Dr. Rick Piersall | ACU Opera Director

rick piersall

Assistant Professor of Voice, Opera and Music History

All the world’s a stage - at least according to William Shakespeare  - and for Dr. Rick Piersall, director of the ACU Opera, truer words have never been said. Piersall performed in Szeged, Hungary, in October and will perform in France this spring.

Piersall performed three roles in The Secret Agent, a story about terrorism and the political environment in Europe at the turn of the 20th century. He has been performing for more than 20 years, and he jumped at the chance to perform in Hungary - but the journey from Abilene to Europe is no day trip.

Home and abroad

"It was an amazing experience. We arrived after a 24-hour travel day. The next day we had two rehearsals in the opera house. Three of the cast members, including myself, had never been on the set before," he said. "The next day was the performance. The sheer amount of work and mental focus to pull such an event off was amazing to be a part of. Incredible professionalism was displayed by all."

Most of his performances have been in the United States, and for Piersall, the most unique and extraordinary venues are often found in the most unexpected places.

"I have sung in Washington State, up and down the east coast, the Midwest and multiple venues in Texas," he said. "The most unique are the little opera houses out in the middle of nowhere in Iowa.  You sort of drive through the cornfields and it's corn, corn, corn, then a little town with a beautiful little opera house."

Bringing insight to the classroom

Piersall's commitment to his students at ACU prevents him from travelling as much as he could, but he believes the insights he gains from his performances and the individuals he meets pay dividends back in the classroom.

"My students are able to benefit from my current knowledge of what is going on in the business. I am constantly singing with other professionals, and that helps keep me up with all the new facets of what's going on from the singer's perspective."

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