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JMU's German Opera Experience

Program Description

German Opera Experience

This program was formally known as Opera, Lieder, Language and Culture of Germany: Summer Music Program for Singers, Pianists, and Conductors

Session One:  Undergraduates 6 credits, Graduates 2 credits.  This includes the Brahms Seminar.

Session Two: Undergraduates 2 credits, Graduate 1 credit.

Approximately 20 Students will be selected by audition to come to Germany and perform as soloists, repetiteurs, conductors, understudies and chorus in works below. Opportunities are also available for student instrumentalists and students interested in theater administration and technical production. Rehearsals will begin during the first week of June. The course includes 60 hours of Conversational German and a three week seminar on Johannes Brahms with collaborative pianists Eckart Sellheim (ASU) Gabriel Dobner (JMU) and Mark Carver (CMU).

Students enrolled in Session One will have the following opportunities:

-Arias and Scenes in the Bergstadtfest concert with the Middle-Saxony Orchestra.

-Chorus in the Middle-Saxony Opera’s mainstage production Der Vogelhandler on the Kriebstein Outdoor Lake theater.

-Roles in student productions (depending on voice types enrolled)

Zehn Mädchen und Kein Man (Franz von Suppé)
Herr von Schönhahn: Baritone
Danubiz: Soprano
Hidalga: Soprano
Britta: Soprano
Maschinka: Soprano
Pommaria: Soprano
Almina: Soprano
Limonia: Soprano
Giletta: Soprano
Marinka: Soprano
Preziosa: Soprano
Sidonia: Soprano
Agamemmnon Paris: Tenor

Gianni Schicchi (Giacomo Puccini)
Gianni Schicchi: Baritone
Lauretta, his daughter: Soprano
Zita, cousin of Buoso Donati: Contralto
Rinuccio, Zita's nephew: Tenor
Gherardo, Buoso's nephew: Tenor
Nella, Gherardo's wife: Soprano
Gherardino, their son: Soprano or treble
Betto di Signa, Buoso's brother-in-law: Bass
Simone, cousin of Buoso: Bass
Marco, Simone's son: Baritone
La Ciesca, Marco's wife: Mezzo-soprano
Maestro Spinelloccio, a doctor: Bass
Ser Amantio di Nicolao, a notary: Baritone
Pinellino, a cobbler: Bass
Guccio, a dyer: Bass

Suor Angelica (Giacomo Puccini)
Sister Angelica, soprano
The Princess, her aunt, contralto             
The Abbess, mezzo-soprano       
The Monitress, mezzo-soprano                  
The Mistress of the novices, mezzo-soprano      
Sister Genovieffa, soprano         
Sister Osmina, soprano                 
Sister Dolcina, soprano                 
The nursing sister, mezzo-soprano          
The alms sisters, sopranos         
A novice,soprano             
The lay sisters, soprano and mezzo-soprano

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Live Audition Tours: (Tentative Schedule) 
*Student should apply to the program prior to the auditions.
  • Monday, Nov. 17: Auditions at JMU
  • Tuesday, Nov. 18: Travel to Arizona
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19th: Auditions at ASU, Tempe, Arizona
  • Thursday, Nov. 20: Auditions at NMSU Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Friday, Nov. 21: Auditions at University of Texas, El Paso
  • Saturday, Nov. 22: Travel to Pittsburgh, PA
  • Sunday, Nov. 23: Auditions at CMU, Pittsburgh PA.
  • Monday, Nov. 24: Auditions at JMU
  • Tuesday, Nov. 25: Auditions at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
Another audition tour will take place the first week in February 2015. Details TBA.

Location

Freiberg, Germany

Location Description

Freiberg has a late-medieval city center, with narrow alleyways and cobble-stone streets. The Freiberg Technical University, as well as the intimate 300-seat Mid-Saxony Opera theater provide the educational and artistic base for the former silver mining capital which created the original wealth of near-by Dresden. Points of historical interest include the oldest and most important silver mine of Saxony "Reiche Zeche'' (rich mine), as well as the cathedral St. Marien, where an original Silbermann organ (famous as the organ builder for Bach) is still used regularly for concerts and worship.

Der Zigeunerbaron

Cast

Opera at Freiburg

Director

Dorothy Maddison | maddisdx@jmu.edu | Music

Accommodations

Accommodations are in furnished apartments with 3-4 students per apartment. Each apartment has a small kitchen and eating area and a shared bathroom with shower. Housing is a 20 minute walk or a 10 minute bicycle ride from the center of Freiberg where classes and rehearsals are held. Internet access is included.

