Opera Attic: Where Storytelling Comes to Life


Image of TCU Opera Students performing in "The Magic Flute."

TCU Opera Students perform in “The Magic Flute.”

Nestled within the attic of the Secrest-Wible Building, faculty and volunteers collaborate and create for the stage in the TCU Opera Studio costume shop.

Image of Twyla Robinson, assistant professor of Professional Practice in Voice.

Twyla Robinson, assistant professor of Professional Practice in Voice.

Twyla Robinson, assistant professor of Professional Practice in Voice, has spearheaded costuming for the program and transformed the attic into a fully functional seam shop last year.

“All of her time is voluntary and extends far beyond her regular teaching duties,” said Corey Trahan, Director of the TCU Opera Studio. “She is truly deserving of recognition for her tireless efforts, exemplary leadership and the remarkable feat of crafting 90% of the costumes worn by students since fall 2022.”

Trahan contacted Julie Lovett, the Director of Continuing Education, as the demand for costumes grew, for guidance in finding additional volunteers. She recommended connecting with Silver Frogs, a membership organization comprising individuals aged 50 and beyond who share a passion for lifelong learning and community support.

“Silver Frogs offers a sewing class and I contacted their instructor, Sue Ott, a former costumer for the Department of Theatre,” explained Trahan. “She, along with Janice Marut, Kathleen Farrell and Joann Schulte graciously volunteered to design and sew costumes for our productions last spring.”

Images of two dressed created by Silver Frogs members.

Costumes created by Silver Frogs members

The group continues working their magic for the opera studio’s current season.

“I had never experienced an opera before and thoroughly enjoyed watching my first production with the TCU Opera,” said Marut. “It was fun to see the costumes come to life as different characters wore them, especially when thinking about the time I spent crafting them.”

Thanks to a massive shipment of fabric purchased from a local store, the seam shop is bursting with an abundance of materials used by the Silver Frogs members and Robinson to craft custom-tailored costumes for students.

“We owe so much of the professionalism in our program to the generosity and devotion of the Silver Frogs and our very own Twyla Robinson,” said Faith Adams, a vocal performance senior. “To have costumes allows us as performers to step into the world of our characters, and it provides tools in our education that we wouldn’t have otherwise. There is no overstating how significant Twyla Robinson and the Silver Frogs’ contributions are to TCU Opera.”

See some of their creations this year.

Learn more about becoming a Silver Frog.