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Vocal Performance/Opera

Applied voice study at Luther College is the largest area of concentration in the music major. Distinguished voice faculty in sixteen voice studios serve more than 350 students. Participation in one of the six choral ensembles is a requirement for the more than 175 music majors who elect vocal performance as their area of study. A required solo recital is performed in the third or fourth year of applied study; a second recital is possible with permission from the applied instructor. In addition to the core music course requirements, students have the opportunity to take courses in diction, vocal literature, vocal coaching, and participate as soloists in oratorio and opera performances.

Oratorio performance is part of a long tradition at Luther College. In the spring semester of alternating years, the orchestra, choral, and vocal areas collaborate in the presentation of a major work. Students may audition for solos in many of these. Recent performances have included Walton’s "Belshazzar’s Feast", Mozart’s "Coronation Mass", Haydn’s "Lord Nelson Mass", Brahms' "Requiem", Bach’s "St. John Passion", and a commissioned work, "Luther Mass", by Stephen Paulus.

Opera workshop/production courses offer opportunities for students to develop the craft of acting and singing. Each spring the music department presents a fully staged, costumed opera. Students participate not only as singers but also as part of the production crew, learning the technical and musical aspects of opera as music theater. Recent productions include Offenbach’s "Orpheus In the Underworld" (2013), Mozart’s "Così fan tutte" (2012), Weill’s "Street Scene" (2011), and Mozart’s "The Marriage of Figaro" (2010). Main stage productions are accompanied by orchestra in alternating years; most are sung in English or English translations. In addition, scenes from operas are presented as a culminating performance experience in the fall opera workshop and January-term first-year seminar.

The Alan R. and Sally J. Brudos Family Prize for Opera Performance ($5,000) is an auditioned scholarship award. It is presented each year to an outstanding junior voice student with the stated intent of pursuing opera as a career path. Coinciding with the Brudos auditions, The David Greedy Voice Scholarship ($1,500) is also awarded to an outstanding junior singer with career aspirations. Various other scholarships are available to prospective students through auditions prior to attending Luther College. These, like the above course offerings and applied lessons, are available to non-music majors as well.

Many Luther College alumni perform with major opera houses, both internationally and domestically. Others attend distinguished graduate programs in music, and go on to teach in university, college, and public and private education positions. Current students are able to learn from these distinguished alumni and other leading professionals who present recitals, master classes, and clinics on campus. These visiting teachers and singers are associated with graduate schools, young artist programs, and opera companies. Their presence gives our students tangible contact to the wider singing world.

Past guests have included:

Stephen Austin (University of North Texas)
Karen Brunssen ‘75 (Northwestern University)
Eric Cutler ’99
Michael Dean (University of California at Los Angeles)
Linda DiFiore (University of California at Santa Barbara, University of North Texas)
Aaron Judisch ‘99
Martin Katz (vocal coach/collaborative pianist; University of Michigan)
Eric Melear ‘95 (Houston Grand Opera, Associate Music Director)
Caroline Worra ’91
John Wustman (vocal coach/collaborative pianist; University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana)