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Opera at CWU

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Opera at CWU

Opera is a vital part of the CWU Vocal Program, producing at least one operatic production each year. The CWU Opera provides a positive learning experience for music students in all aspects of stagecraft and performance culminating in an enjoyable offering of polished operatic entertainment for the Ellensburg community. Every other year, CWU produces a fully staged opera production in collaboration with the CWU Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dr. Nikolas Caoile providing invaluable experience to the singers on stage and the orchestral players in the pit. Recent productions include The Magic Flute and Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart, Die Fledermaus by Strauss and The Tender Land by Copland. In the alternating years, students perform in a wide variety of opera scenes allowing students to focus on repertoire appropriate for their level, from beginner to advanced. 

CWU productions have received national recognition from the National Opera Association in the Opera Video Production Competition and Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition.

  • 2017    2nd Place Winner in the Collegiate Opera Scenes
    Competition, Act I Part 2 from Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi
  • 2017   Finalist in the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition, Act 1
    Scene from The Old Maid and the Thief by Gian Carlo
  • 2012     2nd Place Category 2, Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini
  • 2012     Finalist in the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition, Eugene Onegin Finale
     Peter Tchaikovsky
  • 2011     2nd Place Category 2, A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim
  • 2010     1st Place, Category 1, The Tender Land by Aaron Copland


Scene from Mostly MozartIn addition to the annual opera production, CWU offers a variety of courses in operatic training, including Diction for Singers and Opera History. Students are given the opportunity to coach and work on operatic repertoire in private voice lessons as well as in Weekly Studio Classes with CWU faculty members. Singers often receive individual dramatic coaching in addition to their applied study. The annual Over-the-TOPera concert offers another unique performance opportunity for students to explore operatic repertoire. Master classes with visiting professionals from the around the country also help students perfect their performance skills.

Student interest in opera is supported by the SNATS Club, which provides financial support to the Opera Ensemble and a valuable performance opportunity at the popular Bella Notte event. SNATS also provides travel funding for vocal students to the annual Inland Empire NATS competition, subsidizes frequent student trips to see professional operas and shows outside of Ellensburg and sponsors vocal master classes and speakers.

Please contact Dr. Gayla Blaisdell with any questions and “LIKE” our CWU Opera Ensemble page on Facebook!  We’d love to share the excitement of opera at CWU with you!

Gayla Blaisdell, Ph.D. 
Associate Prof. of Voice and Opera
Central Washington University
400 East University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7458

509-963-1316 (phone)
509-963-1239 (fax)


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