Music Student to Study Under America's Leading Opera Soprano

Senior Bria Langer was merely hours away from performing in her final Nebraska Wesleyan opera when she was notified of her next adventure.

“I am humbled,” said Langer, a vocal music performance major from Lincoln. “It still doesn’t seem real.”

Langer received the email she had long been waiting for. She had been accepted to study vocal performance at the Manhattan School of Music, a premier private music conservatory in New York.

And the news got even better. As she read through the email she learned she would be studying under Catherine Malfitano, an Emmy Award-winning opera star who is considered to be America’s leading operatic soprano.

“She must have been in the audience when I auditioned,” said Langer, who was handpicked by Malfitano.

Music has always been a part of Langer’s life whether it was singing with her sister or with a children’s choir. She started private voice lessons in the seventh grade and eventually decided to study music in college.

“I knew nothing about opera when I came to Wesleyan,” said Langer. “I thought it sounded like fun and decided to try out for the opera.”

In her first year at Nebraska Wesleyan, she landed the lead role in Die Fledermaus. She continued her operatic success with lead roles as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and last spring as Monica is the opera, The Medium.

“That first lead role that I got was when I really started to drink the juice,” Langer said of her love for opera.

Langer admits she’s a little nervous about working with Malfitano, who has performed in all major opera houses around the world.

“I don’t know what to expect,” she said. “I won’t be perfect but I’m sure I will learn a lot.”

During her audition, Langer performed a work by Thomas Pasatieri who happens to be a close friend of Malfitano. Langer recently received a personal email from Malfitano commending her for her audition choice and reiterating her excitement to work with Langer.

Langer credits her vocal music professors Dawn Pawlewski Krogh and Bill Wyman for pushing her to be her best.

“My love for opera is because of her love for opera,” Langer said of Krogh.

After completing her master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, Langer hopes to travel and perform opera around the world and eventually teach private voice lessons.

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Langer, pictured here as the lead in the NWU opera "The Medium" will study opera at the Manhattan School of Music.
Langer will study under Catherine Malfitano, an Emmy-Award winning opera star.