Degree Programs

  • Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance
  • Master of Music in Opera
  • Master of Music in Vocal Performance
  • Certificate in Vocal Music Performance
  • Click here for more information on our Undergraduate programs
  • Click here for more information on our Graduate and Certificate programs

About Vocal Performance
All Vocal Performance degrees meet NASM certification. They provide a high level of technical assurance while also developing the acting, movement, language, auditioning, and business skills essential for those wishing to enter the contemporary performance market. In addition to performing in operas, choral concerts, and recitals. Course work includes:

Theory Opera Lab (acting) Movement
Music History Keyboard Choir
Italian Audition Techniques Opera Styles
Opera History Aural Skills French
Coaching Private Voice Pedagogy
Vocal Literature German Acting for Singers
Diction Recital  

Watch an interview with Alan Held and the cast from the spring performance of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro".

Voice Student Handbook

Wichita State University holds scholarship auditions in the Fall and Spring on the WSU campus. Auditions at other times of year can be arranged. DVD, CD or internet auditions may be considered in the event that a personal audition is impossible; however, no scholarships or fellowships will be awarded without a live audition.

Audition Requirements for Vocal Performance Majors (BM in Vocal Performance)
Applicants must present two selections, one of which should be in English and one in any foreign language. Contact Dr. Michael Hanawalt for information:

MM in Vocal Performance or Opera
Applicants with interest in Opera should prepare four selections demonstrating a range of musical styles in four contrasting languages, including one in English. Students seeking the MM without opera emphasis may perform a selection of arias and art songs. An accompanist is provided.
Contact Alan Held, Associate Professor of Voice and Area Director for Opera, for more information and an appointment

Scholarships & Assistantships

Undergraduate scholarships are awarded based on audition and GPA. All qualified Vocal Performance majors are eligible for departmental scholarships. It is highly recommended that students fill out FAFSA forms, as some awards are need-based. To be notified of scholarship awards, students must have applied to, and been accepted at Wichita State University. Undergraduate awards usually range from $1000 to $2500 yearly, and may include assistance with dormitory housing. Students with high GPA’s and SAT scores may also qualify for additional academic scholarships; contact financial aid for information Undergraduate auditions are scheduled through Dr. Hanawalt,

Graduate Teaching Assistantships are awarded to graduate students majoring in Vocal Performance or Opera Performance. Graduate Teaching Assistantships include tuition waivers plus a stipend (2017 rate is $7000). To be considered for a GTA/GSA, an on campus audition is required. Application deadline is December 1 for pre-screening. Graduate auditions are held on the WSU Campus on the following dates: January 26 and February 23, 2019.

For current students, please clcik HERE for additional scholarship opportunities.

Endowed Opera Funds
Through the generosity of several individual donors, six endowed Opera Performance Scholarships and Fellowships are available each year to full time students displaying unusual promise. Scholarships and Fellowships are awarded by audition and vary by amount. All are merit based, require a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and continued satisfactory performance in the degree program. In-state tuition is awarded to Graduate Service Assistants in Opera.

Samuel Ramey Opera Fellowship
Awarded annually to a WSU graduate student enrolled in the College of Fine Arts MM in Opera Performance. The award is based upon audition. The Fellowship is renewable annually until completion of the Master’s degree (two years). Application for renewal is required.  

Carolyn and Arthur Skaer Opera and Operetta Fund
Awarded annually to a WSU graduate student enrolled in the College of Fine Arts MM in Opera Performance. The Fellowship is renewable for two years on completion of the Master’s degree. Application for renewal is required.

Sarah Shirkey Gietzen Endowed Scholarship Fund
This Scholarship is awarded annually to one WSU School of Music undergraduate student enrolled in Vocal Performance, who performs in WSU Opera and/or Musical Theatre productions, and has the goal of an operatic career. The award may be renewed up to four years.

George Gibson Opera Fellowship
Awarded annually to a WSU student enrolled in the MM in Opera Performance. The Fellowship is renewable for two years. Application for renewal is required.

George and Brenda Farha Scholarship in Opera
Awarded annually to a student enrolled in the WSU College of Fine Arts MM in Opera Performance. The award is based on audition and can be renewed only on the basis of audition.