Students are responsible for their day-to-day eating and shopping, but there will be events which are catered when traveling.

Additional Items to Consider

  1. Do I have to enroll for academic credits?  Yes. You will also be enrolled as a short-term Foreign student at the University of Freiberg.  Credit is offered on both an undergraduate and graduate level.

    SESSION ONE:

    For Undergraduates (6 Credits Total)
    4 Credits - GER 101 (Beginning German) or GER 490 (Conversational German)
    2 Credits - MUS 490 (Special Topics: Opera, Lieder, Language and Culture of Germany)

    For Graduates (2 Credits Total)
    2 Credits - MUS 690 (Special Topics: Opera, Lieder, Language and Culture of Germany)

    SESSION TWO:

    For Undergraduates (2 Credits Total)
    2 Credits - MUS 490 (Special Topics: Brahms Lieder)

    For Graduates (1 Credit Total)
    1 Credit - MUS 690 (Special Topics: Brahms Lieder)
  2. How old should I be to do this course? The course has accommodated students from freshman level college students up through mature adults who are ready to look for professional work in Germany.
  3. Will this course get me a job in Germany?  Yes if you are ready.  No if you are not.  Each voice will fit into a particular vocal category which matures at a different time.  If you are in your late teens to mid-twenties, the chances of getting a full-time job as a soloist are probably unrealistic.  However, if you fall into that category, this summer course gives you a chance to learn what it would be like to work in a professional opera house once you are ready, as well as giving you a chance to make friends and contacts for future visits to the country with the most opera houses in the world.  You’ll also have the chance to develop basic conversational skills that will be valuable to you in the future.
  4. What music should I prepare?  Contact Dr. Dorothy Maddison for further details to discuss what is appropriate for audition and repertoire during the summer course.
  5. Will there be time on the weekends to travel?  No.  The weekends will be for excursions to see shows and tour for additional performances.  The best alternative is to plan to stay in Europe after the course is completed to take time to visit friends and/or relatives or to tour on your own.
  6. Do I have to speak German?  Not before you go, but it would be a good idea to study a little if you have time.  You will learn basic conversational German while you are there.
  7. What will the weather be like?  During the first two weeks of the course, it will still be early spring weather in Germany, and you should plan to bring a winter coat, hat, mittens and rain gear, including an umbrella.  An equal amount of winter and summer clothing is advised.
  8. Should I bring stage make-up and stage shoes?  Yes.
  9. What should I do about airfare?  You are responsible for your airfare, but we will be working with Lincoln Travel in Bridgewater to find a reasonable group rate for a flight that you can purchase individually between Washington and Dresden.  This flight will be met at the airport to transport you to Chemnitz.
  10. What is the accommodation like? The student housing in Freiberg is NOT luxury hotel living; it is a dormitory associated with the local “Berufsschule” where German and Foreign Students associated with the University of Freiberg are housed for short-term stays.  Each apartment has a kitchenette with an eating area and a shared bathroom with 2-3 bedrooms.  Some rooms also have a living room with a TV, but not all.  Linens and a few small towels are provided, as well as a limited selection of cooking and eating utensils.  Some bedrooms are single rooms and some are shared with one other student.
  11. What do we need to do about health and travel insurance?  JMU will purchase health insurance for you as part of your course fee, and you will pay for any trips to doctors and hospitals yourself, keep receipts and apply to the insurance company for a refund.  The JMU health insurance is not optional.  It is strongly suggested that you take travel insurance to cover the cost of emergency or last-minute changes to your airfare which may occur. 
  12. How will transportation during the work? On a day-to-day basis the program provides second-hand bicycles for you to ride within the city of Freiberg.  For excursions outside of Freiberg, mini-vans and cars are rented.  It is advised that you bring appropriate gear for riding bicycles on rainy days as well as good walking shoes!
  13. Can my relatives and friends come and stay in the apartment with me?  No.  If you relatives or friends come you must make separate arrangements for housing with them.  JMU will not accept responsibility for housing anyone else in the dormitory during your stay there.
  14. What Music should I bring?  During the first session, we arrange solo concerts for you as well as the work with the opera company.  You should also bring a selection of “party pieces” in American English by American composers, and this can include Musical Theater selections.  Contact Dr. Maddison for further ideas.
  15. What textbooks will I need?  You should plan to purchase
    1. A copy of the opera score with the roles you will be assigned.
    2. A German Dictionary with International Phonetic Alphabet symbols.
    3. A small, portable German Grammar textbook for reference, since the German Language classes will all be taught in German!

