Next semester, the class Opera Scenes (MUS 250) will be taught by Professor David Tahere. Opera Scenes was previously offered twice at Covenant College as a workshop--first with Dr. Ewing, an adjunct professor, and last year with Professor Tahere. This year, the Opera Scenes class will collaborate with the Covenant College orchestra.
Professor Lok Kim offered to work with the orchestra and the participants of the class. The collaboration teaches the skills of collaboration and flexibility; as musicians, it is important to work with other people on stage and to share the spotlight. Though opera scene programs are offered at most colleges, this opportunity differs from other programs because most do not offer accompaniment by orchestra unless it is a fully staged opera or operetta. The music department hopes that this event will eventually lead to more staged works, such as operas or operettas, in the future.
Professor Tahere has been the lead driving force for MUS 250, and is excited that this opportunity has been given to Covenant students. Opera scene programs allow students, particularly voice majors, to actively work on solos and learn about opera as a potential career.
The majority of the class focuses on creating brief scenes from particular operas, while the last few weeks of the course deal with auditioning for opera in general. Professor Tahere touches briefly on the audition process, how to prep for an audition, what proper headshots are, and much more. This portion of the class is extremely interesting and also helps with auditions for other performing arts.
The class also allows voice majors and other students to work on developing character roles in a safe and creative way. Participants develop the character’s emotions and desires through their solos, much like character monologues in theatre. As opposed to normal work on solo songs, such as in lessons or practicing for fun, a student in Opera Scenes would work on technique and creating a story dramatically, with their body and voice as one single unit.
Once auditions are completed, the instructor and students will select scenes. Last year’s scenes ranged from Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” to Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” The workshop only had four participants, but hopes to see an increase for this upcoming year. The music will be tailored to the students involved, thus allowing the most growth out of the student.
In the spring, the class will present one evening to the public, on a date to be announced. It will be a chance for them to show off their hard work, and allow the audience a chance to enjoy an evening at the opera. Each scene will include a brief explanation of the opera that it is from.
This class is an opportunity for all students interested in classical singing and opera to get their feet wet. Professor Tahere stated, “The opera scenes courses I’ve taken were some of the most influential in my development, not to mention fun,” and he hopes that all of the students will have the same experience he did.