“Death by Aria and Chocolate” is not a traditional pairing, but thanks to the new USD Opera program, those unversed in the world of opera will learn what this means over dinner, wine and dessert.
The USD Opera program, along with the College of Fine Arts and the new Friends of USD Opera guild, is hosting a gala to raise funds for the opera program and student scholarships.
The artistic director for the event, Tracelyn Gesteland, chose to host a gala to diversify the program’s fundraisers.
“I thought a gala would be a fun way to showcase our opera students to the community and offer a kind of evening out that isn’t always available in a small town like Vermillion,” Gesteland said.
The gala will feature wine and desserts from RED Steakhouse while USD Opera students and faculty will perform arias throughout the evening. The event is currently sold out Gesteland said.
The event will also sport both live and silent auctions. Live auction items will include a live concert from the Rawlins Piano Trio and a meal by USD Opera maestro Luis Víquez.
The gala has been organized by the Friends of USD Opera, a new booster club of independent opera lovers and supporters of opera students.
Katherine Price, chair of the Friends of USD Opera, said she hopes to bring attention to the organization and rally support for USD Opera.
“This is an entirely volunteer event, and it’s been great to see so many of our group bring their notable skillsets to work to organize what I hope will be a fun event and great kick-off to future opera support,” Price said.
Gesteland said getting opera students to perform to the community at events like the gala is an essential part of their education.
“We have tremendous talent at USD, and so it is important that our students perform for as many people as possible to get the word out and to give them the experience necessary for their future careers,” Gesteland said.
The event will take place on Jan. 25 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in downtown Vermillion at REDS Steakhouse.