Comments from Participants

So many master-classes and concerts that we’ve gone too. They were all really cool. I love being able to see how the older singers perform and act during their pieces. I got the opportunity to work with Jana Büchner.  It made me feel like I was going somewhere and that I have a chance at being a performer. It’s very helpful to hear other people sing and work with people. The final concert at the Schumann house was awesome. I think I finally understand how much acting I actually need to do if I want to be a professional opera singer.

Arijana Lempke, Undergraduate Soprano

Through this all I have grown as a performer and person, have met wonderful people and made some good connections in the professional world, had the opportunity to perform a duet with the orchestra for the first time, and had the opportunity to be submerged into another culture.

Michelle Monroe, Undergraduate Soprano

This program has given me a new sense of confidence in my vocal and musical abilities, validated my chosen path, and prepared me mentally for the rigors of professional work. Looking ahead to a season of auditions this fall, I don’t think that I could have done anything more personally valuable at this stage in my development as a singer.  I end this program with a tremendous sense of gratitude for the instruction and opportunities I have received, and for the relationships I have built with my fellow singers. I am humbled to be a part of the amazing process of creating music.

Leah Hill, Graduate Soprano

Related Internet sites to visit

Mid-Saxony Opera of Freiberg and Döbeln:  www.mittelsaechsisches-theater.de

City of Freiberg:  http://www.freiberg.de/acaws/portal.nsf/framesets/freiberg

Freiberg Technical University (who help sponsor our German Courses and accommodation): http://www.iuz.tu-freiberg.de/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1&lang=en

City of Döbeln (in German):  http://www.doebeln.de

Döbeln Music School (Friends of our program site in German): http://www.musikschule-doebeln.de/53272599640d66106.html

 

Faculty/Staff  |  Instructors and Directors from the USA and Germany:

Dorothy Maddison, Director, received a BM degree St. Olaf College, her MM and DMA in vocal performance at Arizona State University, and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. During her professional career in Europe as a lyric-coloratura soprano, she was a full-time soloist with the Stadttheater of Döbeln, Germany, where she performed the roles of Olympia, Antonia, Giulietta and Stella in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Euridice in Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers, and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. She toured Germany singing Christine in the Yeston-Kopit version of Phantom.  Dr. Maddison is co-author of Kein’ Angst Baby!, a book to help singers audition in Germany.   Her discography includes the CD Christmas Art Songs and Songs for Brenda and Bertha featuring the song cycles ME(Brenda Ueland) by Libby Larsen and Brautlieder by Peter Cornelius. She is an associate professor of voice and opera at JMU, and recently appeared with the wind symphony under the direction of Patrick Rooney at the Kennedy Center. Off campus, she has performed in concert and oratorio in the USA, England, Germany and in October of 2007 she performed with the Camerati Amici Ensemble in Brazil, singing for Vice-President José Alencar at the Portuguese Embassy Palace in Rio de Janeiro. 

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Session One

William Reber, Conductor, and Accompanist-Coach (Session One and Two), earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Opera and Conducting at The University of Texas at Austin.  He is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Lyric Opera Theatre and Professor of Music at Arizona State University.  From 1993 through 2004, he was head of the vocal coaching program for AIMS (American Institute of Musical Studies), in Graz, Austria. In addition to conducting symphony and chamber orchestra concerts in the United States and Europe, he has served as Music Director/Conductor for more than 125 productions of operas, musicals and ballets. Former Music Director of the Minnesota Opera Studio and conductor for the Minnesota Opera, he also served as conductor and vocal coach for the Altenburger Musiktheater Akademie in Altenburg, Germany.  He was Music Advisor to the StaatsOperette Dresden, Assistant Conductor for Arizona Opera's two productions of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, and a member of the music staff for the Minnesota Dance Theatre. Dr. Reber also served as Music Director for both the Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre at California State University, Fullerton, and was a member of the conducting faculty of The University of Texas at Austin where he founded the Chamber Orchestra and conducted productions of the Opera Theatre. As a recital accompanist, he has performed with singers and instrumentalists in Germany, Austria, Macedonia and throughout the United States. A frequent lecturer on opera and symphonic repertory, he has presented lectures to audiences and classes in Macedonia, Austria, Germany and several U. S. cities.  For Arizona Opera, he created and presented introductory lectures for more than twenty different productions and well as a series of special topic lectures for their two productions of Wagner’s Ring.

