Southeast Alumna Performing in Operas in Colorado

annachrisAlumna Anna Christine “Chris” Woiwood of Lee’s Summit, Mo., has multiple upcoming performances as a graduate student at the University of Northern Colorado. She will sing the soprano solo in the “Lord Nelson Mass” by Haydn on April 5 with the Greely Chorale.

In addition, she will perform as Donna Anna in a duet from Don Giovanni April 9 with the University of Northern Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

On April 17 she will perform her master’s recital, and on May 3, she will sing the soprano solo for Mozart’s “Requiem” with the Greeley Philharmonic. With the company she apprentices for, Opera Fort Collins, she will also be performing “Turandot” May 30, where she will sing in the chorus and cover the role of Liù.

“I am so excited to have made such great connections here at UNCO which have allowed for all of these upcoming opportunities. I’m excited and scared, but I love performing so I am grateful for all of these upcoming performances,” she says.

In 2013, she performed as the mother in Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” a one-act opera retelling of the first Christmas from the perspective of a young boy, in conjunction with Opera Fort Collins.

Chris is in her second year of graduate school at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo. While attending graduate school, she has performed as Magda, one of the lead characters in Giacomo Puccini’s “La rondine.”

“[Magda] was a great role because I got to be on stage for practically the entire show and sang almost the whole time,” Chris said.

She earned a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Southeast Missouri State University in 2012. Her undergraduate career did not begin at Southeast, though.

“I chose Southeast on a whim. I was at another college that didn’t have a Bachelor of Music program. I saw that an old friend had gone to Southeast and that they had an opera program. I asked her about it and then came to audition. The whole process was really easy and they accepted me right away, so I transferred,” Chris says.

While at Southeast, she enjoyed performing in the department’s operas. She participated in three different operas with the University and sang with the orchestra as a soloist for Vivaldi’s “Gloria.”

“I’ve always been excited and interested in singing and performing. Even though I started as a musical theatre major at another college, I’m glad that I was directed to the world of opera and then chose Southeast … because there were many great opportunities there for me. Being on stage motivates me to pursue this crazy and often uncertain career,” Chris says.

Chris loved Southeast after she arrived because it was a small community where she had many chances to perform and professors to help her improve.

“I had great professors who worked with my voice and got my technique in line so I had a really good foundation for singing once I graduated,” Chris says.

Chris says her professors assisted her with the graduate school application process. One professor helped her write and edit her personal statement, and another attended the University of Northern Colorado so his knowledge and connections were helpful.

“Because of the small size of Southeast, I had so many opportunities not only to sing, but also to perform with the orchestra. I played string bass in high school and got to take it back up when I went to Southeast. I also got to play in a jazz ensemble. Southeast gave me a great, varied experience where I could explore more than just vocal music,” Chris says.

As an undergraduate, Chris enjoyed hanging out in downtown Cape Girardeau with her friends as well as enjoying open mic nights and poetry slams at bookstores and cafes.

“I was always discovering new spots in Cape Girardeau, like the great lookout up above the river. The downtown area has great thrift stores and hidden cafes as well,” Chris says.

In addition to touring Cape Girardeau, she also visited Europe through study abroad trips with the University. By visiting Vienna, Austria, and Paris, France, she expanded her cultural experience and broadened her horizons.

“It was fun to explore those cities and get comfortable in Europe. It was interesting to see how people live over there because I could live there one day, or at least work there, sometime in the future. The European cities offer so much opera; it was great because there was a different opera almost every night,” Chris says.

Chris enjoys taking long walks, and continues to explore towns she visits in Colorado and other places.

“I try to walk almost every day; it’s a good meditative time where I can listen to upcoming roles and relax. I also like to explore towns by walking through them. I get to explore nearby parks and look at cool old architecture in Colorado,” Chris says.

Chris advises students that while they’re at Southeast, they should “take advantage of helpful professors and the information they have to offer.”