Luther College Fall Opera Scenes performances Nov. 22-23: 'Duels, Divorce, and Divas: The Drama Unraveled'

Luther College students in the fall opera scenes program will present "Duels, Divorce, and Divas: The Drama Unraveled" at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, and 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, in the Noble Recital Hall of the Jenson-Noble Hall of Music on the Luther campus.

The performances are open to the public with no charge for admission.

Directed by Luther College professors Karen Kanakis and Jacob Lassetter, the program will feature scenes drawn from well-known operas, including Verdi's "La traviata," Offenbach's "Les contes d'Offmann," Beethoven's "Fidelio," Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors," Verdis "Falstaff," Moore's "The Ballad of Baby Doe" and Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onégin."

Students performing in "Duels, Divorce, and Divas" are Luther seniors Steven Halloin, Jenna Hoge, Christopher Hughes, Kari Jensen and Emily Rauch; juniors Brianna Clancy, James Deignan, Martin Kulstad, Kelley Lokensgard, James Odegaard, Braun Oldenkamp, Hannah Scholbrock and Alison Vuolo; and sophomores Wesley Frye, Kristin Housholder, Chelanga Langason, Patrick Pauloski, Alexandra Polk, Julia Reimann, Brianna Shelly and Alexander Spragle.

Collaborative pianists for the performances are Luther seniors Robert Ragoonanan, Esme Wong and Luther sophomore Shayla De Jong.

Kanakis, who made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Weill Recital Hall, performs extensively overseas and in the United States with the Des Moines Metro Opera, the Utah Festival Opera Company and numerous symphony orchestras. 

She holds a bachelor's degree in music, cum laude, from Missouri State University, a master's degree in music from Stephen F. Austin State University and a doctor of musical arts from the University of North Texas. A Rotary International Graduate Scholar, she also studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Westfalen-Lippe in Germany. Kanakis was a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has performed more than 20 leading operatic roles in both the U.S. and Italy and is a frequent concert soloist with symphony and choral organizations.

Lassetter, who made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2008, holds a bachelor's degree in music, magna cum laude, from Louisiana State University, a master's degree in music from The University of North Texas, and a doctor of musical arts from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Lassetter's operatic repertoire includes the title roles in Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "Le Nozze di Figaro," Enrico in "Lucia di Lammermoor," Don Alfonso in "Cosi fan tutte," and Griswold in Dominick Argento's "The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe." His concert credits include Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Handel's "Messiah," and Bach's "St. John Passion" and "St. Matthew Passion."

Lassetter was named a semi-finalist in the Marguerite McCammon Voice Competition. He was a regional finalist in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award Competition and received the Encouragement Award from the Southern Ohio District of The Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. He is an alumnus of the young artist programs of Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and the Utah Festival Opera.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,500, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the bachelor of arts degree in 60 majors and preprofessional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: www.luther.edu.