Feiertag Endowed Fellowship for Vocal Performance Majors
Awarded annually to a student enrolled in the WSU School of Music, by determination of the faculty to one graduate student with a goal of an operatic career.

Opera Theater & Voice Faculty

Dr. Cristina Castaldi, Voice
Alan Held, Voice; Area Director of Opera
  Ann and Dennis Ross Faculty of Distinction in Opera
Dr. Pina Mozzani, Voice; Area Director of Voice
Lindsey Ramey, Lecturer in Voice
Samuel Ramey, Distinguished Faculty of Opera
Michael Sylvester, Voice
Michele Sylvester, Lecturer in Voice

Dr. Michael Hanawalt - Choral
Dr. Thomas Wine - Choral/Education

Performing Opportunities

WSU Productions
WSU produces two main stage operas and an extended opera scenes program each year. Operas are performed in the original language with titles and orchestra. Repertory is selected to expose students to a broad range of styles, from standard works to lesser-known fare (see productions list below), and to showcase those students currently enrolled. Vocal Performance majors are encouraged to audition for roles in all productions.

During the summer, WSU offers a four week study abroad program in Lucca, Italy, Canta in Italia. After a month of immersive study in voice and language, students perform two concerts of opera scenes and arias.

2018-2019 Repertory
Opera Theater

November 2 and 4: Street Scene by Kurt Weill (Semi-staged Concert Performances)
February 7-8: Opera Scenes
April 4-7: L'enfant et les Sortileges by Maurice Ravel and Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini

Recent Guest Artists, Master classes & Seminars
Samuel Ramey (currently in residence) played Olin Blitch; the Commendatore.
Warren Jones Master Class
Wayne Bryan Directed Spitfire Grill
Joyce Di Donato Master Class
Alan Held (current faculty) Master Class and Recital
Zeffin Quinn Hollis Directed Die Zauberfloete; played Frank Maurrant

Regional Performing Opportunities
Students are encouraged to audition for paid roles and internships at the many professional and community theatres that flourish in Wichita and the region. Multiple professional opportunites are offered through the various religious institions throughout the Wichita metropolitan area.

Opera Theater Department Productions since 2003

L'Elisir D'Amore by Gaetano Donizetti
Opera Scenes
Le Nozze di Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Beatrice et Benedict
La Clemenza di Tito
The Light in the Piazza
Les Indes Galantes
Don Giovanni (with Samuel Ramey as the Commendatore)
Cold Sassy Tree
Susannah (with Samuel Ramey as Blitch)
Die Fledermaus
Suor Angelica/Il Campanello di notte
Il viaggio a Reims
L’incoronazione di Poppea
Albert Herring
Die Zauberflöte
Hin und Zurück
L’Enfant et les Sortilèges
Così fan tutte
Street Scene
Little Women
Les Dialogues des Carmelites
Eve’s Odds
La Calisto
The Marriage of Figaro
Les Contes d’Hoffmann
Central Park
The Nightingale and the Rose (World Premiere)
Hansel and Gretel
The Vampyr
Cosi fan tutte
Die Zauberflöte
The Gondoliers
Amahl and the Night Visitors

Distinguished WSU Opera Alumni
Samuel Ramey - Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden
Joyce DiDonato - Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Paris Opera
Alan Held - Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Vienna State Opera
Myrna Paris - New York City Opera, St. Louis Opera Theatre
Beverly Hoch - Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne, Santa Fe, many recordings
James Billings - New York City Opera, Glimmerglass
Stephen Tharp - Metropolitan Opera, Glimmerglass Opera
Catherine Cook - San Francisco Opera, Tulsa Opera
Howard Haskin - Théatre du Chatelet, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Opéra National de Lyon
Barabara Honn - Staatstheater Kassel, Master Vocal Instructor
Catherine Cook - San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Performance Facilities

  • Miller Concert Hall fully equipped 530 seat proscenium theatre with hydraulic orchestra pit, fly system and full stage lighting. Used for productions of operas, operettas and orchestral, band and dance events.
  • Wiedemann Recital Hall, 425 seat recital hall with world-class organ. Concert lighting. Used for vocal and instrumental recitals.