Campus Life

Opera student to perform Puccini in Italy, Norway

She’s fluent in three languages, has lived on two continents and has one amazing voice. Her name is Caroline Bergan, a music major studying opera at the University of West Florida (UWF). This summer, she’ll embark on an incredible journey to Italy and Norway to study and play a role in a fully staged Italian opera.

“The program will take place in Arezzo, Italy,” said Bergan. “During the five-week program, I will partake in daily intensive language classes, private voice lessons, coaching and master classes on various topics.  I will be performing the role of Suor Genovieffa in the opera Suor Angelica by Puccini in Arezzo’s Communal Palace.”

UWF’s music program has been incredibly valuable to her growth and maturity as an artist, Bergan said. Under the leadership of Sheila Murphy, assistant professor of music, and Joe Spaniola, chair of the music department, Bergan came from knowing relatively nothing about music to being a highly-coveted talent in national and international markets.

“I didn’t really grow up singing in choir or in anything official,” said Bergan. “I was more of a shower singer. But one day, my mom said something that inspired me to audition, and from then on, I knew it was my calling.”

Bergan has been actively involved with music and opera for almost three years and sees no end in sight.

She plans to graduate in spring 2013 and continue on to graduate school. Her dream is to become an opera singer and possibly a teacher.

“We want our students to have as many opportunities in as many settings as possible,” said Spaniola. “Our goal is to help people enrich their love of music and prepare anyone for a long, successful and productive music career.”

Bergan is active in the local music community and has performed with the Pensacola Opera. Despite her success, Bergan is reminded that she would not be anywhere without the care and supervision of her teachers.

“Other than my voice, the faculty at UWF have given me everything,” said Bergan. “I started out not knowing how to even read music. They’ve really built me from the ground up from what I was to what I wanted to be. My class time is the most fun I have all week.”

“Music is so multi-faceted,” said Spaniola. “There’s a variety of lessons to learn and rules to master, and our job is to give students a comprehensive knowledge of those.”

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music since 1971 and currently serving more than 110 majors and minors, the Department of Music is housed in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at the University of West Florida. For more information, visit