The performers are the 12 members of my Opera Workshop class - graduate level. Each will be singing an aria and the repertoire is varied, though there is a lot of Handel on the program. Each student was assigned a Shakespeare monologue and will be performing that as well. Unfortunately the arias and the monologues have no relation to each other, except that they are learning tools. Occasionally I am able to program thematically, or do a program of Shakespeare monologues along with excerpts from opera scenes based on Shakespeare.
I have assigned Shakespeare over the years and found it to be a wonderful exercise on many levels. Understanding language, the acting process, metaphor, the relationship between word and music. It also unlocks and demystifies a world that is intimidating and foreign. The students end up adoring Shakespeare. I like that it pushes them out of their comfort zones as well.