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 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 The Beggar's Opera by John Gay (realized by Benjamin Britten). Past productions include The 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.
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 2015 performance showcased scenes from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Idomeneo, Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto, Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment, and Britten's The Turn of the Screw. The 2015-16 academic year sees the addition of a fall scenes program in English in a workshop format, concentrating on the building blocks of musical and dramatic strategies.
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 2015, this project will be joined with the Improvisation Group (IGLU) exploring the audience research gathered during the previous year's main stage opera, The Tender Land, in joint collaboration with local and university organizations who heighten awareness of marginalized and disenfranchised members of the Appleton and Lawrence communities.