Opera Theatre

Don Pasquale a La Tarantino

The CSUSB Opera Theatre announced their 2015-2016 season kicking off with their Opera Scenes concert on November 19.

In winter quarter, the CSUSB Opera Theatre presented Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins on November 5th in the PA Recital Hall and on November 12th at The Vine Theatre in San Diego. For this opera, the CSUSB Music Department welcomed CSUSB Theatre's very own, Carol Damgen as director. The opera was choreographed by Faith Jensen-Ismay, and the pianists for the opera were Dr. ChoEun Lee and Dr. Wen Ting Huang

For spring quarter, the major opera production is Don Pasquale a la Tarantino which will be going up on May 6th and 7th, 2016 in the PA Recital Hall. This opera will be directed by Dr. Stacey Fraser, and will feature guest conductor, maestro John Mario Di Constanzo. The opera's music will be directed by Dr. ChoEun Lee.

Don Pasquale a La Tarantino tells the story of an old rich “eligible bachelor”, Don Pasquale, who seeks to wed in order to teach his nephew, Ernesto, a lesson for not wanting to marry the woman Pasquale chose for him. In an arranged twist of events, Pasquale’s young bride, Norina, turns out to be Ernesto’s love interest. Norina plans to drive Pasquale mad with her antics, and dupe the old man into allowing his nephew to marry her.

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The 2014-2015 opera season brought the story of Robert Xavier Rodríguez, La Curandera to the Recital Hall Stage.This comedic one-act opera was well received by audiences and had them humming the melodies for weeks!

La Curandera Spring Opera Production

Robert Xavier Rodríguez's Mexican folklore themed opera intertwined Mexican culture with opera delightfully offering audiences traditional Folklore music with a Mozart-esque twist in the score.

La Curandera is a work with such stage presences and originality both musically and thematically, it appealed to audiences who normally would turn a deaf ear to new music.  The music for this opera was textured, multifaceted  and alive with an upbeat orchestration reflecting the Latino culture.

The CSUSB Opera Theatre production for the 2013-2014 season brought Ástor Piazzolla's María de Buenos Aires and Robert Xavier Rodríguez's Concert Suite from Frida to the CSUSB Recital hall stage. The compilation of these two one-act operas into one show gave audiences a delightful treat of music, dance and drama.

Maria de Buenos Aires & Cocert Suite Frida

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The CSUSB Music Department and The CSUSB Opera Theatre's presentation of A Tribute to Leonard Bernstein-Trouble in Tahiti was dazzling! With a sold out opening night performance, Trouble in Tahiti brought audiences to their feet.

The CSUSB Opera Theatre presents, A Tribute to Leonard Bernstein May 3-5, 2013 music.csusb.edu. Trouble in Tahiti

Trouble in Tahiti is a one-act opera centered around the story of a desperately unhappy couple searching for an escape to their mundane daily routine. Longing for love and unable to communicate, the couple attempts to carry on with their daily lives.

The opera also featured a scat singing jazz trio and of course, amazing music.

The CSUSB Opera Theatre is an auditioned ensemble directed by Dr. Stacey Fraser, Associate Professor of Music.

Dr. Fraser’s innovative, modern and zany adaptations of the standard operatic repertoire have led to consecutive sold out performances since her time of hire at Cal State San Bernardino in 2007. Recent productions include Mozart’s Impresario set in the Wild West, San Bernardino, 1882, with dialogue adaptation by Dr. Terry Donovan Smith.

Opera theatre presents, Mozart's Impresario poster

Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, set in the beloved Harris Company Department Store, City of San Bernardino, circa 1964 and Offenbach’s RSVP: or a Musicale at Mr. Cauliflower’s set in the Roaring 20’s New York City, circa 1928. The operas are performed with full orchestra, many of whose members are union musicians of the Los Angles greater metro area. Elaborate sets and costumes are also an integral part of our productions.

RSVP or a musical at Mr. Cauliflowers by Jacques Offenbach, Dr. Stacey Fraser, director

This past academic year the Opera Theatre in the Department of Music at Cal State San Bernardino presented Engelbert Humperdinck's opera Hänsel und Gretel.  Local audiences including the campus community of CSUSB, the community at large in the city of San Bernardino, high school and middle school students of the City of San Bernardino Unified School District CAPS program as well as audiences in the surrounding cities of the Inland Empire and Los Angeles County were thrilled by this most talked about production. CSUSB’s  Hänsel und Gretel featured costumes by LA based film maker Fabiola Munoz of Masque Films. The beautiful and set and lighting design was created by Randall Hodges.  In addition to the fully staged performances with orchestra, the CSUSB Opera Theatre students performed outreach events in an effort to bring opera directly to the community at large.

Photo of Hansel and Gretel looking back and holding hands as they are going towards the house where the which is standing.  The CSUSB Music Department presents a 2012 Opera Theater production of Hänsel und Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck, Fri., May 4 7:30 p.m. and Sun, May 6 2 p.m. CSUSB Performing Arts Recital Hall 5500 University Parkway, San Bernadino 92407 909-537-7516 music.csusb.edu

The design of the set and costumes resembled the colors and fantasy themes of Tim Burton’s recent Oscar winning movie Alice in Wonderland and pop culture references were incorporated into the costumes, staging and adaptation of the text. The opera was highly successful with sold out houses to approximately 440 audience members on the CSUSB campus.

Newspaper articles and promotions as well as live interviews on this original adaptation of the contemporary setting of Hänsel und Gretel appeared in The San Bernardino Sun, the Press Enterprise, Coyote Chronicle, IE Weekly and CSUSB Magazine. A documentary on the making of the CSUSB Opera Theatre production of Hänsel und Gretel will air on CSUSB TV later this fall 2012.

Opera News


The CSUSB Opera Theater announced the 2014-2015 opera production. The upcoming production for Spring 2015 is going to be Robert Xavier Rodríguez' La Curandera.


The CSUSB Opera Theatre has announced their 2013-2014 season production. The opera production for this year will be Ástor Piazzolla's María de Buenos Aires and excerpts from Robert Xavier Rodríguez's Concert Suite from Frida on April 25 & 26 in the Performing Arts Recital Hall. Tickets are $11 for students, $13 (senior, faculty and staff) and $18 general admission.


Trouble in Tahiti tickets are on sale now! To get your tickets click on the "Buy Tickets Now" link on the left hand side of our website or visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/csusbmusic and click on the "Get Tickets" tab. Tickets are $11 for students, $13 for staff/faculty/seniors and $17 general admission.