In January, a small group of Missouri State opera students attended the annual National Opera Association (NOA) conference in Florida. This conference serves as an incredible opportunity for students to network with professionals, scout graduate programs, and attend sessions on acting, repertoire, and professional development. The highlight of the conference is the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition, where Missouri State students placed second in the undergraduate category.
NOA’s Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition consists of four finalists presenting a short scene up to eight minutes long from any opera. To participate, opera program director Dr. Ann Marie Daehn was required to submit a video of any scene performed by the program in the last year. Daehn initially submitted a snippet from the full opera they performed last spring but ultimately decided to take a duet to the competition.
The original scene Daehn chose was rehearsed heavily in December, but right before the group was set to leave, one of the performers got sick and had to cancel. Luckily Emma Gulovsen, the other student competitor, had a second duet prepared from an opera concert in the fall. Daehn contacted Bailey Freeman the day before the competition and he was able to attend the conference. After a short rehearsal on campus and a fifteen-minute rehearsal with their pianist in Florida, the students performed the next night! Daehn said that the opera scenes event is a favorite of the conference and everyone attends. After deliberation by a panel of five judges, first and second place winners were awarded in the undergraduate, graduate, and musical theater categories.
“Sometimes opera gets a bad rap; it’s really just louder theater. We’re studying all the drama that we know and love from music theatre and from plays.” —Dr. Ann Marie Daehn
Daehn is a governor for the National Opera Association, which she joined to give students more chances to network and compete against big schools and conservatories. Students from the Missouri State opera program have historically done very well at the national conference, winning awards in musical theatre and directing. With scholarship and composition competitions also available, the conference is a great place for students to be featured and participate in a high-level, mentally-enriching experience.
The opera program has an upcoming performance of two one-act operas — “Trial by Jury” by Gilbert and Sullivan and “Così fan tutte” by Lorenzo Da Ponte. Both shows have been modernized, taking inspiration from the “People’s Court,” “The Bachelor,” and college campuses. The performance is on Friday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 1:30 p.m. in Ellis Hall’s C. Minor Recital Hall. Student tickets can be purchased for just $5. Learn more.
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