Opera Scenes feature Kardashians and Muppets


Opera Workshop students take their final bow after presenting various opera scenes in the Noble Recital Hall November 18. Photo courtesy of Serenity Figueroa (‘23).

On November 18th at 7:30 p.m. the Luther College music department presented this fall’s 2022 opera scenes in the Noble Recital Hall. Students of the opera workshop course performed scenes from works by Giuseppe Verdi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Domenico Cimarosa and Georges Bizet. These selections were sung in Italian and French. The music department hosts opera scenes once in the fall semester, a January term performance for first-year students, and a full production in the spring. Unlike previous years, this was the first presentation of opera scenes since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic where performers were allowed to sing unmasked.


Under the direction of Instructor in Music Carla Hanson, Associate Professor of Music Nicholas Shaneyfelt and Professor of Music Beth Ray Westlund, students performed the various scenes in a modern way; unlike the original scenes, the scenes were done with exaggerated makeup to portray the Kardashian family or crazy hair and face paint to look like Muppets.


Asher Rebmann (‘23) participated in the performance and acted as multiple characters. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to perform in such a creative production.


“It’s been really fun to work with the directors,” Rebmann said. “It’s been fun to hear all of their ideas on what they’d like to do with the scenes. One of my scenes is for ‘The Marriage of Figaro’, and we are all dressed as muppets. The creativity of that, you just can’t beat it.”


Throughout the production, audience members were seen displaying an array of emotions. Each scene presented focused on a particular emotion. As Dylan Schang (‘23) and Ethan Williams (‘23) sang a piece about having the same love interest but vowing to remain as brothers and friends forever, some audience members were seen wiping their tears. In other scenes, the theater filled with laughter as students sang and acted on stage dressed and painted like muppets.


Drew Jaeger (‘24) dressed as the Muppet Beaker for his scene. He expressed his delight at being able to participate in the production and pointed to what he hopes the audience took away.


“I hope the audience recognizes the level of difficulty it takes to put on just a couple of scenes of an opera because it is vocally demanding and a lot of effort is required,” Jaeger said. “I also want them to have fun and enjoy themselves. We are putting our own spins on these

scenes [and] are hoping for a good laugh from the audience.”


The next event held in the Noble Recital Hall, hosted by College Ministries, will be the “Jazz Lessons and Carols” worship service on December 4 at 10 a.m. The event will feature the musical talents of Adjunct Faculty in Music Jon Ailabouni (‘10) and Alumni Guest Lecturer in Music Jill Phillips (‘10) alongside students and guest artists.