"Ms. Volovna's Orfeo ...[was] magically ethereal"
A native of New York City, Marla Volovna received her MFA in Opera Direction from Indiana University. In 1989 she co-founded Apollo Opera, situated in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California. From 1989-2003, Ms. Volovna acted as the main stage director for Apollo Opera, which featured original productions spanning the operatic repertoire.
Ms. Volovna’s first season opened with Gluck’s Orfeo, using only one professional singer, Zoila Munoz (also the company’s Artistic Director); yet the production was singled out for a prize, reviewed by the Sacramento Bee and called “magically ethereal.” It was aired on public television in Indiana where she also directed Darius Milhaud’s Medee. Gradually the company was able to hire excellent Bay Area professionals for the leading roles, and under Volovna’s direction the company continued to receive extraordinary acclaim. The many operas Ms. Volovna directed for the company include Orfeo, Ormindo, The Magic Flute, Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Pasquale, Carmen, Madame Butterfly, Rigoletto, Dido and Aeneas, and Amahl and the Night Visitors.
During this time, Ms. Volovna was hired as a lecturer and stage director at Utah State University in Logan, UT. The Eccles Theatre, which houses the Utah Festival Opera, was christened under Volovna’s direction in collaboration with Michael Ballam, Artistic Director of the Utah Festival Opera, with excerpts from The Merry Widow and La Traviata.
Ms. Volovna was also a member of the Faculty at California State University, Sacramento, where her undergraduate students achieved awards at the Metropolitan Opera Competition, among others.
Internationally Ms. Volovna has given master classes in Acting for Singers and Acting the Aria at Shanghai Opera and the Opera Institute of Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, as well as being on the Voice Faculty at the Conservatory of Draincy in France.
Most recently, Ms. Volovna gave master classes and directed young professionals in baroque opera scenes from Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, L'Orfeo and L'Incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi, and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas for the program Complete Package Performer. Other bay area instruction and master classes include CSU-Chico and UC Davis, Mayflower Chorus (San Rafael), Occidental Community Choir (Santa Rosa), and Renaissance Choir (Sacramento). Ms. Volovna also taught Opera Appreciation as a guest lecturer at OLLI - SFSU.