Department of Music Performers Shine at 2nd Annual Opera Night Gala

A group of 25 performers wearing formal attire, posed in three rows.
Performers for Bemidji State University’s 2024 Opera Night.

More than two dozen singers performed works spanning a variety of musical genres, entertaining audiences across two nights at Bemidji State University’s second annual Opera Night, January 19-20.

Opera Night is a fundraising concert for the BSU Department of Music and its vocal performance programs. The cocktail wear-optional evening featured BSU students and faculty and guest artists performing a variety of opera, Broadway and other repertoire, while guests enjoyed a catered dinner.

This year’s concert featured more than 20 performances in four acts, with ensemble numbers, solo performances and a duet. Guest artists included Emily Bergeron and Josh Kohl. Bergeron, a graduate vocal performance student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is originally from Bemidji and graduated from BSU in 2022 with a degree in vocal performance. Kohl is a renowned tenor who has performed around the globe, including several years as a member of the ensemble at Theater Freiburg in Germany. He is currently based in Fargo, N.D.

The Department of Music thanks the BSU Alumni & Foundation for event planning, the Office of Communications & Marketing for event design, the School of Technology, Art & Design for set design and production, ARAMARK for catering, NLFX for light and sound, and Keg ‘n’ Cork for providing the bar. Costumes were done by Fred Rogers. Opera Night is directed by Dr. Cory Renbarger, professor of music at BSU and director of the department’s opera theatre program.

Visit to learn more about the Department of Music and Bemidji State University’s vocal music programs.


Act 1

  • “Anvil chorus” from Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.” Chorus.
  • “Che fiero momento” from Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice.” Helen Bartlett, soprano, Bemidji, Minn.
  • “The donkey serenade” from Friml & Stothart’s “Firefly.” Josh Kohl, guest artist.
  • “La conocchia” from Donizetti’s “Canzone napoletana.” Raegan Jarvi, mezzo-soprano, Sebeka, Minn.
  • “Batter My Heart” from Adams’ “Doctor Atomic.” Zhicheng He, baritone, Chaska, Minn.

Act 2

  • “Hellfire” from Menken’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” tenor/baritone/bass chorus and Blake Staines, bass, Bemidji, Minn.
  • “Sul fil d’un soffio etesio” from Verdi’s “Falstaff.” soprano/second soprano/alto chorus and Johanna Engman, soprano, Manteo, N.C.
  • “Johanna” from Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd.” Michael Johann, tenor, Zimmerman, Minn.
  • “Quando me’n vo'” from Puccini’s “La Bohème.” Dr. Jennifer Olson, assistant professor of music
  • “Elle a fui, la tourterelle” from Offenbach’s “Les contes d’Hoffmann.” Hailee Colgrove, soprano, Motley, Minn.

Act 3

  • “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” from Saint-Saëns’ “Samson ed Dalila.” Emily Bergeron, guest artist.
  • “Set Those Sails” from Finn’s “In Trousers.” Hanna Lewis, soprano, Nevis, Minn.
  • “S’allontanarono” from Verdi’s “Macbeth.” soprano/second soprano/alto chorus.
  • “Stizzoso, mio stizzoso” from Pergolesi’s “La serva padrona.” Anna Wetrosky, soprano, Pine River, Minn.
  • “Au fond du temple saint” from Bizet’s “Les Pècheurs de Perles.” Josh Kohl, guest artist, and Dr. Cory Renbarger, professor of music

Act 4

  • “The silver aria” from Moore’s “The Ballad of Baby Doe.” Bella Fontana, soprano, Bemidji, Minn.
  • “Corner of the sky” from Schwartz’s “Pippin.” Dr. James Bowyer, associate professor of music.
  • “Il bacio” from Arditi’s “Canzone italiana.” Merideth Klingbeil, mezzo-soprano, Wells, Minn.
  • “Kennst du das Land” from Adamo’s “Little Women.” Carson Binkley, bass, Puposky, Minn., and Hailee Colgrove, soprano, Motley, Minn.
  • “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot.” Josh Kohl, guest artist, and BSU chorus
  • “Va pensiero” from Verdi’s “Nabucco.” BSU chorus
  • Encore — “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” from Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian.” BSU chorus