Johanna Meier Opera Theater Institute at BHSU celebrates 16th and final year

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, June 17, 2014/Categories: 2014

            Black Hills State University student Kirk Hauck, music and psychology major from Spearfish, will perform in Mozart's beloved "Marriage of Figaro" during the Johanna Meier Opera Theater Institute's final performance.

The Johanna Meier Opera Theater Institute at Black Hills State University celebrates its 16th and final year with two special performances. On Friday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m. scenes from several famous operas will be performed in the Clare and Josef Meier Recital Hall and Saturday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. performers will present a condensed English version of Mozart&rsquos beloved "Marriage of Figaro" featuring BHSU student Kirk Hauck, music and psychology major from Spearfish, in the Woodburn Auditorium. Both performances, sponsored by BHSU, include a pre-performance lecture by internationally acclaimed opera singer and Spearfish resident Johanna Meier.

After retiring from her singing career, Meier worked tirelessly to help further arts and culture in her hometown of Spearfish. She is committed to enhancing education of career-oriented musicians whose goal is performance. She brings many years of stage experience to help students reach their goals.

Many of her professional colleagues in the opera world annually join in the endeavor as faculty and staff members. The 24 participants, who are selected by special auditions, participate in master classes, staging sessions, individual coaching sessions, body movement classes, and career advising sessions.

Former participants of the Institute have won major vocal competitions and have been offered many opportunities that will further their opera and singing careers. The opera program culminates with a performance of opera scenes, which have been staged and coached by directors form major national opera companies.

The music direction and conductor of the program is John Stewart, former director of vocal activities at Washington University in St. Louis. There will be two stage directors: Bruce Donnell, who has been a stage director for the Metropolitan Opera and the Santa Fe Opera for more than three decades and Jolly Stewart, former head of Washington University Opera. Coach/accompanists include Elizabeth Hastings, music director of the Liederkranz Foundation in New York City Thomas Bagwell, Mannes College of Music faculty member and David Holkeboer, member of the Chamber Opera Theater of New York. Melanie Lien, local choreographer, dancer and movement instructor, provides weekly classes in stage movement. BHSU faculty member Dr. Nancy Roberts, associate professor of music, is the program coordinator Dr. Jonathan Nero, associate professor of music, serves as chorus master and Dr. Pamela Wegner, professor of speech and theatre, is the costume designer.

Tickets for each performance are $15 for adults and $10 for students and are available at the door. A catered buffet dinner will be offered Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in the Meier Hall Atrium. Dinner tickets are $15 and reservations are required. For more information or to make a reservation contact Jean Osborn at or call 605-642-6420.

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