Intro to Opera Performance

Students perform in the final Opera Scenes performance.

What the course catalog says:

An introduction to the principles of singing-acting skills with lab practice in solo performance, group scene performances, and production.

What the professors say:

I was a latecomer to the art form of opera and thought for a long while that I really disliked it. I wish I’d had a class like this to pique my interest and knowledge and encourage me to explore more performing opportunities in college. I hope my students learned to appreciate this art form, its rich history, and its timeless appeal to the masses—if only we were taught this earlier in our lives!

—Carla Hanson

The most important thing this course does is to help students gain an appreciation for and knowledge of opera early in their musical experience at Luther College. One of the greatest experiences of the course was the “Opera Abend” we had, where students gathered at my home to watch a film version of Verdi’s La Traviata. For many students, this was the first opera they had watched in its entirety.

Because we spent so much time together over the course of this month, this course allowed the students and the instructors to get to know one another on a pretty deep level. It was rewarding watching how the students interacted with one another, encouraged one another, and worked together to put together a show that truly demonstrated their enthusiasm and joy for the work they were doing. It was such a privilege to be a part of this process and to see that growth and the positive response to hard work and dedication.

—Jonathon Struve

What the students say:

I like the J-term schedule, because it gives everyone a month to just try something out. I had been thinking about opera for a while, so just being able to experiment with it for a month was very appealing to me. I know a lot of my friends who are still unsure about their majors used J-term either to decide on a major or decide that one wasn’t right for them.

—Grace Huber

I learned that this is a field that I want to do more with now and in the future, and I learned just how much empathy and vulnerability one needs to have to be a performer.

—Kiley Korey

I appreciated the fact that we were able to make our own acting choices onstage instead of having everything completely blocked out for us at the outset... From the very beginning of the course, we were working toward a common goal as a cast, and I really enjoyed that.

—Katherine Weston

The “acting and movement” aspect of the course allowed for explorative exercises that gave me better perspective on the importance of choice in acting, when to make bold choices, and when not to. What I didn’t expect out of this class was the camaraderie I felt with my classmates as the days progressed. It became less of a chore to attend class and more of an experience with other bright musicians I now call my friends.

—Garret Baumler