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USD Opera Presents 'Zoom Speed Dating Tonight' May 1

Zoom Speed Dating Tonight Graphic USD Opera presents "Zoom Speed Dating Tonight" Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Opera presents “Zoom Speed Dating Tonight” Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. online.

“Zoom Speed Dating Tonight” takes a funny, yet poignant look at the challenges of human connection during a global pandemic. With music and words by Michael Ching, based on a concept by Dean Anthony, the musical styles range from traditionally operatic to musical theatre, cabaret, pop and the Great American Songbook.

USD Opera commissioned Ching, a nationally recognized composer, conductor and music administrator, to write two new songs for the production, which will be premiered for the first time May 1.

Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A., professor of voice/opera and the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair, directs the production. “The students have learned a lot about acting for the camera, filming scenes with an imaginary scene partner and using technology,” Gesteland said. “Even though it is called ‘Zoom Speed Dating Tonight,’ Zoom was hardly ever used. Instead, students used their phones to film their scenes individually, with all of the reaction shots being added in post-production.”

The production will include current students and USD Opera alumni from all over the nation.

“The virtual nature of this show allowed us to reach out to former students, allowing them to ‘interact’ with our current students, even though many of them have never met,” said Gesteland.

“Zoom Speed Dating Tonight” will be released at


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News