Raoul Grüneis, Middle-Saxony Opera House General Music Director (Session One, Guest Conductor)  Was born in Würzburg and studied – after his Abitur in Kulmbach and choir leader training in Kronach – piano, conducting and composing at the School of the Arts in Berlin. He developed a particular love of song accompaniment after taking part in song courses held by Aribert Reimann and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. His first experience in working with a large symphony orchestra was as an assistant to Leonard Slatkin with the RSO Berlin. After that he took part in courses with Jerzy Maksymiuk and Paul Nadler. Theatre engagements took him to Freiburg, Mannheim, Oldenburg and Darmstadt. From 2005 till 2009 he was the general music director of the theatre and the philharmonic orchestra in Regensburg. At the Bayreuth Festival he has assisted conductors such as Donald Runnicles and Giuseppe Sinopoli. He was guest at the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Brno, on Rumanian radio, with the Kurpfälzisch Chamber Orchestra, the German Chamber Orchestra in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre de chambre Lausanne; opera performances have taken him to Dublin and Graz. He regularly appears in Caracas (Venezuela). In 2012 he was GMD of the Istanbul State Opera. In 2013 he began his position as GMD of the Middle-Saxony Opera House in Freiberg.

Anne Elgar Kopta, (Guest Lecturer) is a soprano and associate professor of Music in voice, at Arizona State University  Herberger College School of Music. Under the stage name of Anne Elgar, she regularly appeared in leading roles with the New York City Opera and the opera companies of San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Wichita.Her credits include Violetta in La Traviata, Gilda in Rigoletto, Mimi in La Boheme, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Blonde in The Abduction from the Seraglio, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Rosina in Barber of Seville, Baby Doe in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Abigail in The Crucible, and Sister Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites, among many others. She created the role of Margaret in the world premier of Lizzie Borden by Jack Beeson, a work commissioned by the New York City Opera. The original cast album released on Desto Records has recently been reissued on CDs by Composers Recordings, Inc./CRI. Miss Anne Elgar has also recorded opera by Rossini and Meyerbeer on the Vanguard (reissued on CDs) and the HRE labels. Under the sponsorship of Columbia Artists' Community Concerts Series, she was a popular recitalist. There were also many guest appearances at Tanglewood, Chautauqua, Caramoor, Newport, Saratoga and other summer music festivals.For more than 20 years, she has taught at major universities during the academic year and devoted the other months to summer music schools in Austria, Italy, Israel, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Formerly, Professor Kopta was a regular faculty member of the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Her master classes at Mexico's National Conservatory of Music have become an annual event, and have resulted in special appreciation of ASU’s School of Music among students and faculty there.

Session Two

Eckart Sellheim (Session Two Director/Collaborative Artist Coach) . received his musical training in Germany and Switzerland; Adolf Drescher and Jakob Gimpel were among his teachers. He was appointed to the faculty of the two major conservatories in Cologne and continued his academic career as an Assistant Professor of Piano and Chamber Music at the University of Michigan. From 1989 until 2008 he was Professor and Director of Collaborative Piano at Arizona State University. He also served as a Guest Lecturer of Fortepiano and Performance Practice at various music academies in Germany (most notably at the Musikhochschule in Trossingen) and taught numerous master classes in the United States and in several European countries. Sellheim maintains an active performance schedule, having made concert tours in the USA, Latin America and the Carribean, the Middle East, Africa, and throughout Europe. He appears regularly on radio programs in the USA and abroad and has made more than 20 recordings as piano and fortepiano soloist and collaborative pianist, among them a great number with his late brother, celebrated German cellist Friedrich-Juergen Sellheim.

Gabriel Dobner (Session Two Collaborative Artist Coach) spent eight years in Germany, after having been awarded a German Academic Exchange Scholarship (DAAD) to study lied accompanying in Munich with Professor Helmut Deutsch. The following year he won the special accompanist prize in the International Hans Pfitzner Lieder Competition in Munich. He quickly established himself as one of Germany’s most sought after collaborative pianists performing regularly with such singers as Cornelia Kallisch, René Kollo, Kevin McMillan, John Wesley Wright, Alan Bennett, Alexandra Petersamer, Uta Buchheister, as well as instrumentalists Allan Vogel (principle oboe of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra), Ulf Rodenhäuser (former principle clarinetist of the Berlin Philharmonic), Paul Ellison (former principle double bass of the Houston Symphony Orchestra) and Patrick Sheridan (Tuba). These collaborations led to performances in many of the major concert venues in Europe, including Munich, Dresden, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Cologne, Vienna and Zürich. He has also performed in the United States, Canada, Japan and Spain. Gabriel Dobner has recorded for both the Ottavo and MDG labels. His first recording for MDG, consisting of songs of Liszt, Dvorák and Mahler with Cornelia Kallisch, won high praise from BBC Music Magazine, Fono Forum and the West German Radio in Cologne, who referred to him as a “master among Lieder pianists”. In addition to CD recordings, he has recorded for the Bayrischer Rundfunk, Südwestfunk, Westdeutscher Rundfunk Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, Chubo-Nippon Broadcasting Company in Japan and Saint Paul Sunday.

