Vocal Arts & Opera


Internationally recognized for its long tradition of excellence in vocal and operatic training, the USC Thornton Vocal Arts department emphasizes the development of secure vocal technique, artistry in the interpretation of a richly varied, representative repertoire, perfection of diction in English and foreign languages and frequent solo and ensemble performance. Alumni have been named finalists and winners of prestigious competitions, and many currently work as recitalists, members of opera companies and voice faculties in both the United States as well as abroad. Opportunities for enriched experiences are offered through weekly student recitals, workshops and master classes with visiting artist-teachers and resident faculty.

The USC Thornton Opera Program is an integral part of the Vocal Arts department, providing career development opportunities for singers, coaches, pianists, conductors and directors. The program includes instruction in opera history and literature, coaching techniques, stage direction, body movement for singers, stage training, role study and analysis. The opera workshop is a repertory experience involving preparation and performance of operatic works and excerpts for performance both on and off the USC campus. For more information, visit the USC Thornton Opera Program homepage.



event calendar

Upcoming events

  • Chamber Music Festival: Vocal Arts

    Lisa Sylvester leads students in the Vocal Arts department in an evening of vocal works from across the centuries in collaboration with instrumental performers. CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL EVENTS: Winds & Percussion Monday, November 27 at 4:30PM Vocal Arts Tuesday, November 28 at 5:30PM Strings Tuesday, November 28 at 7:30PM Strings Wednesday, November 29 at 5:00 & 7:30PM All events take place in Newman Recital Hall.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • The Met in HD: Thomas Adès’s “The Exterminating Angel”

    The USC School of Cinematic Arts presents a delayed satellite broadcast from the Met of The Exterminating Angel, conducted by the composer, Thomas Adès. The 2016 opera, co-commissioned by the Met, is based on Luis Buñuel and Luis Alcoriza’s acclaimed 1962 film of the same name and makes its Met premiere this season. Directed by the librettist Tom Cairns, The Exterminating Angel is a co-commission and co-production with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Royal Danish Theatre; and Salzburg Festival, where the production premiered in 2016. Ken Cazan, chair of vocal arts and opera/resident stage director at the USC Thornton School of Music presents a pre-opera discussion. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative.

    Norris Cinema Theatre (NCT)

  • Music as Medicine: Renée Fleming and Antonio Damasio in Conversation

    Join a forward-thinking discussion with opera star Renée Fleming, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, and LA Opera CEO and president Christopher Koelsch about the connections between music and the brain—and the very real possibility that music is part of the solution to intractable problems like chronic pain and cancer. The discussion will be interwoven with live musical performances by LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists. Listen and learn about the role music and other arts can play in tackling the most difficult diseases and improving health and wellness. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative.

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • West Side Story

    From the first notes to the final breath, West Side Story is one of the most memorable musicals and greatest love stories of all time. This poignant, provocative, and emotionally powerful musical transports Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to mid-1950s New York City, as two young, idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence, and prejudice is one of the most innovative, heart-wrenching, and relevant musical dramas of our time. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative.

    Bing Theatre (BIT)

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    More acclaim for Rod Gilfry’s portrayal of Walt Whitman

    October 20, 2017

    Baritone Rod Gilfry, a member of the USC Thornton Vocal Arts & Opera, has earned rave reviews for his portrayal of Walt Whitman in composer Matthew Aucoin’s opera, Crossing, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Currently in its second iteration as part of the 2017 Next Wave Festival, the… read more

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