Topic: College of Fine Arts

May 12, 2015

Doctoral student creates children’s opera
This spring, Briana Sosenheimer, a doctoral student in the School of Music, created an opera for children inspired by "The Serpent," a poem by Theodore Roethe. The opera toured four Muncie elementary schools.

Knowing many children may never have the opportunity to attend a live opera, Ball State University student Briana Sosenheimer decided to bring the opera to them.

This spring, Sosenheimer, a doctoral student in the School of Music, created an opera for children inspired by "The Serpent," a poem by Theodore Roethe. "The poem is about a serpent who wants to be a singer despite his lack of vocal skills," she said. "I thought a singing serpent would be perfect for a children's opera, especially one I wanted to use to highlight the topic of bullying."

The opera toured four Muncie elementary schools, and Sosenheimer said principals, teachers, and children alike were receptive to its positive message. "Opera is not only fun to watch, but fairy tales in children's opera have morals and characters that elementary schoolchildren can relate to," she said.

Sosenheimer's opera featured Ball State undergraduate and graduate students as performers. She explained that singing for children is different than performing in concert settings for adults. "You have to have higher energy and more stamina for these characters that are larger than life," she said.

Sosenheimer is currently performing in a children's opera with the Indianapolis Opera Ensemble and is working toward a doctoral degree with a focus on vocal performance and stage directing. She said she hopes Ball State can continue bringing children's opera performances to local schools in the future.

By Logan Jones