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Mancusi Explores Challenges and Opportunities for Performing Arts

Dr. Roberto Mancusi's headshot.
(Photo/University Relations)

MARTIN, Tenn. – Dr. Roberto Mancusi, professor of music, will discuss his experience

composing and performing an original opera within the parameters of social distancing and other pandemic concerns as a part of the UT Martin Research Series at 4 p.m., Feb. 16, in the north reading room of the Paul Meek Library. His presentation, “Thinking Inside the Box,” reviews the process he used to create a safe performing opportunity for UT Martin voice students.

The presentation will also include video highlights from the live-streamed performance, which

aired on YouTube in April 2021. Mancusi’s opera, The New Normal, collaborated with Dr. Mark Simmons, professor of music, takes place in a Zoom-type classroom setting and features the talents of UT Martin voice students. The opera has gained national attention and was recognized as a finalist for The American Prize in Virtual Performance and a semifinalist for The American Prize for Composers.

“My approach walked a fine line with the story and the music because there is a message in it,” said Mancusi. “If nothing else, everyone was feeling the same thing during the pandemic. It has been cliché this whole time because we are all in this together, and as soon as we realize that the easier things will be.”

Mancusi has performed with several national symphonies in productions that include

Handel’s Messiah and multiple operatic productions, including Don Giovanni. He is also a featured soloist on several CDs, including the recording of his concert tour, The Big Sing Theory: The Triumph of the Human Spirit. Mancusi has written for Classical Singer Magazine and teaches master classes in both national and international venues. The New Normal is his first opera composition.

The UT Martin Research Series is co-sponsored by the Division of Academic Affairs and the UT Martin Paul Meek Library and highlights the research of campus faculty, staff and students. The event is open to the public with a livestream and recording available for playback later. Light refreshments will be served.

Parking for the reception will be in the Paul Meek Library parking lot on Wayne Fisher Drive off Mt. Pelia Road. Parking permits are available online at by selecting the “Online Visitor Parking Permit” link.

For more information, contact Dr. Erik Nordberg, dean of the Paul Meek Library, at 731-881-7070.



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