Vocal Arts and MSU Connecting at The Met

College of Music Voice Professor takes stage, hosts Spartans in New York City.

Jane Bunnell as Mamma Lucia in Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana.” Photo by Marty Sohl, courtesy Metropolitan Opera.
Jane Bunnell in full costume, provided a backstage tour of The Met after the performance.
At the reception, Jane Bunnell, center, poses for a photo with MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon, and College of Music Dean James Forger.
Alumni and Friends of Michigan State University and the College of Music made the trip to the New York Metropolitan Opera to see “Cavalleria Rusticana.”

Mezzo-soprano Jane Bunnell has performed for audiences worldwide for more than 30 years. But few have touched her heart as much as the group of MSU Spartans who traveled to see her recent performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera.

In late January, the new professor of voice in the MSU College of Music performed as Mamma Lucia in Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana.” The role—her 30th in a 25-year career that has spanned 408 appearances at The Met—marked the first she had performed on stage for her new MSU family. The reception, she says, was astonishing.

“Spartans came from all over the country to show their support,” says Bunnell, professor of voice. “I was extremely moved and so impressed by their devotion and passion to the arts.”

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon was among the nearly two dozen College of Music donors who traveled to New York to see Bunnell perform. The group hosted a special reception for Bunnell, which in turn, resulted in Bunnell arranging a special back-stage tour of The Met for visiting Spartans.

“Jane is a wonderful talent who is also extremely gracious and approachable,” says James Forger, dean of the College of Music. “The event was a great opportunity for our donors to meet Jane, and to experience this world class artist on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.”

Area Chair of Vocal Arts Rick Fracker says that Bunnell’s accomplishments with the Met strengthen the College’s existing affiliation with the prominent venue.

“Not only does she have the respect and ear of top administrators at the Met, she also has abundant connections with the finest singers, coaches, and conductors who routinely perform there,” Fracker says. “A personal connection can often be the difference in making something great happen for our students and our program at MSU.”

Bunnell joined the College’s vocal arts area last August along with Marc Embree, a respected singer-actor who was a principal singer with the New York City Opera, and now MSU associate professor of voice.

“I’m so excited to be part of the musical eco-system here at MSU,” Bunnell says. “I’m looking forward to making music, teaching, and helping to develop and send the amazing young talent we have at MSU out onto the stage and into the world.”


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