The CSUN Opera program is known for its integrated, sequential curriculum. We believe that there are techniques to be learned that lead to the development of complete performers, and that these techniques are best learned in a logical, cumulative way. The opera student will first take Performance Techniques where emphasis is on the individual's craft. In Opera Workshop, the student learns techniques of ensemble acting and singing. Finally, Advanced Opera Performance offers the student the opportunity to utilize his/her accumulated technique and experience in fully professional productions.
The first course in our opera sequence, Performance Techniques introduces ways to utilize the face, body and voice in healthy, coordinated ways. The class begins with group exercises for the face and body, as well the powerful technique of centering. Using their own repertoire, each individual learns skills to release body tension, focus their energy and tap into their own creative impulses. The course culminates in an original production that is created by the students, utilizing classical repertoire and improvised dialogue.
CSUN Opera Workshop is the second course in our performance sequence. Students are assigned roles in operatic scenes in order to develop their abilities as singer/actors in an ensemble---interacting with others on stage. Scenes are chosen from a variety of compositional periods. They are staged and performed in their original language on the CSUN campus and throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
Primary focus is placed on the following aspects the singer/actor's craft:
- role preparation/research
- proper foreign language diction
- dramatic /musical choices
Advanced Opera Performances
Mercedes Juan, artistic director
The CSUN Opera Theater presents two fully staged productions each year. These are produced in collaboration with the award-winning CSUN Theatre Department which provides full sets and costumes for every production. The CSUN Symphony serves as the opera orchestra for all productions. Repertoire is carefully chosen to highlight the strengths and abilities of students. A general master plan is followed to provide a wide variety of stylistic experiences, including Baroque, Classical, Bel Canto, Romantic, Contemporary and Musical Theater. Auditions area held at the end of each semester for the following semester's production.
Pamela Blanc, instructor
This extraordinary class is guided by the basic principles of neuromuscular re-education developed by. F. M. Alexander. Habitual movements that may cause excessive muscular tension are identified, and alternative mental images and instructions are substituted to help the student attain an efficient body alignment to achieve their maximum potential. The Alexander Technique has been shown to be highly effective when dealing with issues such as focus, tension and stage fright.
An integral part of the Vocal Arts area at CSUN is the lyric diction curriculum. A sequence of three courses emphasize correct lyric diction for the English, Italian, German and French languages. In addition, students are provided with a thorough knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet, providing them with the tools to transcribe texts in nearly all languages in the repertoire. Each course emphasizes a comprehensive academic understanding of the course material as well as its application through frequent in-class performances of art song and operatic repertoire.
Study and performance of vocal literature from the Baroque to the 21st century.