Introduction to Music Class Attends Lyric Opera Performance

During the fall 2013 semester, NIU School of Music instructor Alana Nelson partnered with NIU Associate Vice Provost for University Honors, Dr. J.D. Bowers, and the Director of Education at the Lyric Opera, Mark Riggleman, to receive funding for a trip for her honors section of MUHL 220 "Introduction to Music"  to the Lyric Opera of Chicago to attend a dress rehearsal of Rossini's The Barber of Seville. Alana explains that when she introduced the trip to the class at the beginning of the semester, the students were thrilled to have an opportunity to attend the opera. They were able to use the bus ride to and from the opera as a time to go over the plot, composer, music, and performers. Arriving a few minutes early, the students were able to explore the opera house and were in awe of the beauty of the Lyric’s architecture and design. Of those attending, only a couple of the students had attended an opera of any kind previously. A special treat followed the performance, when one of the performers offered to meet the class by the stage doors and answer questions about what it was like to be an opera singer, sing in a different language, perform on such a large stage, etc. On the bus ride back to NIU, the students all wholeheartedly agreed that they enjoyed the amazing performance, and that the opera was far better than they ever imagined.

Here are a few statements from students about their experience at the opera:
"... I really enjoyed myself. It was a new experience for many of us... After going to this opera, I will probably attend more operas."
"The music was so good and elaborate. It made me play around on my instruments [when I came home]. It was my first opera."
"I enjoyed our trip to the opera because it allowed for me to see what we were learning in class performed [live]."
"I really enjoyed the opera!"
"I really enjoyed going to the Lyric Opera... I thought that it enriched my learning experience in this class because I found myself looking for the things I learned at the show."

Alana tells us she is so thankful that the school offers funding for activities such as these, where the students can experience world-class musical productions first-hand. Being able to watch an opera performance live provides such an enriching educational experience and is so much more exciting than just hearing about operas in class!

Congratulations to Alana for making such a great education experience possible for her students!

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