Students on stage during Death by Chocolate & Aria

Join USD Opera for Death by Chocolate & Aria Jan. 25 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Red Steakhouse, 1 E. Main St. in Vermillion. For $50 per person, enjoy an elegant evening of dessert, wine and song presented by the College of Fine Arts and the Department of Music. Proceeds from the event will support the USD Opera. Formal or semi-formal dress is encouraged. Call 605-677-6703 for more information.

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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.

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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 2019-2020:

  • "Many Moons" (A fantasy children’s opera) – Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 24 at 3 p.m. Colton Recital Hall (in the Lee Center for the Fine Arts). Directed by Nicholas Provenzale, D.M.A.
  • Gilbert & Sullivan’s "The Gondoliers" – May 2 at 7:30 p.m. and May 3 at 3 p.m. Aalfs Auditorium (inside Slagle Hall). Directed by Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A.

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
Nicholas Provenzale
  • Assistant Professor, Voice/Opera
W M Lee Center for Fine Arts 126

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

National Awards

 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