Skip Sub Menu

Drake Opera Theater

Come experience a real opera!

Professional level stage experience for undergraduate students with full productions and scene work!

*For current opera production information and tickets, please click here and look for music events. 

The Drake University Opera Theater is a performance ensemble that is listed as a course offering (MUS 169). All Drake students involved in the opera are selected through an audition process. Auditions are held every spring semester. MUS 169 meets in the spring semester every Wednesday 4-6 pm and Fridays 3-5 pm. Additional rehearsals are scheduled throughout the semester according to student availability and the two weeks prior to the production. 

The Drake Opera Theater provides students the opportunity to explore the genre of opera by mounting a production over the course of a semester.   Students will have the opportunity to build upon the training obtained in the vocal studios by gaining valuable acting and singing experiences on the stage. Students will explore the theatrical ensemble and gain an understanding of all production elements. Students will become more independent musicians. Students will have the rare opportunity of singing a complete opera in a native language with orchestra at an undergraduate level. 

Since 2002, Drake University Faculty Member, Dr. Ann Cravero, has enthusiastically introduced students to the charm and splendor of opera.  The Drake Opera provides compelling productions with repertoire ranging from full performances such as The Elixir of Love, The Magic Flute, The Tender Land, and The Pirates of Penzance to opera scenes and acts such as Così fan Tutte, The Impresario and Trouble in Tahiti. The Drake Opera Theater Performances are produced in the Performance Arts Hall with the full productions accompanied by a collaboration of Drake Faculty, students, and professional musicians in the local area.  Although Dr. Cravero will continue to serve Drake University as a Voice Professor, in 2018 she decided to take a bow from her position as Director of the Drake Opera Theatre in order to pursue other professional opportunities.

Maestro Stefano Vignati was appointed as General Director and Principal Conductor of Drake Opera Theatre in 2017. Maestro Vignati's operatic repertoire includes performances of more than 30 Opera titles and he has conducted many prestigiuos Orchestras in Italy, United States, China, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Germany and Slovenia.

The Drake Opera Theater also brings in guest artists such as world-renowned directors, coaches and singers including former Metropolitan Opera Baritone and Drake Alumni Sherrill Milnes, soprano Maria Zouves, former Metropolitan opera singer Janet Alcorn, and directors Sally Stunkel, Gary Race, Andrew Ryker, and Tony Humrichouser. Students of Drake Opera Theater are often heard singing and performing for local opera chapters, retirement homes, and providing community outreach. 

Tickets are available at the Drake Fine Arts Box Office 515-271-3841.   Due to audience restrictions because of Covid-19, only faculty and students can reserve tickets for the Opera Scenes perfomance in April 2021.

Like Drake Opera Theater on Facebook.

Past Productions


The Drake Opera Theater is very grateful for your generous contributions to help support the Opera productions.
In order for the funding to go to Opera, the online contributions must be designated to the College of Arts and Sciences with the DRAKE OPERA THEATER specified in the ‘comments’ section.

Checks can be written to Drake Opera Theater and sent to: 
Attn:  Doug Lampe
Drake University
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Thank you for making the dream of opera come alive for our very talented and motivated students!

Fine Arts News