For a Better Commute. For Better Connected Communities in Prince William & Stafford, Va.

Summer Opera Program – Stafford Opera Troupe

Jul 18, 2017 - Aug 4, 2017
All Day

Mountain View High School
2135 Mountain View Road
Stafford, VA

Stafford Opera Troupe will be holding the 2017 Summer Opera Program at Mountain View High School from July 18-August 4, 2017. This fun and educational program serves singers aged 15 and older with one-on-one voice coachings, group rehearsals, masterclasses, and workshop sessions designed to prepare students for collegiate studies in voice. The program will culminate in a public performance of Henry Purcell’s beloved opera “Dido and Aeneas” on August 4. Best of all, it’s tuition-free! Applications are now open; singers may audition via recording to participate in the Summer Opera Program and be cast in the opera. Learn more and apply at

A team of volunteers founded Stafford Opera Troupe in 2016 with the goal of nurturing local singers to grow in an exciting and encouraging environment. “It all started in Mrs. Bonita Keene’s chorus classroom at Mountain View High School,” says Bree Nichols, co-founder of Stafford Opera Troupe. “The young singers’ responses to learning about and hearing opera were so enthusiastic, it made us realize how little opportunity they have to experience classical voice in their hometown– and we felt that had to change! So we teamed up to craft an experience that would allow these young singers to delve into the world of opera, developing their musical abilities and becoming well-rounded performers.”

The inaugural Summer Opera Program was held in 2016, culminating in a performance of classic opera scenes. The entire program was funded by community donations totaling less than $600. Contributions are collected at

“There are hundreds of Young Artist training programs for burgeoning singers in the U.S., but many of them cost thousands of dollars,” Nichols commented. “We believe the Summer Opera Program provides valuable performance experience and training for young singers, and with the support of the community, it is our goal to keep offering it tuition-free.”

In 2016, 7 students and 4 Peer Mentors graduated from the Summer Opera Program. According to the Stafford Opera Troupe website (, “SOT’s Peer Mentors are carefully selected, experienced singers with collegiate vocal training. Peer Mentors perform in SOT’s productions alongside the younger singers, sharing knowledge and experience garnered through their training and serving as role models both musically and professionally.”

This year the program returns with its first full opera production. “Dido and Aeneas” (pronounced DYE-doh and uh-NEE-us) is the most famous work composed by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) and is considered a masterwork of Baroque opera.

“‘Dido and Aeneas’ is only 50 minutes in length and is ensemble-heavy, making it the perfect way to showcase this year’s singers,” says Bree Nichols. “It is also a riveting plot based on a story from Virgil’s ‘Aeneid,’ featuring love, betrayal, and some exciting mythological elements. We can’t wait to bring it to life this summer.”

2017 program faculty include Bree Nichols (Vocal Specialist), Corinn Keene (Acting Specialist), Mrs. Bonita Keene of MVHS (Musical Consultant & Liason), Rachel Eve Holmes (Guest Voice Instructor), and Oleg Bellini (Collaborative Pianist).

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