Opera is back in the spotlight at Wilfrid Laurier University.

For the first time since 2019, Opera Laurier is getting ready to perform with a full orchestra.

Students will make their triumphant return to the stage with an operatic adaptation of “Little Women.”

“We have the singers, we have an orchestra, there's so many moving parts to this, and it's just a great, wonderful community collaboration with everyone,” student assistant director Naha Yousuf said.

Little women opera

Each semester, students in Laurier’s Practice of Opera course produce a fully-staged production, but the pandemic put the tradition on pause.

Yousuf said it’s good to be back, and the subject matter they’re tackling is particularly interesting.

“I'd say the piece is very emotionally challenging. The characters are so layered because they change so much throughout the piece,” Yousuf said.

And, of course, there is plenty of drama.

“Basically, my character is a catalyst in the first act for a lot of the drama that happens with the main character, Jo,” said Ben Wallace, who’s playing John Brooke. “She's somebody who has trouble dealing with change, and I'm the one who comes and marries her oldest sister, and her whole world is about to change because of me.”


The student portraying Jo says putting on a two-hour performance certainly requires more work than meets the eye.

The cast just wrapped up their intensive week, which saw opera rehearsal every day for eight hours.

“We've just started doing our rehearsals with the orchestra, and so through next week, we'll do all of our dress rehearsals and then opening is Friday, so it's coming up very quickly,” said Delaney Dam, who will play Jo March.

Laurier Opera


Although you might not think university students and opera are a natural match, those involved in the production say the story of “Little Women” is actually for everyone.

“Since this opera is in English, it's also of a well-known story, it's a really good opener for somebody who wants to get into watching opera,” Delaney said.

“It's a story that is certainly rooted in a certain time period,” Wallace said. “But there are a lot of progressive themes within it, and certainly a heroine that deals with change and that's something we all experience all the time.”

Opening night is March 10, with performances running until March 12.

Tickets cost $20 for adults and $12 for seniors and are free for students.

Tickets and information on show times are available here.