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Death by Chocolate and Aria event graphic

“Death by Chocolate & Aria: Divas at the Dome” is an elegant evening of dessert, wine and song presented by the USD Department of Music and the Friends of USD Opera.

Saturday, January 22, 2022
7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
DakotaDome Club (Use east entrance at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center, off Taylor Drive from N. University Street)
$60 per person
Proceeds from this event will support the USD Opera
Formal or semi-formal dress encouraged

For tickets and/or donations, go to or call 605-677-6703.

The USD Opera offers students the opportunity to bring music and drama to life on the stage. The multiple national award-winning program trains performers to become believable and compelling singing-actors in operatic literature from the Baroque period through the contemporary lyric theater.

Every year, USD Opera produces a minimum of two productions. The fall production consists of a children’s opera, one-act or scenes program and includes outreach opportunities in the region. In the spring, USD Opera produces a full main stage opera with orchestra.

Opera students find out who they are as artists as they receive individual attention and personalized guidance from dedicated, highly skilled and acclaimed faculty. Find your voice, unlock your potential and discover your passion for a lifetime.

Step into the spotlight!

Give to USD Opera

View Photos of Past Performances


Auditions for the fall production occur in the first week of classes in the fall semester. Spring production auditions take place in early December. For most of the auditions, an aria or song of your choice is requested and a pianist is provided. Audition information is posted in the Fine Arts building, but the auditions are open to all students. If cast, students must register for 1 credit of Opera Workshop (MUEN 107/307/707).


Rehearsals take place from 2 - 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, however, for some roles, M-W-F or T-Th availability may be acceptable at the discretion of the director. Additional rehearsals may be required in the evening and on weekends, particularly in the spring semester.

Upcoming Productions 2021-2022:

  • "All Together Now: Operatic Scenes and Ensembles,” featuring a variety of scenes by Bizet, Copland, Donizetti, Humperdinck, Mozart, Rossini, Sondheim, and Gilbert & Sullivan.
  • Directed by Juan Carlos Mendoza, D.M.A.
      • Saturday, November 20 at 7:30pm in Colton Recital Hall
      • Sunday, November 21 at 3:00pm in Colton Recital Hall
    • 2nd Annual “Death by Chocolate & Aria: Divas at the Dome” Opera Gala.
      • Saturday, January 22 at 7:00pm at the Dome Club (Sanford Coyote Sports Center)
    • Main stage opera:  Handel’s masterpiece, Alcina, centers on a malicious sorceress who uses her magic to make men fall in love with her and turns them into stone when she tires of them.  Alcina has captured the knight Ruggiero, whose fiancée, Bradamante, embarks on a rescue mission to save her love, setting the stage for a climatic showdown.  Will Alcina’s evil spell finally be broken?
    • Directed by Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A.
    • Conducted by Luis Viquez, D.M.A.
      • Saturday, April 30 at 7:30pm in Aalfs Auditorium (Slagle Hall)
      • Sunday, May 1 at 3:00pm in Aalfs Auditorium (Slagle Hall)

    For questions or more information, please contact:

    Name Department & Office Contact
    Tracelyn Gesteland
    • Professor, Voice/Opera
    W M Lee Center for Fine Arts 127

    The USD Opera has won national awards and received recognition every year since 2011:

    National Awards

     2019 The Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music Finalist
     2019 The American Prize in Opera Performance Semifinalist
     2018 The American Prize in Opera Performance Semifinalist
     2017 The American Prize in Opera Performance Honorable Mention
    2016 The American Prize in Opera Performance Second Place
    2015 The American Prize in Opera Performance Semifinalist
    2014 The American Prize in Opera Performance Finalist
    2013 The American Prize in Opera Performance Second Place
    2012 National Opera Association Third Place
    2011 National Opera Association’s national convention Featured Performers