Friends University Heads to Italy for the Inaugural season of Opera Seme

Wichita, Kan. – It’s been years in the making and the hard work is finally paying off. Friends University is the lead school in the creation and running of the Opera Seme young artist program in Arezzo, Italy. Opera Seme is an opera training program focused on developing the skills of undergraduate voice students with a focus on Italian language and culture, lyric diction, vocal technique, and stage deportment.

Nine Friends University students/alumni will be participating in the inaugural season.

“After being delayed two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are so excited to finally offer this amazing study-abroad opportunity to our students. We’re grateful to our partners at Spazio Seme Artistic Center in Arezzo for their many hours of hard work and commitment to this new collaboration, which we hope will be the first of many.” said Dr. Matthew Schloneger, Opera Seme’s executive director and Friends University’s associate professor of voice.

The program features four full weeks of coaching, masterclasses, and language lessons mixed with day trips and cultural experiences. It will also include full productions of W.A. Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and Umberto Giordano’s Mese Mariano, along with a Broadway and Jazz Concert at Arezzo’s Fortezza Medicea with the Orchestra Instabile di Arezzo.

Arezzo is the hometown of Guido d’Arezzo, the father of modern Western musical notation, and is just over an hour outside of Florence, the birthplace of opera. Located in southeastern Tuscany, the city boasts a wide range of sites to see including fortresses, monuments, churches, museums, and ancient Roman archeological ruins.

Friends University students/alumni [Naomi Cavanaugh, Abigail Hale, Chenille Hawkins, Salma Pena, Samantha Scantlin, Hannah Howard, Asael Gonzalez Castillo, Clayton Reitz, and Jordan Roth] will join students from ten other universities. They start their travels on June 24, 2022.

Friends University, a Christian University of Quaker heritage, equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.

For more information about the Opera Seme program, visit