power of live performance.

Literacy Challenges in the Tucson Community

Saturday, April 20, 2024
School of Music Room 146

Opera Theater welcomes our special guests from Tucson’s own Literacy Connects to discuss the realities and opportunities around adult literacy and education in our own community.

Behind the scenes! (Photos by Chris Zatrain.)

Jess Barrera (Faiz Muhammed) looks on as Aysen Millogullari (Mukhtar Mai) comforts and young woman (Ella Lamoreaux) in Thumbprint. Photo by Chris Zatrain.

Jess Barrera (Faiz Muhammed) objects to Troy Adams (The Judge) decree in Thumbprint. Photo by Chris Zatrain.

Bethany Pehrson (Mukhtar Mai) leads a chorus of women as they unite together in Thumbprint. Photo by Chris Zatrain.

Set design by Sally Day, MFA.


Photo of

Cynthia S Stokes

Associate Professor
Associate Professor, Applied Intercultural Arts Research - GIDP
Endowed Chair, Amelia T Rieman
Music Bldg, Room 229

Photo of

Thomas Cockrell

Professor, Music
Director, Orchestral Activities
Endowed Chair, Nelson Riddle-Music
Music Bldg, Room 153

Photo of

Christopher Allen

Costume Shop Manager
Music Bldg, Room 142

Sally R Day

Theater Scenery Specialist
Music Bldg, Room 118

Photo of

Carson Scott

Technical Director, Senior
Music Bldg, Room 116