Opera Scenes

The inauguration of Opera Scenes at Penn in 2013, followed by other initiatives on opera, is inspired by the belief that this 400-year-old intermedial art form offers extraordinary opportunities to develop student talent and competence in a variety of areas and to bring scholarly and performing communities together, at Penn and beyond.

In 2018-19 the opera scenes program will run throughout the entire year.

In the fall, Dr. Lily Kass will lead the Rodin Opera Scenes, with a final performance taking place in Rodin College House, providing performance opportunities for singers with varying levels of experience to explore the genre.

In the spring, Resident Artist Meg Bragle will offer a Baroque opera workshop, focusing on works from Monteverdi to Handel.

Each segment (fall and spring) counts as MUS007 (half-credit) and can be taken consecutively or separately. Below please find descriptions for each segment. Check back this page in August for an announcement concerning auditions.



The Rodin Opera Scenes Program was founded by Lily Kass, Maria Murphy, and Carlo Lanfossi in 2013, and it became an official Penn Music Department Ensemble in 2016. The Program fosters a positive, collaborative, low-stress environment, and we welcome participants of all levels of experience. Singers are matched with repertoire that suits their vocal capabilities (range, tessitura, technical capacity, etc.), as determined at their auditions. Pianists are assigned to each scene. Students are coached on musical style, foreign language diction, stage movement, and dramatic intention. The semester culminates in a fully staged performance of assorted scenes from operas. Past scenes have included duets, trios, and larger ensembles from Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, Mozart's Don Giovanni, Bizet's Carmen, Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Weill's A Threepenny Opera, and Adamo's Little Women. Students have performed in French, German, Italian, and English.

You can also find information about Rodin Opera Scenes on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RodinOperaScenes/.

WATCH the Rodin Opera scenes 2017 performance here>>>>

BIO: Lily Kass

Lily Kass is a co-founder of Rodin Opera Scenes and currently serves as the program's director.  Lily graduated from Penn in May of 2017 with a PhD in Music History.  Her research focuses on issues of translation in both historical and contemporary opera performance.  In addition to her work with Opera Scenes, Lily works as an adjunct lecturer in music history, as a freelance writer and editor, and a singer. 




Please check back for full description. This course will focus on Baroque opera, featuring a collaboration with the Penn Baroque Ensemble directed by Gwyn Roberts.  

BIO: Meg Bragle

Widely praised for her musical intelligence and “expressive virtuosity” (San Francisco Chronicle), Meg Bragle is quickly earning an international reputation as one of today’s most gifted mezzo-sopranos.

A frequent featured soloist with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists, she has made four recordings with the group, including Bach’s Easter and Ascension Oratorios – the vehicle for her BBC Proms debut − and the October 2015 release of Bach’s Mass in B Minor. As a gifted early music specialist, Ms. Bragle has sung in North America and Europe with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Les Violons du Roy, Apollo’s Fire, and the Dunedin Consort.

Ms. Bragle has appeared with many symphony orchestras in the US and Canada including the Houston (Beethoven’s Mass in C Minor), Indianapolis (Mozart’s Requiem), Milwaukee (Mozart’s Requiem), Cincinnati (Bach’s Mass in B Minor), Pacific (Handel’s Judas Maccabeus), and Colorado (Mendelssohn’s Elijah) Symphonies; the National Arts Center Orchestra (Messiah) and a series of concerts with the Calgary Philharmonic including Handel’s Messiah and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

Highlights of the past season include a return to Netherlands Bach Society for a tour of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and performances with Music of the Baroque (St. John Passion), Mercury Houston Orchestra (St. Matthew Passion), Arion Baroque Orchestra, and Tempesta di Mare. Other recent highlights include performances with the Winter Park and Carmel Bach Festivals, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Early Music Vancouver, multiple appearances as vocal soloist with New York City Ballet, and American Bach soloists.

Her opera roles include Idamante in Idomeneo, Dido and the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Dardano in Handel’s Amadigi, Amastre in Handel’s Serse, Speranza in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Ippolita in Cavalli’s Elena, and Elpina in Vivaldi’s La Fida Ninfa.

Ms. Bragle is an accomplished recording artist. In addition to those with the English Baroque Soloists, she has made several recordings with Apollo’s Fire: Mozart’s Requiem (Koch), Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Avie), and Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine (Avie), and L’Orfeo (Eclectra). Other recordings include Bach’s St. John Passion with Arion Baroque (ATMA Classique).

Upcoming Performances

Schedule TBA. Please check back later.