Gabriel Dobner received his Bachelors Degree in piano performance from Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, where he studied with Ludmila Lazar. He then went on to Indiana University in Bloomington to earn his Masters Degree with James Tocco, as well as his Doctoral Degree with Leonard Hokanson, eventually becoming Prof. Hokanson’s teaching assistant. Gabriel Dobner joined the faculty at James Madison University in the fall of 2001. Previous teaching engagements include Indiana University and the Nürnberg/Augsburg Hochschule für Musik in Germany.

Mark Carver (Session Two Collaborative Artist Coach) received his earliest musical training in Pittsburgh, PA from Jerry Veeck and Lorraine Gaal Landefeld. Other teachers include Enrica Cavallo-Gulli, Natalie Phillips, and Ralph Zitterbart. International artists with whom he has studied are Earl Wild, Jorge Bolet, Jeanne-Marie Darré, Ozan Marsh, John Ogdon, and Pierre Sancan. He has studied at the Chautauqua Institute (Chautauqua, NY), Académie Internationale d'Été (Nice, France), Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), and Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA). Mr. Carver holds the degrees of Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Music. He made his début with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at age 15, and has been a guest artist with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, the Plum Creek Chamber Orchestra, and the University of Pittsburgh Orchestra. His début at age 17 at Carnegie Hall, New York, was with the Carnegie Mellon University Wind Ensemble in the première of Introduction and Allegro by Philip Catelinet.



His discography includes Jessica Rivera Sings Romantic Music for Soprano, Clarinet and Piano by Urtext Digital Classics (www.urtextonline.com) and Sacred Songs and Interludes: Music of Nancy Galbraith with the Pittsburgh Camerata (www.pittsburghcamerata.org).  In 2014, a second recording with Miss Rivera entitled Jessica Rivera Sings Canciones Hispanas (www.urtextonline.com) will be released.

Carver has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Carnegie Award, the National Federation of Music Clubs Scholarship, the Pittsburgh Concert Society Youth and Major auditions, the Carnegie Mellon University Chamber Music Prize, and the Pittsburgh Piano Teachers Award. He was the Grand Prize winner at the Cincinnati World Competition in 1975, which included a grant for summer study in France. He currently serves as Associate Teaching Professor of Collaborative Piano at Carnegie Mellon University, and as Artist-in-Residence for the Irma Gonzales Curso Magistral de Verano at the Conservatorio Nacional in Mexico City. 

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Audition Videos and Professional Portfolio
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU and first semester transfer students.

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in.

*On this page there are application links to two separate programs. Please be sure to apply to the appropriate program you are considering.

JMU's German Opera Experience (Session I) 
Undergraduates 6 credits, Graduates 2 credits. 
This includes the Brahms Seminar.

apply now

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JMU's German Opera Experience - Brahms Seminar (Session II)

Undergraduates 2 credits, Graduate 1 credit.

apply now

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Live Audition Tours: (Tentative Schedule) 
*Student should apply to the program prior to the auditions.
  • Monday, Nov. 17: Auditions at JMU
  • Tuesday, Nov. 18: Travel to Arizona
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19th: Auditions at ASU, Tempe, Arizona
  • Thursday, Nov. 20: Auditions at NMSU Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Friday, Nov. 21: Auditions at University of Texas, El Paso
  • Saturday, Nov. 22: Travel to Pittsburgh, PA
  • Sunday, Nov. 23: Auditions at CMU, Pittsburgh PA.
  • Monday, Nov. 24: Auditions at JMU
  • Tuesday, Nov. 25: Auditions at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
Another audition tour will take place the first week in February 2015. Details TBA.

Application Deadline

Dates


All dates are tentative and subject to change

Courses

GER 101: Elementary German I (3 credits) (SESSION 1)

GER 490: Conversational German (3 credits) (SESSION 1)

MUS 490: Special Studies in Music: Opera, Lieder, Language, and Culture of Germany (3 credits) (SESSION 1)

MUS 690: Special Studies in Music: Opera, Lieder, Language, and Culture of Germany (2 credits) (SESSION 1)

MUS 490: Special Studies in Music: Lieder of Johannes Brahms (2 credits) (SESSION 2)

MUS 690: Special Studies in Music: Lieder of Johannes Brahms (1 credit) (SESSION 2)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.

Cost