Opera Studio provides Webster University students plenty of performance training and opportunity. Fully-staged scenes each January include orchestra and guest music and stage directors.
Webster University Opera Studio is a select ensemble of singers that presents complete works and scenes from all periods of opera, operetta, and musical theatre; supported by a complete production staff from the Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts. One of these works always features an extended chorus part. Previous scenes with chorus have included excerpts from Lehar’s The Merry Widow, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, and Offenbach’s great comedy, Orpheus in the Underworld.
Each Fall semester, in addition to music rehearsals, guest directors and conductors occasionally come in to work with the ensemble on acting and musical techniques. In January, the ensemble collaborates with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis, both based at Webster, to present a fully staged and costumed production, with orchestra of both professional and student musicians.
Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays, 3–5:50 pm, with one scene rehearsing each hour, so no student is there the entire time. Other rehearsals may be held earlier on Tuesdays, and on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Each student is in rehearsal no more than 3 hours a week, with somewhat longer staging rehearsals in January.
In April, Webster Opera Studio presents a workshop production of ensembles from opera, operetta and musical theatre, in which each student has one or more solo roles. This gives younger students the chance to try out singing and acting in a smaller venue, with the possibility of being cast in a role the next fall. These scenes are directed by Alice Nelson, Webster University Director of Opera, firstname.lastname@example.org, 314-965-4074; and are accompanied by professional Webster and area pianists/coaches.
Watch: scenes from the 2014 Opera Scenes performances, conducted by Scott Schoonover.
"My experience at Webster was one I can truly say shaped the person I have become. The Department of Music, with the rest of the school, is overflowing with a talent pool of staff and students that constantly kept me pushing and challenging myself. Webster's diverse environment forced me to become a more open-minded, well-rounded individual."
- Krystal Schieffer, BME '11
"From the second I stepped onto Webster's campus, I have felt at home, like part of a family. The Department of Music shares a solid bond because of its size and the cozy feel of Thompson House; but even as the Department expands, there is still the fundamental sincerity of people who care about each other. Creative people could not be more different, and my time at Webster has showed me that these differences are sometimes what unites us the most. Across the spectrum of disciplines, whether you're a composer, jazz pianist, vocalist, violinist, teacher, ad infinitum, Webster provides a support system that you don't find at other schools. There is no cut-throat environment here; everyone is encouraged to grow as an artist and musician in a manner that promotes confidence, inspiration, and success."
- Samantha Schmid, BA '11
"Webster University made me excited to go back to school for my master's degree. The professors, my advisor, and the staff were very helpful and flexible; they worked with my schedule as a working graduate student. They allowed me to basically get a "Beth degree," within my requirements. This knowledge was immediately applicable to my current job. When I look back now I am so pleased that I got to study with professors that are such talented, intelligent, professional and accomplished musicians. Webster was exactly what I needed and wanted."
- Beth Enloe Fritz, MA '05
"I thought Webster was perfect for my undergrad as it gave me the attention I needed. I never worried about getting lost in a sea of faces, and I wound up with excellent tools for graduate school. The low-stress environment also made it easier for me to learn my way around the stage as I was able to openly experiment with new ideas. Furthermore, Webster, unlike other smaller universities, gave me the opportunity to work with some important figures in opera, like Christine Brewer. Webster is definitely the way to go."
- Maddy Pessin, BM '11
"The staff, students, ensembles, and facilities are all dedicated to making music better and understanding it more fully. I appreciate knowing every time I walk into a classroom in Thompson Music Building this is the goal. Webster was a wonderful fit for me."
- Gabriel Maichel, BME '13
"Webster was truly an amazing experience. I loved every bit of it."
- Kayla Wong, BA '13
"So many faculty members are personable, kind and warm. And that's awesome!"
- Caroline Camp Corrales, BM '14
"I came to Webster because I wanted to be a better songwriter, and I've accomplished that."
- Tim Walther, BM '14
Department of Music News
" Webster is a rarity among schools. So few schools have the academic strength, performance opportunities, and the heart that I found at my time at Webster. I gained a family while getting some of the best training here."
- Liz Bivens, BM Vocal Performance '11
"My four years at Webster can be summarized by the incredible amount of guidance and support that I received from the Department of Music faculty. I never felt lost in a class or concerned about my future because there were so many wonderful people encouraging me."
- Hannah Ingram, BA '11
"Vienna was key in understanding many artistic viewpoints. Whether it be Vienna or anywhere else in Europe, the study-abroad experience will stick with you."
- Tony Morales, orchestra concertmaster and cross-country athlete, BM Instrumental Performance '13
"Going to Vienna was the best decision I have ever made. It changed my life. I discovered so much about myself, and realized that music is not just my passion, but a necessity."
- Emma Sorenson, BM Vocal Performance '13
"My time at Webster University was spent building a strong foundation on which my career has been built. The extraordinary faculty possesses the knowledge, skills, and wisdom necessary to inspire young artists and provide them with opportunities for growth. Through their guidance, I not only fortified my musical skills, but was encouraged to think creatively, take risks, and strive for the best possible outcome with every endeavor."
- Jennifer Johnson Cano, BM Vocal Performance '06, Metropolitan Opera artist
"My education at Webster University has gone above and beyond my expectations. Before transferring to Webster, I was part of music departments at two different universities. The professors, courses, and ensemble opportunities offered at Webster have helped make me a better musician than I believe I would have been with my prior education. The one-on-one input I've experienced with the professors in the Jazz Studies area has prepared me to not only continue my music career with the goals I set prior to graduating, but has has forced me to make higher goals, exceeding my own personal expectations."
- Kiersten Rose, singer/songwriter, BM Jazz Studies/Music Technology '13
"The unique relationship I formed with my professors at Webster is something that I will never forget. They pushed me, encouraged me, and helped me to become the artist I am today. I am so glad I made the decision to go to Webster University."
- Lola Hennicke, BA '13
"I wouldn't have lasted at a larger school. The relationships and bonds I formed at Webster helped me be successful."
- Tim Walther,BM '14
"The faculty are personable -- they are there for my good and well-being. And each faculty member has their own flavor they add to the program."
- Domenic Mendoza,BA '14
"After going to Vienna, I feel like I know more about what is happening globally. Webster is all about creating global citizens, and studying abroad helped me to learn what it is to truly be a global citizen. "
- Hanna KroegerBME '17
Seniors 2015May 2015
The Department of Music captured a few moments with our 2015 graduating seniors to find out what they will miss, what they will share, and what makes Webster their home.
Connor ScottMarch 2016
Music education major Connor Scott wins a conducting competition, and talks about his time at Webster University.
Opera Scenes, January 2014January 2014
Opera Scenes are staged and conducted by guest artists, and feature students from performance, education, and general music programs at Webster.
Chamber SingersMarch 2014
Chamber Singers perform at the 2014 divisional convention of the American Choral Directors Association.
Music EducationSpring 2015
Christy Timberlake is featured in an introduction to Music Education at Webster University.
Bob ChamberlinMay 2015
Bob Chamberlin sat down with the department of music to give us a glimpse inside his 42 year history with the university and share some memories and advice with students and his colleagues as he moves into the next phase of his life.
Webster University OrchestraFall 2016
Dr. Paul Davis leads the Webster Symphony Orchestra in the year-opening concert, September 2016.