Meet Andrea Chenoweth Wells,
teacher and scholar
As a studio voice professor, I pride myself on identifying and developing my students' authentic voices with a grounding in classical and commercial pedagogy that is differentiated for each student. By building on a student's natural strength and talent, I encourage a healthy, sustainable sound, rooted in dramatic expression.
My students have gone on to graduate studies at prestigious music programs and have won national acclaim in acapella groups. I am happy to teach students at all levels from high school students to adults amateurs and professionals.
Vocal study with me includes textual and musical analysis, support with diction, dramatic coaching, discussions about the business of singing, best practices for auditioning, and recital and role preparation.
Areas of Research
Dive Into My Work
Intersections of Music and Faith
My passion for exploring the intersection of faith and music began in childhood when I was an active member of my church's youth choir. As I grew older, I continued to pursue this interest and became a paid church musician, singing in both Catholic cathedrals and Jewish synagogues. Drawing on this experience, I have designed a course called Music and Faith on Stage, which delves into the principle tenets of the Abrahamic faith traditions and how music is used in worship. We also explore portrayals of these faith traditions on stage in various genres, including opera, musical theatre, and pop vocal music.
Developed for soprano, clown, and piano, “Barnaby’s Gift” is a 35-minute one-act sacred opera based on the medieval legend of the Juggler of Our Lady that speaks to anyone who has questioned their choices, their talents, and their worth.
Barnaby, the juggler, is weary of the difficulty of the performer’s life and, being a man of deep faith, joins a monastery. However, when faced with the derision of his fellow Brothers for his inability to conform to their traditional expressions of devotion, he feels ill-equipped for religious life. In desperation, he performs in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary when a miracle occurs, and she comes to life. She blesses him, assuring him that he is worthy of love just as he is.
Composed by Scott Gendel
Libretto by Andrea Chenoweth Wells, Scott Gendel, and Jerome Yorke
Commissioned by the Marian Library
at the University of Dayton
Intimacy and Opera
Opera as a performance genre not only uplifts themes that intertwine sex with violence, but it also romanticizes this construct. As yet, there is no consensus around best practices for ethically staging these scenarios in opera. I theorize that by normalizing consent in opera rehearsal and performance processes, singers are freed to embody their characters more authentically while simultaneously feeling protected by a transparent and ethically balanced practice. This will result in more dramaturgically rigorous, powerful performances that will increase audience enjoyment and engagement with opera. As the field struggles to reconcile some of the more problematic aspects of canonical tradition around race and gender in opera, it is crucially important to develop practices around consent and culturally competent staging. I am working on developing specific strategies for intimacy directors to use in operatic rehearsal spaces.