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  • USU Opera Theatre

    The USU Opera Theatre offers students the opportunity to participate in a fully-staged opera or musical every year under the musical direction of Professor Dallas Heaton. Focusing on repertoire in English, undergraduates are able to concentrate on the fundamentals of stagecraft - the art of telling a story through sight and song. Professional guest stage directors are brought in from across the country and around the world to give students an authentic experience and further preparation for a career as a performer or teacher of opera.


    Utah State’s Opera Theatre has proven to be an excellent starting place for young singers, many of whom have gone on to further study at some of the nation's finest graduate schools and conservatories and then on to enjoy an accomplished careers with prominent companies around the world.


    In addition to full productions, students also have the opportunity to prepare roles and selected scenes through a yearly Opera Scenes program tailored to individual voices. Through close collaboration with voice professors, students are able to acquire a comprehensive set of necessary musical, technical, and acting skills that can serve as a foundation for continued growth. Opera scholarships are also available, providing additional performing opportunities as part of the Marie Eccles Caine-Russell Family Opera Outreach Quartet.


    Although the USU Opera Theatre is primarily an ensemble for Vocal Performance majors, all interested students are welcome to audition. Please contact Prof. Dallas Heaton for more information on how to be involved!


    The USU Opera Theatre is excited to announce the following productions for the 2016-2017 year:

    • Studio production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Boy Who Grew Too Fast, November 18-19, 2016 at 7:30 in FA-214. Sung in English and unticketed, this production is intended for audiences of all ages, with special invitations extended to audience members with special needs!
    • Mainstage performance of Mozart’s rarely-heard masterpiece La finta giardiniera in collaboration with the USU Symphony Orchestra. Guest directed by world-renowned director Daniel Helfgot and conducted by USU's very own Sergio Bernal, this production will run February 2-4, 2017 at 7:30 in the Morgan Theatre with a matinee performance Feb. 4 at 2:00. Sung in Italian with English dialogue and supertitles. Purchase tickets here.
    • Opera and musical theatre scenes, March 24-25, 2017 at 7:30 in FA-214.


    Past productions of the USU Opera Theatre include:




    Fall 2016

    The Boy who Grew too Fast

    Interactive Disney Cabaret



    Spring 2016

    Songs for a New World

    La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina

    Jason Robert Brown

    Francesca Caccini

    Fall 2015

    The Raspberry War

    Trial by Jury

    Robert Boury

    Gilbert & Sullivan

    Spring 2015

    Help! Help!, The Globolinks


    Fall 2014

    Spring 2014

    Songs of Love & Loss

    The Merry Wives of Windsor



    Spring 2013

    Die Fledermaus


    Fall 2012


    Spring 2012

    The Pirates of Penzance


    Radio Soap Opera

    Gilbert & Sullivan; a collaboration with USU Theatre Department

     The Old Maid & The Thief and other Menotti excerpts

    Spring 2011

    Giulio Cesare

    The Magic Flute



    Fall 2010


    Flaherty; a collaboration with USU Theatre Department

    Spring 2010

    Gianni Schicchi

    Scenes from The Merry Wives of Windsor


    Albert Herring




    Benjamin Britten

    Fall 2009


    The Wolf and Seven Kids

    Scenes from Cosi Fan Tutte

    Sweeney Todd


    Shane Mickelson (USU student)


    Sondheim & Wheeler; a collaboration with USU Theatre Department

    Spring 2009

    La Rondine


    Fall 2008



    Spring 2008

    Luisa Fernanda


    Fall 2007

    Amahl and the Night Visitors

    Hansel and Gretel



    Spring 2007

    L’Elisir d’Amore


    Fall 2006

    The Tender Land


    Spring 2006

    The Ballad of Baby Doe


    Fall 2005

    The Bartered Bride


    Spring 2005

    Riders to the Sea

    Trial By Jury


    Gilbert and Sullivan

    Fall 2004

    La Vida Breve

    de Falla

    Spring 2004

    L’enfant et les sortilèges

    The Old Maid and the Thief



    Fall 2003

    Signor Deluso

    Suor Angelica




    Images from past productions: 


    Photo Credits: Andrew McAllister, Caine College of the Arts photographer


    Thanks to the generosity of the Marie Eccles Caine-Russell Family, Utah State Opera is able to offer four scholarships for outstanding voice performance majors to be part of the USU Opera Outreach Quartet. As their primary responsibility, the Quartet presents a mini opera or musical at high schools throughout northern Utah and southern Idaho. If you would like to schedule a performance at your school, please contact Rebecca Soelberg, the quartet student manager.


    The Quartet recently presented excerpts of The Sun Dance Opera by William Hanson and Zitkala-Sa as part of the Museum + Music series on Feb. 21. Premiered in Vernal, Utah, in 1903, the piece presents a unique peek into the intersection of cultures in Utah in the early 20th-century. Stay tuned for future projects!


    Recipients for the 2016-17 school year are Rebecca Solberg, soprano; McKenna Smith, soprano; Kiah Brown, mezzo-soprano; and Benjamin Krutsch, tenor.


    Opera Outreach Quartet 

    2016-17 Opera Outreach Quartet: (L to R) Rebecca Soelberg, McKenna Smith, Benjamin Krutsch, and Kiah Brown.

    Photo courtesy of Andrew McAllister.


    Quartet Member Bios


    Rebecca Soelberg, soprano, is a senior vocal performance major from Boise, ID. Rebecca spent this past summer as a Young Performing Missionary in Nauvoo, Illinois. She recently appeared in USU Opera Theatre production of Songs for a New World. She also appeared in Utah State’s theatre productions Sondheim on Sondheim and Bonnie and Clyde. Rebecca was a featured soloist with the USU Chamber Singers on their new album On a Cold Winter's Night. She has worked for semi-professional theatre companies performing roles such as The Narrator (Joseph...Dreamcoat) and the Wardrobe (Beauty and the Beast).


    McKenna Smith, soprano, is a freshman vocal performance major from Brigham City, UT. McKenna has performed as Cosette in Les Miserables, Maria in Sound of Music, and Marion in Happy Days. She has received honors for three years at State Solo and Ensemble, performed with the BEHS Madrigals for two years, and won 1st place at region Musical Theatre Competition. McKenna is a Caine Scholar and looks forward to the many opportunities Utah State has in store for her.


    Kiah Brown is a junior in the vocal performance program from Blackfoot, Idaho. She has been involved in many different performing groups since her childhood. Her love of music and performing extends deeply into the musical theater and opera worlds, with roles such as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Maria in The Sound of Music, and as a part of Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury.


    Benjamin Krutsch,tenor, is a junior vocal performance major from Springville, UT. Benjamin recently appeared in USU’s productions of La liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola di Alcina and Trial By Jury. Benjamin is a member of the USU Chamber Singers, where he has appeared as a featured soloist on National Public Radio and two albums. He also performed in USU’s production of Die Fledermaus, as Gabriel von Eisenstein. He took second place at the Cal-Western Region NATS Vocal Competition and was the winner of the 2012 Utah County Ladies of the Elks soloist competition. He was also selected as Springville High School’s 2012 Deseret News Sterling Scholar of Music.