College of Charleston Opera

Media: Full video Die Zauberflöte presented by CofC Opera with Charleston Symphony (2022)
The dramatic art form of opera is a reflection and commentary on the human condition and our shared experiences of emotions. Joy, love, death, loss, illness, and betrayal are universal. These intense emotions transcend social, economic, and national boundaries to touch everyone’s life.

Opera is an acoustic, visceral art form in which the human voice coupled with music expresses what mere words cannot. It can touch hearts, change minds, enlighten and bring people together across boundaries by expressing the commonality of shared human experience.

College of Charleston Opera is devoted to training the next generation of opera artists, and it is proud to produce three productions each year. 

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Opera Mainstage

In 2018, College of Charleston Opera became committed to mounting a full opera production, annually. The new Head of Opera, Dr. Saundra DeAthos-Meers, was assisted by Dr. Amanda Castellone in staging Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites (sung in English), performed in March of 2019. CofC Opera next presented a double-billing of another Poulenc tragedy in La Voix Humaine (sung in French) and Giacomo Puccini’s dark comedy Gianni Schicchi (sung in Italian). 

CofC Opera is fortunate to have wonderful support from College President Andrew Hsu, a music lover himself. The new opera initiative is one of ten fundraising priorities established by the president as part of the 250th anniversary celebration. 


As a result of CofC Opera's recent successes and this support from our President, the 2020-2021 school year will bring many new opportunities for CofC Opera students, in a collaboration with the theatre and orchestra programs, as well as the Charleston community. Evan Parry (Associate Professor of Theatre) staged Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (sung in Italian) in the newly refurbished Sottile Theater. Yuriy Bekker (Adjunct faculty at CofC; Concertmaster and Pops Conductor with Charleston Symphony Orchestra) conducted a full opera orchestra made up of CofC students and CSO members alike. Dr. DeAthos will continue to oversee the entire production as an Artistic Director, with assistance from Dr. Castellone.

Children's Opera

CofC Opera makes opera more widely accessible through its highly successful children's opera program which has reached over 40,000 students in local schools. Children’s Opera company performs stories accessible to children (fairy tales, nursery rhymes, etc.) which have often been set to great music from the western repertoire. Our recent tours have featured works from John Davies’ catalogue of “Opera Tales,” including Jack & the Beanstalk and Little Red’s Most Unusual Day, which were set to music by Arthur Sullivan, and Gioachino Rossini/Jacques Offenbach.  CofC Opera is proud to partner with Arts, Etc. to bring Children's Opera to John's Island and Wadmalaw schools each year.  Arts, Etc. is supported by their annual Art and House Tour.  Learn more here.

Opera Workshop

Opera Workshop meets twice weekly during the fall semester. This course serves both as a guide for the individual preparation and study necessary to succeed as a performer of opera (or musical theatre) and as an ensemble performance opportunity. It is something of a crash course in acting through singing, learning how to prepare for a performance as both a soloist and a member of an ensemble. The Opera Workshop culminates in an eclectic staged performance, often a scenes program featuring excerpts of operas and musical theatre alike, featuring great choruses, duets, and small ensemble pieces.

Patron Program

Charleston's opera enthusiasts are invited to join our Patron Program, get to know our talented students and faculty and help infuse the arts and an appreciation opera in area elementary schools. Click Here to become a contributor today!


Post-Baccalaureate Artist in Residence in Opera Performance


The College of Charleston's Artist in Residency in Performance is a two-year, non-degree, post-baccalaureate program. In the opera program, candidates are expected to complete various projects and assignments for the benefit of the department while taking on a peer-leadership role in the opera program and demonstrating professionalism for the benefit of the undergraduate students. In exchange, candidates will have a true conservatory experience with the added benefit of an individualized education. Click here to learn more about the Artist in Residency in Performance at College of Charleston.