The Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at LSU, one of the first major university programs in the United States, has produced exceptional singers who have sung on world opera stages such as the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and New York City Opera. LSU annually produces two main stage productions, fully staged, designed, costumed, and accompanied by members of the LSU Symphony Orchestra, alongside smaller, staged shows and numerous outreach performance opportunities. In addition to private voice lessons with faculty, students receive one-on-one coaching with the opera music director and extensive training in acting and stage-craft from the opera stage director.

Recent Productions

poster: eugene onegin


Eugene Onegin

By Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
Sung in Russian (with English Supertitles)

Directed by Octavio Cardenas
Conducted by Michael Borowitz

Composed in 1877-78, Tchaikovsky’s musical adaptation of Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin is widely considered Russia’s most popular opera. Its “lyrical scenes in three acts” evoke a world of bourgeois country life under the Czars, in a score that ranges from moments of sweeping beauty to scenes of passionate intimacy and jealousy.



poster: Vixen


The Cunning Little Vixen

By Leoš Janáček
Sung in Czech

Directed by Dugg McDonough
Conducted by Michael Borowitz

An operatic delight – The Cunning Little Vixen revels in beautiful, poetic music set within a colorful fairy-tale world. Led by the Vixen herself, passionately in search of love, the worlds of man and nature are intertwined in a celebration of the cycle of life.



poster: Dog Days


Dog Days

Music by David T. Little
Written by Royce Vavrek

Directed by Dugg McDonough
Conducted by Michael Borowitz

Hailed in The New York Times as ”a groundbreaking American classic,” David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s Dog Days depicts a world of chaos during a raging, undefined war on U.S. soil.


poster: Falstaff



Music by Guiseppe Verdi
Libretto by Arrigo Boito

Directed by Dugg McDonough
Conducted by Michael Borowitz

Falstaff reveals the comic genius of Verdi and librettist Arrigo Boito through the actions of clever wives, secretive young lovers, and jealous husbands that swirl around the all-too-human world of the Bard’s famous “fat knight.“ Beautiful, riotous, and swift musical invention abounds, highlighted by the score’s glorious final ensemble. Audiences are sure to be seduced by the melody, humor, and charm of one of lyric theatre’s greatest masterpieces.


photo: art poster for le nozze di figaro

Le nozze di Figaro

Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Written by Lorenzo Da Ponte

Directed by Dugg McDonough
Conducted by Michael Borowitz

One of the ten most frequently performed operas, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) is a comic opera in four acts composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an Italian libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte. Experience a day and night filled with romance, madness and joy.


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She Loves Me

Music by Jerry Bock
Written by Sheldon Harnick

Directed by Dennis Jesse
Conducted by Régulo Stabilito

If you saw You’ve Got Mail, you will enjoy the opera She Loves Me. Consistently at odds with each other at work, Georg Nowack and Amalia Balash are unaware that each is the other’s secret pen-pal met through a lonely-hearts ad. Love can come from unexpected places.


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The Rake's Progress

Music by Igor Stravinsky
Written by W.H. Auden & Chester Kallman

Directed by Dugg McDonough
Conducted by Michael Borowitz

The Rake’s Progress is an opera in three acts, based on the eight paintings by William Hogarth that Stravinsky saw on May 2, 1947, at a Chicago exhibition. The opera depicts the decline and fall of Tom Rakewell, who deserts Anne Trulove for the delights of London in the company of Nick Shadow, the Devil. “For idle hearts, hands and minds the Devil finds work to do.”


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Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera)

Music by Kurt Weill
Libretto by Bertolt Brecht

Directed by Dugg McDonough
Conducted by Michael Borowitz

A brilliant parody of 18th-century opera, Die Dreigroschenoper is a celebration of the unique collaboration of Brecht‘s political satire as sharp as Mack the Knife‘s blade, combined with Weill‘s edgy 1920s jazz harmonies and cabaret orchestration.


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L'italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers)

Composed by Rossini
Performed in Italian with English Supertitles

Directed by Dugg McDonough
Conducted by Michael Borowitz

Serious opera that is funny! The beautiful Isabella sails off to Algiers in search of her lover Lindoro, held prisoner by the tyrant Mustafa. However, her ship runs aground and an adventure ensues. This opera includes pirates, concubines, eunuchs and a 19th century Turkish seaside palace with beautiful and brilliant arias and a virtuosity that is truly Rossini!


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Opera NOW!

Exploring Literature, Art and War

Join us to celebrate 21st century American opera! Hear new, audience-friendly works of the lyric theater that have greatly enriched our world with adaptations of great literature and works inspired by art and themes of war. LSU Opera is thrilled to celebrate this American artistic renaissance of the past decade, highlighting operas based on works such as The Grapes of Wrath, Moby Dick and Cold Mountain.


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Sweeney Todd

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
From an adaptation by Christopher Bond

Directed by Dugg McDonough
Conducted by Michael Borowitz

Unjustly sent to prison, a man vows revenge, not only for his jail punishment, but also for what happened to his wife and daughter. When he reopens his barber shop, he becomes Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, who “shaved the faces of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard of again.”

SWEENEY TODD is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.MTIShows.com

Underwriters: John G. Turner & Jerry G. Fischer
Additional Underwriters: BRAVO & Baton Rouge Opera Guild


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The Mikado

Composed by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

Directed by Dennis Jesse
Conducted by Michael Borowitz

Love can be complicated! Delighting audiences for well over 100 years, The Mikado is arguably Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular comic opera. Opening in 1885 at London’s Savoy Theatre and running for a historic 672 performances, The Mikado achieved success by satirizing both the political state of 19th-century England and the country’s cultural preoccupation with Orientalism.

The opera focuses on Nanki-Poo, son of the Mikado of Japan, who flees his father’s imperial court to escape an arranged marriage with Katisha, the Mikado’s elderly daughter-in-law-elect. Disguised as a traveling musician, he meets and falls in love with Yum-Yum, the young ward of Ko-Ko, a common tailor.



Opera performances are held in the Claude L. Shaver Theatre, inside the Music & Dramatic Arts Building.

Purchase Tickets Online

Tickets can also be purchased by calling the CMDA Box Office at:
(225) 578-3527.



Michael Borowitz

Michael Borowitz
Associate Professor
Music Director of LSU Opera

Dennis Jesse

Dennis Jesse
Associate Professor

James "Dugg" McDonough

James McDonough
Fruehan Associate Professor
Artistic Director of LSU Opera