Showcase your talent on stage: you’ll do that here.

The Southeast Missouri State Opera Theatre program allows students to improve their acting technique, audition skills, and musical style while blossoming into seasoned performers. 

The Opera Theatre program at Southeast Missouri State University showcases the best that opera has to offer through beautiful singing and innovative storytelling. Each academic year we produce a fully staged opera, and a smaller scenes program with solos, duets, and small ensembles. This program allows students to grow into sophisticated performers. Auditions are held the first week of classes during the fall semester and are open to all students regardless of major. 

About our latest Production 

The Marriage of Figaro - January 29 and 31 
Performance Notes from Christopher Goeke 

Does Life imitate Art? Or does Art imitate Life? The Department of Music’s production of Mozart’s comic masterpiece Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) may shed light on that question. Thisupdated version of what is arguably one of the most popular operas ever written will take into account all the complications of 2020. 

Over the past summer, our creative team, Music Faculty members Dr. Leslie Jones, Dr. Timothy Schmidt, and myself, met over socially distanced coffee in the park to work on the problem of how to present opera in time of COVID. We decided to embrace our circumstances and push forward with the production, incorporating necessary safety procedures into rehearsals and performances. In order to facilitate these changes, we updated the time period of the opera, shortened the show by changing the specialized recitative sections to English dialogue, made some judicious cuts, and decided to sing Mozart’s glorious music in the original Italian. The practice of dialogue in English and singing in the original language is a common adaptation in universities. 

The cast has unflinchingly and bravely taken up the challenges and have endured masks, online rehearsals, distancing, testing, even quarantining in the fall semester to able to present this landmark opera. 

Other considerations you will notice during our very “covid opera” are that performers will wear masks and will be socially distanced on stage. The masks were specially made for our production by a family member of one of our cast members. These masks include a little extra room in the nose and chin areas as well as a plastic spline to prevent collapsing fabric while breathing in. Another change (which was a very difficult decision for us) is that we will not be able to utilize a live orchestra, as has been our tradition for decades. This change is necessary to prevent orchestra players from being in very tight space for long periods of time. Fortunately, our cast members are able come and go on the stage very frequently in the course of their character duties and aren’t faced with that obstacle. 

Mozart’s beautifully expressive and captivating music illustrates the emotions of these flawed humans so effectively that the play works in any time period and place. Mozart and librettist Da Ponte created a timeless masterpiece dealing with these human foibles. In a light-hearted way they put a spotlight on a serious subject. 

So here we are. I think you will find that Art is certainly imitating Life in this production. And, in these tumultuous times, we should be so lucky as to have Life imitate the Art expressed in The Marriage of Figaro - if all could be as forgiving as the Countess, as true and loyal as Susanna, and as persistent as Figaro in pursuing life, truth, and happiness. 

Don’t miss this “opera-tunity” to experience one of the best operas ever written! Performances on January 29 at 7:30 p.m. and January 31 at 3 p.m. at the Bedell Performance Hall at the River Campus.

Recent Productions 

  • Cendrillon (Cinderella) by P. Viardot 
  • The Bartered Bride by Smetana 
  • Die Zauberflöte by Mozart 
  • Il campanello di notte by Donizetti 
  • The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan 
  • The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart 
  • Suor Angelica by Puccini 
  • Dido and Aeneas by Purcell 
  • Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti
Contact Us
River Campus Seminary, 254
Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 7800
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701