Black Hills State University will host the Gala Celebration of the Arts, Saturday, June 9, in the Clare and Josef Meier Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m.  The Gala is the opening event for the Johanna Meier Opera Theater Institute, a two-week program for advanced singers from across the United States. The program will be an enjoyable variety of short selections from the worlds of music, dance, and literature, as well as renowned Greek pianist Charis Dimaras.

Included in the program will be the two first-place winners from the Young Talent Competition held June 8. Ballet dancers from the Academy of Dance Arts in Rapid City will perform dances choreographed by directors Julia McFarland and Paul Burns.

The second half of the program will feature Dimaras, who will perform several solo selections. Dimaras earned diplomas from the Royal College of Music in London, the Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School of Music. He has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and China. Presently teaching at Ithaca College in New York, Dimaras will serve as musical coordinator and accompanist for many of the Institute performances. A reception will follow the performance; cocktail or business attire is suggested. Tickets will be available at the door; $10 for adults and $8 for children and seniors.

The Opera Theater Institute is in its 14th year. Artistic director Johanna Meier is an internationally acclaimed opera singer who has worked to help further arts and culture in her hometown of Spearfish. She is committed to enhancing the education of career-oriented musicians whose goal is performance, and brings her many years of stage experience to help students reach their goals. Many of her professional colleagues in the opera world come to join in the endeavor as faculty and staff members. The 23 participants, who are selected by special auditions, participate in master classes, staging sessions, individual coaching sessions, body movement classes, and career advising sessions.

Saturday, June 16, students will perform solo operatic arias in a concert open to the public with no admission charge. The Aria and Song Evening will be held in Meier Hall at 7:30 p.m. The opera program culminates in performances of opera scenes, which have been staged and coached by directors from major national opera companies.

These opera performances will be held Friday, June 22 in Woodburn Auditorium and Saturday, June 23 in Meier Recital Hall, both at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door; $15 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. There will be a pre-opera lecture by Johanna Meier on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door. On Saturday, A catered buffet dinner is available Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in the Meier Hall Lobby. Dinner tickets are $15, and reservations are required. Call 642-6420 or email Terri.Bjorum@BHSU.edu for reservations or for more information.