The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


Opera Workshop Gives a Taste of Music’s Best


Stephanie Ortiz, who performed “Una Donna A Quindici Ani…” with Natalie Zapien and Anakira Gabriella-Garcia in the Opera Fling. (Signal Photo/Avalon Perez)

From the works of Sondheim to Mozart, the Fall Opera Fling showcased students with a love and passion for theater. 

Unlike most majors, the final exam for these vocalists is public, and the examiners have all paid for their seats. However, these examinees were up to the test.

CSU Stanislaus’ Opera and Musical Theatre Workshops offer a “sampler platter” to listeners, letting them experience lively performances while also giving young performers a valuable chance to polish select pieces for their resumes.

“It’s not just opera, you’re getting a taste of everything else,” said Stephanie Ortiz, a Vocal Performance graduate student and performer.

“It’s like, the best of opera and musical theater you can get in one place,” said Luca Mitchell, a Vocal Performance major.

Mitchell noted how useful and important it is for young performers to have a selection of songs prepped for future auditions.

“It’s great for the students and the listeners. For someone who’s finished a vocal degree, [the workshop] is really useful,” said Mitchell.

The event is organized and directed by Dr. Joseph Wiggett, who maintains an Applied Voice Studio and also teaches Vocal Pedagogy, Lyric Diction, and Vocal Literature. Over the course of the semester, Wiggett personally instructs and advises the performers, helping them fine tune their work. 

“As soon as you dip your toes in and take that leap, you’re gonna want to stay,” says Kiara Taylor, a Music Education major who performed opera for the first time just two years ago.

Taylor also helped with several of the costumes worn by the performers, who are responsible for securing their own wardrobe. Taylor played a major role in the song selection and eventual performance.

“This semester I really liked the works of Stephen Sondheim,” she said. 

Taylor dazzled audiences with her rendition of Sondheim’s upbeat and zany number “Another Hundred People” from the 1995 Broadway Company. Like Taylor, Luca Mitchell also performed a song from Company moving the crowd the emotional, and deeply poignant “Being Alive”.

This was contrasted by the equally impressive, but more classical arrangements from operas like the playful Cosi Fan Tutti, and the grim Samson et Delila

Although this year’s performance has passed, the opportunity to participate–and perform–is still open to local music lovers and students.

“It’s there for everybody, every semester. For me who’s graduated and come back, it brings me a lot of nostalgia. Learning never stops, and we’re here to keep growing and show everybody all the hard work we’ve done,” said Ortiz. 

Anyone interested in participating next semester may contact Dr. Wiggett. CSU Stan’s vocal workshops are available in both the spring and the fall, and while they are recommended for vocal majors, they are open to any music lover with basic training and the drive to learn.

Best of all, the performances from this year are available online through the Stan State Department of Music’s Youtube account, so any and all can still enjoy the show!

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Opera Workshop Gives a Taste of Music’s Best