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Dr. Cynthia Skelley-Wohlschlager is an Assistant Professor teaching voice and directing opera at Kennesaw State University. Prior to her appointment at KSU, she directed the NAU Lyric Theater, taught applied voice, and Movement and Acting for Singers at Northern Arizona University. Cynthia serves as Associate Artistic Director for Nightingale Opera Theatre and

Director of its Young Artist Program.

Cynthia frequently performs in recitals and opera, with international work in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. US performances include Cleveland Opera, Opera Cleveland, Cleveland Opera on Tour, Akron Children's Concert Society, Nightingale Opera Theatre, Duke Symphony Orchestra, Tuscarawas Philharmonic, Opera Circle, Singers Companye, and VOCI.

Highlights of operatic roles performed include Mrs. DeRocher in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Madeline Mitchell in Heggie’s Three Decembers, Secretary in Menotti’s The Consul, Ludmilla in Smetana's Bartered Bride, Madame De Croissy in Poulenc’s Dialogue of the Carmelites, Marthe in Gounod’s Faust, Alma March in Adamo’s Little Women, Dritte Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and the Witch and Mother in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.

As a director of over 45 operas and musicals, Cynthia is passionate about producing modern works and making traditional opera accessible and relatable to the contemporary audience. Recent directing credits include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Will Todd, Little Women by Mark Adamo, A Certain Madness by Hans Bridger-Heruth, and Pinocchio by Jonathan Dove. Cynthia's production of If I Were You by Jake Heggie for Nightingale Opera Theatre Young Artist Program included a residency by the composer, working with students in masterclasses. Her production of Beneath Suspicion by composer Jesse Ayers was a named semi-finalist for the American Prize.

Students from Cynthia’s studio have gone on to study at Yale, Indiana, Rice, San Francisco Conservatory, UMKC, The Cleveland Institute of Music, Royal Central School of London, and Vanderbilt, among others.


Studio members have won top prizes in national and international competitions, including Osaka International, London International Virtuoso, Schloss-Mirabell, Classical Singer, Orpheus, New York Lyric Opera, Metropolitan Opera Laffont, and Irma Cooper Competitions. Students also regularly place in NATS Competitions advancing to National NATS.


Students have performed in concert and recital at Carnegie Hall, Severance Hall, Weill Recital Hall, and attend Aspen, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Opera Lucca, Emerald City, CoOperative, Ice Factory, Anywhere Festival, NISHMI, and the New York Theater Institute at Juilliard.


Students have gone on to work professionally with numerous companies, including The Cleveland Opera, Opera Cleveland, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, The Atlanta Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Opera Circle, Sarasota Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Ohio Light Opera, Opera Colorado, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Canton Comic Opera, Player's Guild Theatre, Akron Civic Theatre, Cain Park, Dobama Theater, and Cleveland Public Theater.​

  • DMA in Performance, Pedagogy, and Literature in 2020, James Madison University

  • Professional Studies Diploma, The Cleveland Institute of Music

  • MM, Voice Performance, The University of Akron

Past faculty appointments include The Cleveland Institute of Music, Northern Arizona University, Case Western Reserve University, Malone University, and

The University of Akron.

Professional Affiliations include the American Liszt Society, National Opera Association, NATS, Pan American Vocology Association, National Society of Scholars, Opera America,

and The Voice Foundation.

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