In 2002 the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s Young Artist Program was created under the guidance of Dr. Kleinknecht and stage director Gerald Dolter, an Iowa native and current professor of music at Texas Tech University. The Young Artist Program gives undergraduate and graduate college and university students from all over the United States who are majoring in vocal performance an opportunity to sing in opera choruses and to participate in their own fully staged productions
. Recent productions include Don Giovanni
(2015), Man of La Mancha
(2015), La Traviata
(2016), South Pacific
(2016), Cavalleria rusticana
(2017) and the upcoming summer production Speed Dating Tonight!
(June 2017) by Iowa based composer Michael Ching.
Additionally, the Young Artists regularly present free, unique one-act children's operas
in the Cedar Rapids Community School District, as well as at the Cedar Rapids Public Library and Coralville Center for the Performing Arts. Recent productions include Little Red’s Most Unusual Day
, Herman the Horse: A Healthy Tail, Pinocchio
and next season's The Ugly Duckling