EWU opera students flourish in the One Acts Opera


EWU’s opera department partakes in “Gisela in Her Bathtub.” All the props used in this performance were either from the dollar store or donated | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

By Tania Núñez, Contributor

The stage was set with colorful lighting, a grand piano and a multitude of student performers for the first annual evening of the Opera One Acts that took place in the Recital Hall Friday, May 25.

The evening, which included an interpretation of Aesop’s Fables by Ned Rorem, an entr’acte of songs by Ben Moore parodying opera singers and audiences, and Neil Weisensel’s “Gisela in Her Bathtub,” was a great opportunity for students in the opera department at EWU to partake in a more challenging performance.

“The first one is really difficult musically, so they’ve done a great job of rising to that challenge,” Dr. Abbigail Coté, the director of the opera program, said. “We’re trying to build and give as many students the opportunity to perform as we possibly can.”

Unlike other past performances, the One Acts were much more modern and included a projector screen that displayed scenes the students had filmed beforehand as well as outrageous costumes.

Second-year masters student Jilian McCord performing at the One Acts. The One Acts included a projector with scenes students filmed beforehand | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

Jillian McCord, a second-year masters student, emphasized the quirkiness of “Gisela in Her Bathtub,” in which Gisela is reading a romance novel in her bathtub while it is being played out onstage.

“It’s really funny and it’s even more comedic in our performance because […] Everything we have is either from the dollar store or donated,” McCord said. So we have these plastic Viking hats, but […] it just works because it’s so funny.”

This is the first year that Coté is serving as the director of the opera program and she’s brought a fresh change for students in the department.

“[Opera] is the kind of music that I’d like to perform when I’m older,” Junior Braden House said. “I also really enjoy it because of Coté and the […] varying style of music that we do.”

Freshman Ben Fischer cited Coté as a reason for his decision to join the opera program.

“I wasn’t in the opera program fall quarter,” Fischer said. “I saw their production and that, paired with how much I really appreciate Dr. Coté, I was just like I want to be in there and I want to do things like that.”

In past years, the opera department only put on one production per year, but now students perform three opera acts every year. This gives students an opportunity to grow as performers.

“We [want to] make sure, […] especially with our performance majors, that they have work on their resumé, so they can go out and audition or go to grad school,” Coté said.

While students in the opera department continue flourishing, performances like the One Acts give the community a chance to witness that growth.

“I would encourage people to come watch what we’re doing because it’s going to get better every single time,” said McCord. “Dr. Coté has a lot of great ideas and […] we would appreciate the support.”