Opera at USD

The USD Opera offers training and performance opportunities for students interested in the art of opera. Every semester, students enrolled in opera workshop have the opportunity to study and perform operatic literature from the common practice period as well as contemporary lyric theater.

Students develop and refine their vocal technique, acting and movement ability, musicianship, ensemble skills, knowledge of performance practices and overall artistry through rehearsals and public performances, both on and off campus.

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.

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 2018-2019:

  • Hansel & Gretel (abridged) - Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. Colton Recital Hall
  • Cendrillon (Cinderella) - April 27 at 7:30 p.m. and April 28 at 3 p.m. Aalfs Auditorium

For questions or more information, please contact:

Name Department & Office Contact
Tracelyn Gesteland
  • Associate 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

 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