Renowned opera expert comes to College of Musical Arts

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Longtime opera stage director, administrator and teacher Jay Lesenger will bring his expertise and experience to students in the College of Musical Arts March 21 and March 22 as part of the Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies.

Lesenger, who is familiar to Toledo audiences from his staging of last season’s Toledo Opera production of “Madama Butterfly,” will give master classes, work with students on building their resumes and auditioning, and provide insight into the music business. All his classes and presentations are free and open to the public.

On March 21, he will present an introduction and master class from 3:30-6 p.m. in the Conrad Room at the Wolfe Center for the Arts, and a master class from 7-10 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center.

On March 22, he will hold a resume session from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Kobacker, a session on the music business and auditioning from 2-4 p.m. in Kobacker, a master class from 4-6 p.m. in the Conrad Room, and another from 8-10 p.m. in Kobacker.

Lesenger has produced and directed more than 200 operas for New York City Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, and multiple other companies throughout the U.S., Europe and Scandinavia. Through his 40-year career, he has directed a range of operatic genres, from classical to bel canto to works by contemporary composers.

A well-known teacher of acting for singers, he recently joined the guest faculty of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. He has also taught in the School of Music opera faculties at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and has directed productions for the Julliard, Mannes, and Manhattan Schools of Music as well as at Indiana University and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Lesenger is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions. He holds a master’s degree from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music and Theater from Hofstra University.

Helen and the late Harold McMaster established the endowed professorship in spring 2000. Helen McMaster, a longtime Perrysburg resident, has supported the arts at BGSU for many years. In 1992 she served as honorary chair of BGSU’s Campaign of the Arts, to which the McMasters donated $150,000. Past recipients of the endowed professorship have included Marilyn Horne, The Thirteen, Fredric West, and Samuel Ramey.