Ithaca College School of Music provides wide array of opportunities to all undergraduate and graduate voice majors interested in opera. With an emphasis on individualized instruction and practical performance experience, the Opera Curriculum offers courses and significant performance opportunities to students of all levels. Ithaca College alumni have matriculated into leading graduate programs, including CCM, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and University of Michigan, and performed with the Santa Fe Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Glimmerglass Festival, and many others.
The Mainstage Opera is an annual collaboration between the School of Music and the Department of Theatre Arts. Open by audition to all students, it provides an opportunity for voice majors to be part of a complete operatic production. Here students gain performance experience through collaborating with fellow cast members, directors, conductors, designers, technicians, and stage management. Students develop a deeper understanding of the how a production is conceived, from the first vocal coaching to closing night. Performances are fully staged with costumes, lights, sets, and full orchestra. Recent productions have included Handel's Semele, Ravel's L'enfant et les sortileges, the regional premiere of Rachel Portman's opera The Little Prince in collaboration with the Ithaca Children's Choir, Monteverdi's Orfeo, Mozart's Magic Flute, Puccini's Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, and Chabrier's L'Etoile.
Beyond the mainstage production, there are plenty of other venues through which students have ample opportunities to develop and hone their skills.
Acting and Movement for Singers is a foundational course in acting for opera that is unique to Ithaca College. Open to voice majors of all levels, students learn to engage with text and music to make specific, informed choices about character and action; employ props, costume pieces and the physical environment onstage to externalize character choices; develop spatial awareness and stagecraft technique; collaborate with a scene partner; survey the styles of acting and approaches to movement that most directly inform current professional practice. Topics and skills include stage combat fundamentals, Viewpoints, gesture, period movement, and role preparation. The course culminates in the dramatic preparation of a role and the public performance of an aria from that role as part of the class showcase.
Advanced Acting is a series of topical courses that explore acting techniques for the advanced opera student. Topics have included Shakespeare and Classical Acting for the Opera Singer, in which students learn classical acting techniques from the Royal Shakespeare Company, prepare and perform a dramatic monologue from Shakespeare's plays, study major operatic adaptations of Shakespeare's work, and perform a scenes from these operas. Future courses include the Seminar in Opera Directing, an introductory course on directing for opera that is cross-registered with the Department of Theatre Arts, Michael Chekhov for the Opera Singer and other intensive, hands-on courses.
Juniors, seniors and graduate students are eligible to audition for Opera Workshop, an in-depth overview of the art, the craft, and the field of opera in today's world. Culminating in a staged performance in which students perform roles, Opera Workshop projects have included scenes programs, chamber operas and contemporary works. The initial goal of the class is to introduce students to all aspects of this art form that requires acute skills not only in singing, but also in acting, languages, movement, and much more. Opera Workshop offers a variety of training in such areas as audition technique, interpretation, and scene study through performance opportunities, collaborative group projects, and invaluable feedback - the overall objective being to facilitate self-assessment and self-awareness and to prepare the student to enter a field that is at once both challenging and rewarding.