The performance history of lyric theater on the Notre Dame campus is a long one, with roots stretching back to the mid-nineteenth century. Recent history dates from the formation of what is now known as Opera Notre Dame in the early 1990s. Productions over the past decade include:
L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) by Claudio Monteverdi
The academic year 2013-14 was devoted to the Monteverdi landmark work, the earliest opera to be included in worldwide current repertoire. This seminal work, based on actual historical events, was presented with an orchestra of period instruments and in the original Italian.
Dialogues des Carmélites (The Dialogues of the Carmelites) by Francis Poulenc
In Spring 2013, Notre Dame’s campus served as the backdrop for Poulenc’s moving and spiritual recounting of the true story of the Martyrs of Compiegne, Carmelite nuns executed for their faith on 17 July 1794, during the last days of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Stephen Sondheim
In Spring 2012, Opera Notre Dame presented a work that, like Bizet’s Carmen a century earlier, is making a transition into the standard operatic repertoire. Once again, the cast (drawn from the student body, faculty, staff, and community members) supported their work on stage with an examination of Sondheim’s source material and the socio-political factors at play at the time of the work’s creation.
Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Opera Notre Dame devoted the full 2010-2011 academic year to Le nozze di Figaro, presented in the original Italian. Classroom exploration of Mozart’s multi-layered masterpiece, the Beaumarchais play upon which it is based, and performance history and practice from the late 18th century to the present day combined with a rigorous rehearsal process to bring a timeless work brilliantly to life.
Les contes d'Hoffman (The Tales of Hoffman) by Jacques Offenbach
In Spring 2010, Opera Notre Dame presented a production of Offenbach's final masterpiece, "The Tales of Hoffman." The composer put all his melodic gifts to use in his examination of an artist's "outsider" role in society and the ultimate cost of true talent. The production (sung in the original French with English supertitles) featured recently discovered music alongside some of the most famous melodies in all opera, including the immortal "Barcarolle."
Beatrice and Benedick by Hector Berlioz
In April 2009, Opera Notre Dame presented Berlioz's joyous operatic adaptation of "Much Ado About Nothing!" Join the gallant Don Pedro, the lovers Hero and Claudio, the eccentric music master Somarone, and the townsfolk of Messina as the classic bickering of Beatrice and Benedick unfolds with lively arias, ensembles, and choruses.
Faust by Charles Gounod
In April 2008, Opera Notre Dame presented Gounod’s “Faust” in the Debartolo Performing Art Center’s Decio Mainstage Theater, with a cast of nearly 60: mostly undergraduate students with some faculty, staff, and community members and two professional singers. Part of the “Faust at Notre Dame” project, this production (influenced by Gounod’s original 1859 version of the opera) was presented in repertory with FTT’s production of Marlowe’s “The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus,” and was featured as part of the international “FAUST at Notre Dame” project.
A Midsummer Night's Dream by Benjamin Britten
In April 2007, Britten’s masterpiece came to Notre Dame in a sumptuous production conductor Andrew Bisantz and directed by Mark Beudert. The classic tale of lovers, fairies, and workmen was brought to life by an entirely undergraduate cast.
Orpheus Goes to Hell by Jacques Offenbach
In April 2006, Opera Notre Dame changed it’s name as well the look of the production with their presentation of Orpheus Goes to Hell. Director Mark Beudert, along with conductor John Apeitos, brought opera to a whole new level of visibility on campus with a student cast, a cameo appearance by Digger Phelps, and a Hollywood twist to the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.
In April 2005, Notre Dame Opera presented a double bill of two contrasting and ambitious productions:
Suor Angelica by Giacomo Puccini
Les Mamelles de Tiresias by Francis Poulenc
This was the first US performance of A NEW version of Les Marmelles by Bart Visman. Both operas were conducted by John Apeitos, directed by John Riley-Schofield, with casts featuring students and faculty from the University.
The Consul by Gian-Carlo Menotti
In April 2004, the Notre Dame Department of Music and the Notre Dame Opera presented Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera The Consul. The production and its cast were received very warmly by the Washington Hall crowd.