Dori Smith was first attracted to opera because of its fusion of different art forms.

"It combined my love of languages, my love of dramatic works and the stage, and my love of music," she said.

Now, smith is a doctorate candidate for musical arts, and the lead performer in the University of Arizona Opera Theater's production of "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss II, which will be the theater's opening production when its season kicks off Nov. 14.

The opera theater and the Opera Guild of Southern Arizona have been working together to provide students with the opportunity to perform on stage, and kick start their careers.

Smith said she believes that opera has the capability to transcend cultural changes over time.

"I think it's our responsibility though to continue to renew it, to continue to make it exciting and engaging and to continue to introduce it to young people in future generations," she said.