About APU Opera

APU Opera, under the direction of Ryan Reithmeier, DMA, is designed to be a supportive and challenging training program for young singers. It seeks to help students develop and achieve their highest level of excellence and artistry.

Undergraduate students enter the program their freshman year and receive foundational training in basic acting, movement, music, performance practice, and stage makeup, and they can audition for an entry-level spot in chorus. Graduate students also receive this training, in either basic or advanced level, based on their initial audition and previous training or experience.

As each student develops vocally and in their stagecraft skills, they may audition and be considered for increasingly demanding roles in the productions each year.

All cast members also participate in costuming, lighting, and creating props or scenery, which offer training and experience in the technical side of opera productions. The goal is for singers to understand all aspects of an opera production.


APU Opera performs a more familiar, standard opera repertoire as well as little known and contemporary works. In 2013, students performed Judith Weir’s The Vanishing Bridegroom with a new chamber orchestra arrangement by APU faculty Michael Lee. Weir, who was appointed “Master of the Queen’s Music,” attended the premiere and gave several master-classes to APU singers and composers during her campus residency.

In 2011, APU Opera performed the U.S. West Coast premiere of Salieri’s Falstaff, after the score had been lost for many years and was discovered by a small music publishing company in Italy.

APU Opera values the traditional and encourages new ideas and non-traditional settings of operas, as seen in our Mozart scenes program, set in modern day New York City. Who knew a familiar duet from “Magic Flute” could make it’s way into the hearts of two tough gang members?

During the 2014–15 academic year, APU Opera singers learned about and explored the boundaries of creative ornamentation in Baroque music and performed Handel’s Ariodante. Exquisite period costume design was by the award-winning Kate Fry.

Scholarship Opportunities

Vocal merit and opera scholarships are available on a competitive basis to those pursuing a degree in vocal performance and who audition prior to March 1, 2017. View scholarship and audition information.