The award-winning opera curriculum is an important element of singer training at Lawrence and is uniquely designed with the specific needs of the undergraduate singer in mind. The curriculum is divided into technique-building classes and performance experiences using the techniques garnered in those classes, selections of which are outlined below. The classes and productions establish an environment for the student to incrementally build and hone the craft of a skilled singing actor.

Recently, Lawrence students have received recognition for:

Le comte Ory (Count Ory) (2018)
-First prize at the National Opera Association-Best Opera Production, Division 4
 
Opera Scenes: Spring Awakening, "Word of Your Body (Reprise)" (2019)
-Second prize at the National Opera Association-Collegiate Opera Scenes competition, musical theatre division
 

Hydrogen Jukebox (2017)
-First prize (tied with The Beggar's Opera below) in The American Prize - Best Opera Production (college/university division)
-Third prize at the National Opera Association-Best Opera Production, Division 4

Straight from the Hip: An Evening of Improvised Micro-Operas on Gun Presence in Our Community (2017)
-Third prize at the National Opera Association-Best Opera Production, Division 1

The Beggar's Opera (2016)
-First prize (tied with Hydrogen Jukebox above) in The American Prize - Best Opera Production (college/university division)
-First prize at the National Opera Association-Best Opera Production, Division 6
-First Place, Best of Local Productions, Warren Gerds, critic for Channel 5 WFRV (164 total productions in both local and professional categories)

Expressions of Acceptance: An Evening of Improvised Micro-Operas (2016)
-Third prize (tie) at the National Opera Association-Best Opera Production, Division 1

Opera Scenes: Le nozze di Figaro, Act 3 Sextet (2016)
-First prize at the National Opera Association-Collegiate Opera Scenes competition, Division 1

The Tender Land (2015)
-Second prize at the National Opera Association-Best Opera Production, Division 2

Mainstage Opera

The Mainstage Opera is the centerpiece of the opera curriculum at Lawrence. The opera, usually sung in English, is fully staged and performed with full orchestra. The 2018-2019  mainstage opera will be Leonard Bernstein's Mass, incorporating American Sign Language to explore issues of communication, when ideological differences arise.  Past productions include Le comte Ory (Count Ory), Hydrogen JukeboxThe Beggar's OperaThe Tender Land, Albert Herring, The Fairy Queen, The Bartered Bride, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Gianni Schicchi/Suor Angelica, The Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel, Candide, L'Étoile, and Street Scene.

In addition to the Opera Curriculum, the Theater Department produces a fully-staged musical with full orchestra every other year, an offering that is augmented by the yearly student-produced musical. Students, also, often have the opportunity to perform in student-produced chamber operas or opera scenes.

Opera Scenes

The Opera Scenes program provides performance practice for the singing actor.  In the original languages, students prepare roles from opera scenes in a wide range of historical periods and theatrical styles. The public performance of Opera Scenes is one of the major ensemble offerings at Lawrence.  The 2018 Spring performance showcased scenes from Mozart’s Così fan tutteDie Zauberflöte, Massenet's Cendrillon, Handel's Serse, Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, and Sondheim's Sweeney Todd.

The Fall scenes program, in English, is in a workshop format, concentrating on the building blocks of musical and dramatic training. The 2018 Fall scenes program included scenes from Mozart's Don Giovanni, Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Menotti's The Consul, and Sheik/Sater's Spring Awakening.

Post-Modern Opera Performance

A collaborative, ensemble environment utilizing improvisation, devised theatre techniques, and extended vocal and performing techniques, with an invited performance at the end of the term. The student will explore entrepreneurial skills as well as the responsibility of the artist to the community.  In 2019, this project will be joined, again, by the Improvisation Group (IGLU) and Dance Program.

Bernstein's Mass - Spectrum News 1

"Hydrogen Jukebox" Promo Video

This is Lawrence: Expanding Opera

"The Beggar's Opera" Promo Video

"The Tender Land" Highlights

Acting for Singers 1

A basic opera/song performance course designed to help you toward becoming a craftsperson in your ability to create on stage.  Building blocks include understanding and breaking down a script, understanding the stage and movement on it, creating and motivating character choices, response to your fellow performers, honesty on-stage, concentration, imagination, and commitment to the script, the environment, and your character.

Acting for Singers 2

An opera/song performance course that develops the fundamental tools to create on stage. This term
concentrates on expanding the techniques from the previous term and on developing a stronger sense of
ensemble work. Viewpoints and Theatrical Composition will be the main thrust of the exploration, using the
current song and aria repertoire of the individual student.