University students excel in experimental opera learning experience in Italy

Overseas program allows students to sing and experience culture

From left to right, Stacy Russell, Dr. Olga Perez Flora and Cami Cutler pose for a photo while in Italy last summer.

From left to right, Stacy Russell, Olga Perez Flora and Cami Cutler in Italy last summer  intensive voice lessons.

Nine students from the University of Nevada, Reno attended an intensive two-week course last year in Italian voice lessons, opera scenes rehearsals and body movement courses. The experience ended with each student performing in an opera gala where they sang an aria developed by the coaches.

    University Assistant Professor of Music Olga Perez Flora was proud of the opportunity they were able to bring to students who participated in the program.   

    "This experience was created to enrich the students' artistry, to broaden their knowledge of the Italian culture and to incorporate a mind and body connection to singing," Flora said.  

    Stacy Russell, a University graduate student studying music, was ecstatic with everything she was able to do while in Italy and how it has prepared her for a possible future in opera.  

    "I have been exposed to multiple facets of what it takes to become an opera singer in today's world while simultaneously gaining the life experience of living in an Italian villa for two weeks," Russell said. "I got to travel to Europe and sing opera in the country it originated while studying at the villa of Tito Gobbi."  

    Flora also sees great potential in the program bringing in future students who would want to go on this experience.   

    "Singing in Italian is a must for opera singers, so this program gives them a greater knowledge of the Italian language and how it applies to singing," Flora said. "It is critical for those who want to work in the opera field."  

    In addition to learning opera from the source, Russell found studying abroad helped her to expand her horizons.   

    "My favorite part of the trip was the confidence I gained to be an individual who can travel on their own," Russel said. "I know so many people who hate to be alone or hate to leave home, but I am not one of those people now because of this program."  

    For those interested in future Italian opera trips and other music opportunities, contact Flora at

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