Students perform in the UT Martin spring opera "The New Normal."

‘The New Normal’ spring opera to debut April 16

Now over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the phrase “the new normal” has inspired innovation and creativity in everyday life, which is evident in the University of Tennessee at Martin Department of Music’s spring opera titled “The New Normal.” The opera will broadcast on the department’s Facebook and YouTube accounts at 8 p.m., April 16-17, for public viewing as a part of the CulturEd Online series.

“The New Normal” was written and composed by UT Martin professors of music Dr. Roberto Mancusi and Dr. Mark Simmons and features the struggles students and teachers had to overcome during the pandemic in a Zoom-style classroom. The opera uses real-world experiences to connect with audience members, such as internet connectivity issues and decisions based on morality in a virtual learning environment.

“I just hope people have fun and enjoy something that is different, that students have worked hard for even in trying times,” said Mancusi. “I tried to walk a fine line with the story and the music because there is a message in it. … If nothing else, everyone is 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, even a little bit.”

The opera will be archived for later viewing.

For more information about the opera, contact Mancusi at


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