Vocal Arts & Opera

Overview

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.

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Spotlights

event calendar

Upcoming events

  • Alexander Technique Masterclass with Babette Markus

    Babette Markus, a faculty member of the USC School of Dramatic Arts, offers insight for vocalists wishing to incorporate the Alexander Technique. Markus is a founding member of the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles.

    MacDonald Recital Hall (MUS)

  • Vocal Masterclass with Ana Maria Martinez

    Soprano Ana Maria Martinez, currently appearing in LA Opera's production of Carmen, presents a masterclass for Thornton Vocal Arts majors. Martinez enjoys an international performing career that spans the world's most important opera houses and concert halls.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Vocal Masterclass with Patrick Carfizzi

    Bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi, who is celebrating his eighteenth season performing with the Metropolitan Opera, presents a masterclass for USC Thornton Vocal Arts majors. Carfizzi will perform the role of Major General Stanley in the San Diego Opera's upcoming production of Pirates of Penzance.

    MacDonald Recital Hall (MUS)

  • The Met in HD: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)

    The USC School of Cinematic Arts presents a delayed satellite broadcast from the Met as Music Director Emeritus James Levine conducts Tony Award winner Julie Taymor’s production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s masterpiece, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). Golda Schultz makes her Met debut as Pamina, Kathryn Lewek performs as the Queen of the Night, Charles Castronovo as the fairy-tale prince Tamino, Markus Werba as the bird-catching Papageno, Christian Van Horn as Sprecher, and René Pape as Sarastro. Ken Cazan, chair of vocal arts and opera/resident stage director at the USC Thornton School of Music presents a pre-opera discussion. Opera running time: 3 hours, 9 minutes. In German, with English subtitles. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative.

    Norris Cinema Theatre (NCT)

  • Vocal Forum with Nate Bachhuber

    Nate Bachhuber, the LA Phil's Artistic Administrator for Artistic Planning, takes Thornton Vocal Arts majors through a mock audition, teaching them the in's and out's of a successful audition experience.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • CollabFest@USC: Keyboard Collaborative Arts

    In the culminating event for CollabFest@USC, a day-long symposium of masterclasses and colloquium presented by the Keyboard Studies department, alumni and guest artists will perform classics from the vocal and instrumental music repertoire, including a world premiere by Alan L. Smith. Alumni performers include pianists Joel Clifft, Mitsuko Morikawa, Elvia Puccinelli, and Lisa Sylvester along with guest artists including soprano Kathleen Roland, violinist Alex Russell, and flutist James Walker.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • USC Thornton Opera presents George Frideric Handel's "Alcina"

    Love reigns supreme on the lush island of the sorceress Alcina in George Frideric Handel’s dazzling Baroque opera seria, Alcina, a vividly-rendered tale of power and obsession. Handel’s brilliant score depicts a seductive tale of selfishness undone by true love, as a pair of mortals breaks the spells that hold Alcina’s lovers captive. Encounter this moving, but long-neglected work in a new production by the USC Thornton Opera. Thursday, November 16, 8PM Friday, November 17, 8PM Saturday, November 18, 8PM Sunday, November 19, 2PM (Pre-performance lecture, 1PM) A pre-performance discussion on Sunday, Nov. 19 between maestro Brent McMunn and resident stage director Ken Cazan will consider Handel’s operatic setting of Ludovico Ariosto's 16th Century epic poem. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. For more information and additional performance times, visit music.usc.edu/opera.

    Bing Theatre (BIT)

  • Vocal Masterclass with Lisa Popeil

    Vocal coach Lisa Popeil leads USC Thornton students in an "Introduction to Commercial Styles," exploring contemporary vocal techniques for classical singers. Creator of the Vocalworks Method, Popeil coaches vocalists in film, TV, musical theater, and recording worlds.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • USC Thornton Opera presents George Frideric Handel's "Alcina"

    Love reigns supreme on the lush island of the sorceress Alcina in George Frideric Handel’s dazzling Baroque opera seria, Alcina, a vividly-rendered tale of power and obsession. Handel’s brilliant score depicts a seductive tale of selfishness undone by true love, as a pair of mortals breaks the spells that hold Alcina’s lovers captive. Encounter this moving, but long-neglected work in a new production by the USC Thornton Opera. Thursday, November 16, 8PM Friday, November 17, 8PM Saturday, November 18, 8PM Sunday, November 19, 2PM (Pre-performance lecture, 1PM) A pre-performance discussion on Sunday, Nov. 19 between maestro Brent McMunn and resident stage director Ken Cazan will consider Handel’s operatic setting of Ludovico Ariosto's 16th Century epic poem. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. For more information and additional performance times, visit music.usc.edu/opera.

    Bing Theatre (BIT)

  • USC Thornton Opera presents George Frideric Handel's "Alcina"

    Love reigns supreme on the lush island of the sorceress Alcina in George Frideric Handel’s dazzling Baroque opera seria, Alcina, a vividly-rendered tale of power and obsession. Handel’s brilliant score depicts a seductive tale of selfishness undone by true love, as a pair of mortals breaks the spells that hold Alcina’s lovers captive. Encounter this moving, but long-neglected work in a new production by the USC Thornton Opera. Thursday, November 16, 8PM Friday, November 17, 8PM Saturday, November 18, 8PM Sunday, November 19, 2PM (Pre-performance lecture, 1PM) A pre-performance discussion on Sunday, Nov. 19 between maestro Brent McMunn and resident stage director Ken Cazan will consider Handel’s operatic setting of Ludovico Ariosto's 16th Century epic poem. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. For more information and additional performance times, visit music.usc.edu/opera.

    Bing Theatre (BIT)

  • 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.

    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)


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    News

    Ken Cazan praised for production of Britten’s “The Burning Fiery Furnace”

    August 31, 2017

    USC Thornton Vocal Arts & Opera chair Ken Cazan’s recent production of Benjamin Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace at the Central City Opera in Boulder, Colorado, received high praise. “Cazan’s imaginative staging combined with Britten’s music makes the message universal,” the review stated. Cazan’s stage direction delivered a modern take… read more

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