Stage Director, Educator, Yoga Instructor

Some wonderful testimonials from colleagues:

"His knowledge of opera from both running  opera companies and stage directing around the world was so valuable for our students. The “yoga for performers” classes he led were also very helpful for singers, instrumentalists and faculty alike. I highly recommend Robert."         

Rod Nelman - Assoc. Professor - University of Connecticut

Some ideas for Workshop activity:

“Having been engaged with Robert Swedberg on numerous occasions in which he served in capacities that included Stage Director, Artistic Director and Yoga Instructor, I can state unequivocally that his unique holistic approach to the artistic development of young artists is unparalleled, and it is manifested in his excellent programs.”

-  Dr. Bradley Robinson,  Professor of Voice, University of Mississippi

"The insights and awareness into performing that Robert Swedberg offered through his talks, demonstrations and actual engagement of the students in various exercises, opened up a new world of expression for many. In terms of opera productions, as a former recipient of Robert's production concepts and direction, I can definitely say they are extremely creative and fun! What a joy it is to take a medium that can be dry or cliche and allow it to be fun!"

-Mark Thomsen - Artist-In-Residence/Director of Opera Theatre Florida Southern College

“Robert’s Yoga for Performers has been a popular and awareness-expanding daily offering at Opera in the Ozarks since 2012.  His provocative Singing-Actor Workshop is our annual prelude to staging rehearsals.  In integrating these offerings our young artists gain powerful insight and practical, methodical tools to better shape nuanced characters and evoke compelling interpretations.“

Thomas Cockrell -  Professor, Orchestral Activities - Nelson Riddle Endowed Chair, in  Music - University of Arizona

“Thanks to the support and mentorship of Robert Swedberg, Yoga for Performers is now a successful part of our curriculum at the University of Mississippi. The benefits that this program has brought to the personal and professional lives of our students in music, theater, and other fields cannot be overstated.”   

-  Jennifer Robinson; Instructor of Voice, Yoga for Performers, (Yoga Alliance Certified);  University of Mississippi

​​I am happy to visit you and work with your students for a single session; but in order to share more of what I have to offer I usually recommend a 2 or 3 day period with sessions staggered to fit your class schedules and to work around other activity, unless a dedicated "retreat" style can be offered.  (This has been very effective as well.) 


  • Yoga For Performers: I work with your  students in small groups, sometimes mixed with additional sessions for larger groups.  (Recently at UConn, I offered this to all music students during a convocation, and it was awesome to share yoga with so many students, including some who hadn’t thought about the usefulness of yoga.)  As I know more about individual schools and programs I can craft something more specific.  Yoga is always a part of what I offer, even within a singing-actor training session if other sessions can’t otherwise be scheduled. 


  • Singing-Actor training:  I have many activities and exercises that I have offered for my opera workshop classes and I can adapt these to the level and numbers of students who may participate.  Some ideas here:
    • A general dramatic awareness session that would be useful for all voice majors.  Focus is on helping with body awareness, characterization, and building confidence In engaging the dramatic aspects of music. (Pianist needed for this one.)
    • An auditions technique session. Very useful for those prepping for auditions of any sort, but if time is limited, best given to opera students. (Pianist needed.)
    • Attitude projection.  Valuable for all music students to observe as 8-10 participants would sing an aria or song, and have attitudes projected for response and engagement of creative connection to emotions, states of being, etc.  (Pianist and space where PowerPoint can be projected at or near a stage or large playing area.  I also have my own portable projector that I can use for this if one is not available.) For more information about attitude projection, go to this article I have put on Academia.edu:
    • A two-hour  session for opera students only.  More specific exercises and individual attention is possible.    If time is available, a second session could be offered on another day. (Pianist available for only a portion of this is possible.)


  • The Business of Music: - I could offer this more than once, or I could craft if for all music students (large space with projector needed), or it could be shared with just voice students as desired.  Some topics covered:
    • You as entrepreneur - developing materials needed for self-promotion, awareness of building mission, marketing, funding, networking, planning your career - either working for arts organizations, as an individual artist, or in your own portfolio career (where other activity outside music helps support the musician).
    • Structure of Non-Profits in general, and more specifically opera companies (and orchestras if instrumentalists are included). 
    • As time permits:  helping with resumes and other promotional materials, elements of grant writing, and ideas for looking for personal funding.


    I have offered combinations of these at Indiana University, University of Washington, University of Central Florida, Valencia College, Florida State, University of Connecticut, and Michigan State, among others. 


    Fees for my time are very reasonable for what I offer.  I know that funds are usually limited for workshop activity, so I am happy to work with your budget.  As Anton Coppola was fond of saying whenever I negotiated with him to conduct an opera:  "Just get me there, put me up and give me a tuna fish sandwich."   He actually did cost a bit more than that, but I always appreciated his flexibility.  I share that with you.

I love offering singing-actor workshops because I know how difficult it is to fit adequate dramatic training for singers into the busy curriculum in most music schools.  I have worked out a number of ways to help singers feel more confident with their bodies, to encourage them to be able to take risks, and to offer some really practical exercises from which they can continue to build their dramatic skills on their own. While directing the opera program at the University of Michigan I was able to refine these offerings to build a solid pedagogy that has benefitted hundreds of singing-actors in their careers with opera companies around the world, as well as those who may also use these skills in music education. Please have a look at the testimonials from students and colleagues at the bottom of this page.

Some wonderful testimonials from Students:

Contact Robert Swedberg at rmswedberg@gmail.com; phone or text: 407-538-8768

"Robert Swedberg’s ability to inspire young singers is wonderful and reaches places for them that are often locked by fear and tension. His Yoga for Performers relaxes them and his use of “attitudes” applied to the various arias that the singer must learn, really makes a huge difference in their freedom of expression.  


I find Robert to be a great director, having performed Tosca in Florida when he was the general director there.  He gave me great ideas and interesting approaches that I use to this day with every singer I teach.  I highly recommend his excellent and unique way of getting singers to become great singing actors!"
Carol Vaness - Professor of Music and Opera Director - Indiana University

“Robert taught for us as a visiting professor for two summers, and this was an incredible learning opportunity for faculty and students alike.  During our six week summer session, he taught Yoga for Performers as well as Opera Workshop.  The opera class culminated in a production of operatic scenes for an invited audience.  I was impressed by the way that Robert worked with our students to attune them to the mind/body connection that is an imperative for performers.  I saw students’ self-confidence in their abilities improve.  Additionally, Robert’s techniques allowed for students to take risks, experiment more, and fully commit to their performances.  Our faculty enjoyed and benefited from Robert’s workshops – he has an incredible range of topics to teach and experiences from which to draw.  We hope to have Robert return to Valencia in the future.”
 -Wendy Givoglu, Dean of the School of Arts and Entertainment at Valencia College

Robert Swedberg

I am extremely grateful for the guidance provided by Professor Swedberg. His opera workshop courses provided a solid foundation for me as a developing singing actor.  He allowed me to explore so much and hone my craft in a safe environment. He also helped me learn how to connect the practice of yoga to aspects of my performing, such as balance, release of tension, and mental focus. I feel very fortunate that I was able to learn from his real-world experience.  As I’ve progressed in my own young career, I can say that he prepared me very well. I’ve always felt comfortable in auditions and making important connections.
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Nicholas Ward, - Baritone, Class of 2011
 
I’m so grateful for the instruction, both as a performer and director, that I received while I was at Michigan.  I am constantly reminded of Robert Swedberg’s  thoughtful, open-minded style in directing. I try to put these tools and insights into my every day processes.  I am confident as a director because of the great example I received from him.
-Dr. Juan Hector Pereira  - Assistant Professor of Music (UTEP)

As a graduate student pursuing a degree in teaching music, I often reflect on what makes great teachers great. I think back on the classes that I took with Professor Swedberg and remember that he 1) challenged his students and 2) showed that he cared. I am so grateful for having studied with him because he helped me discover that peace comes from within.  This knowledge gives me strength to continue struggling with and caring for my own students.
-Zoe Kumagai - Teaching Artist - San Diego Youth Symphony

Professor Robert Swedberg and I worked together in several productions at the University of Michigan. He paid attention to our developing characters during rehearsals and gave us feedback that allowed us to continue taking risks on stage. In addition to the stage opportunities, Professor Swedberg encouraged me to take an interest in the business aspects of music, which led me to enroll in his class “The Business of Music”, where I was introduced to fundraising, marketing & media, as well as music production. I graduated from U of M in 2014 with a degree in Voice Performance and a minor in Performing Arts Management. I then moved to Hamburg, Germany and have had many successful performance opportunities around the city, and feel confident in the choices I make on stage because of the foundation I built in working with Professor Swedberg. He has been was one of the most influential educators during my undergraduate career at Michigan which allows me to be innovative as a freelance performer and music educator here in Hamburg.
-Imani Mchunu - University of Michigan Alumnus 2014

From the beginning, Professor Swedberg saw potential in me, and encouraged me to grow as a performer. His style of teaching and directing worked extremely well, and I saw growing success as a performer - both within and outside of the University. Working with him on Le Nozze di Figaro I became vastly more comfortable on stage, both in my voice and my body. We were all encouraged to develop as “Singing Actors,” rather than merely singers on a stage.
-Mary Martin - MM 2012 

Professor Swedberg was always open to our ideas and questions about character, movement, timing and more during staging.  We were challenged by him to bring our best as singing actors to the stage and to take risks in our choices.  The rehearsal environment was professional, exciting, warm, fun and as an ensemble we came to work as a well-oiled machine. Professor Swedberg, to put it simply, produced one of the best works I have been a part of at Michigan. Mr. Swedberg is an invaluable resource as an opera instructor due to his vast experience not only as a director who continues to work internationally to great acclaim, but also as a former general director of an opera company. The insight and advice he can offer students in an academic setting with this kind of connection to the realities of the opera world is unmatched. Robert Swedberg is easily one of the finest directors I have had the great pleasure of taking instruction from.  He is approachable, a gentleman and carries an incredible knowledge and command of our art form. 
-Wes Mason Baritone -University of Michigan - 2010

Professor Swedberg challenged me throughout the process, but he was also very supportive and encouraging.  He created a wonderful environment for us to discover and grow as singing actors. 
-Monica Sciaky,  mezzo-soprano – University of Michigan - 2013

As his student I admired the creative way he would run classes as well as his ingenuity and positive approach to directing.I truly admire ideas like these, which go beyond standard lesson plans and actually teach students something practical about the ‘real world’ of opera.
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Sarah Hucal – mezzo-soprano – U-M 2011- now based in Berlin

I am a mezzo soprano who has been lucky to work with Robert Swedberg in Opera Studio and on the mainstage, where we were given the permission to really have fun with our roles and it was a very liberating and encouraging introduction to being in operas. I also took one semester of Robert Swedberg’s Yoga for Performer’s Course. I think this course should be a requirement for all singers (at least!) at Michigan. It was a highly applicable and centering course that gave me tools to regulate my nerves, and simple but forgotten things such as breathing, in this occasionally overwhelmingly stressful career choice.
-Kate Wakefield, - mezzo-soprano – U-M 2010