Lyric Theater Training

Opera/Operetta/Musical Theater

The St. Olaf College Music Department provides aspiring singer-actors with a variety of training and performing opportunities that prepare them for the challenges of this richly rewarding artistic pursuit. Production repertoire and coursework are designed to nurture the growth of a healthy young performer in an environment of artistry, creativity, cooperation, support, and respect with the full support and mentorship of the voice faculty.

Lyric Theater Season

Unique among private liberal arts colleges in the state, the St. Olaf Music Department offers a complete Lyric Theater season of three fully-produced operas, operettas, or musicals as well as an evening of opera scenes in order to provide St. Olaf students with a broad spectrum of practical lyric theatre opportunities during their college careers. Past productions include Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, Bizet’s Carmen, Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges, Sondheim’s Company, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, and the world-premiere of James McKeel’s jazz-era opera Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum.

Student-Directed Productions

Each year in the Spring Semester the Music Department offers qualified student stage and music directors* (Juniors or Seniors) an opportunity to direct an opera, operetta, or musical under the guidance of the Lyric Theater staff. The student directors are responsible for auditions, music and staging rehearsals, space reservations, set, lighting, and costume designs, and public relations. The experience is of special value to Music Education students who may be required to direct middle school/high school productions as part of their future teaching responsibilities, but is also open to other BA and BM music majors. Interested student directors or directing teams may apply in OCTOBER following an announcement from the Lyric Theater Staff.
This production requires an audition, but is NOT a course.

*The Student Director positions require a substantial time/energy commitment and should only be considered by students with a manageable academic load in the semester of the production.


Majors and Non-Majors are welcome to the following courses and productions:

Lyric Theater Courses:

Acting for the Lyric Stage — Theater 131
A team-taught course in the St. Olaf Theater Department which introduces students to the preparation and performance of musical theatre repertoire. This course culminates in the performance of solos and duets. Open to all classes and offered each year in the Spring Semester.
No audition required. 

Advanced Acting for the Lyric Stage— Music 267 
A team-taught course in the St. Olaf Music Department which introduces students to the preparation and performance of opera and operetta. This course culminates in a full production. Open to all classes and offered each year in the Fall Semester.
A Spring audition is required. Leads must register for the course. 

Opera Creation Residency in the Schools: Civic Engagement — Music 268
This course is designed for students interested in civic engagement in the arts and arts fusion projects. Participants mentor students from a local elementary school in an Opera Creation Residency as the elementary students compose and perform their own original works. The course culminates in staged public performances. Enrollment is subject to a fall interview/audition. Open to all students and may be repeated once. Of special interest to music educators, composers, choreographers, performers. Offered Interim 2013-14 and alternate years.

Opera Workshop — Music 269 
A course taught during the January Interim which builds on the concepts of the aforementioned courses and culminates in a full production. Open to all classes and offered most years in the January Interim.
A Fall Audition is required.