The 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. The classes and productions establish an environment for the student to incrementally build and hone the craft of a skilled singing actor.

The opera program is also award winning!  Recently, Lawrence students have received:

  • First prize at the National Opera Association-Collegiate Opera Scenes competition, Division 1 (2016)
  • Second prize at the National Opera Association-Best Opera Production (2015).

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 2015-2016  mainstage opera will be Hydrogen Jukebox by Philip Glass, with libretto by Allen Ginsberg.  Past productions include The 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 2016 Spring performance showcased scenes from Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and Così fan tutte,  Robert Ward's The Crucible, Lortzing's Der Wildschütz, Cavalli's L'Egisto,  Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, Mascagni's L'amico Fritz, and Menotti's The Medium.  The Fall scenes program, in English, is in a workshop format, concentrating on the building blocks of musical and dramatic training. The 2015 Fall scenes featured scenes from Bernstein's Candide, Mozart's Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro, Menotti's The Old Maid & the Thief and The Consul, and Milton Granger's Benedicta and Angry Birdsong.

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 2016, this project will be joined, again, by the Improvisation Group (IGLU) and Dance Program exploring the audience research gathered from the Lawrence and Appleton community centering on gun presence and awareness in our area.

This is Lawrence: Expanding Opera

"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.

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