There are a considerable number of singing groups on campus; from a cappella to musical theater to the more chorus-like groups, it can get overwhelming. But one group that’s not often talked about on campus is opera.

The Duke Opera Workshop—founded in 1958 and directed by Susan Dunn, professor of the practice and director of undergraduate studies in music—puts on shows every semester. Opera Workshop is older than even the oldest a cappella group on campus, and is one of the only undergraduate opera programs that is still offered among peer institutions.

“Opera is definitely something that has been swept under the rug in our generation,” said senior Jay Attys, a music major and member of Opera Workshop. “It was the way of life at one point and now it seems like it has become a relic of the past, sadly.”

This semester Duke Opera Workshop is bringing opera into the modern age with their “Opera Goes to Broadway”-themed Spring Semester Performance. The performance will be featuring operatic-sounding songs from Broadway musicals such as "Oklahoma!" and "Sweeney Todd."

“Usually it will be a group of about ten of us and we’ll perform a variety of types of songs: duets, solos, trios, a group number,” said sophomore Katherine Berko, another student performing in the show. “Also, with this show we’ll have a dialogue in between the pieces so there will be, for instance, an 'Oklahoma!' song and then a little speech, so there will be a story in the background of all these songs.”

An extensive knowledge of opera is not a prerequisite for attending the show, however—even some of the current performers in the show had no previous experience with opera before coming to Duke.

“I used to just think opera was boring, like anybody else my age, I didn’t really understand it,” Attys said. “It was not until I became a music major and started studying it that I really started to appreciate opera for what it is.”

Although Opera Workshop puts on a show every semester, the performers this semester hope that because this show has a less opera-like and more Broadway feel, it will gain more recognition especially among the student population.

“A lot of the audience for our past shows has consisted of people who are older, or people who are attached to the program, like parents,” Berko said. “But hopefully with a musical theme we’ll have a better audience. Everyone’s really talented, and usually everyone that goes really enjoys it.”

“Duke has a lot of great singers here, and [Opera Workshop], and just the music department in general, is often under-appreciated,” Attys said. “We will continue to do what we love, and we can only hope that this show will bring more us more attention.”

This semester’s show “Opera Goes to Broadway” will be premiering on Saturday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m. in Baldwin Auditorium. Tickets for students will be free.