Opera Program

The USC Thornton School of Music Opera Program is one of America’s premier training grounds for provocative productions of classic and modern masterpieces.


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 stage training; role study and analysis; body movement; stage direction; and coaching techniques for collaborative pianists and conductors.

The program’s opera workshop is an immersive, repertory experience involving the preparation and performance of works and excerpts presented both on and off the USC campus.The opera program has access to all USC Thornton School of Music facilities as well as the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ premiere venue, Bing Theatre. To learn more about the opera program, visit their website.

Ensemble Information

In addition to studying under Music Director Brent McMunn and Resident Stage Director Ken Cazan, participants work with nationally and internationally recognized artists and designers. The USC Thornton Vocal Arts Department also brings in distinguished opera industry professionals each semester to conduct seminars and master classes.

Headshot of Brent McMunn

As Conductor of Opera at USC’s Thornton School of Music since 2004, Brent McMunn has led performances of repertoire ranging from the Early Baroque to the 21st Century, with a special emphasis on Bel Canto repertoire.

Ken Cazan poses for a photo seated on a couch.

USC Thornton Opera Resident Stage Director Ken Cazan has directed over 180 international productions. Outside of opera, he has directed plays and musicals for various theatre companies across America and in Europe.

Discover the talented singer-actors who participate in USC Thornton’s Opera Program.

Opera performance of Midsummer Nights Dream


The Opera Program holds auditions in August of each year. Contact the Opera Office (uscopera@usc.edu) to receive more information.

Students currently admitted to a USC degree program are eligible to audition. Graduate and undergraduate students (from their sophomore year on) may schedule a time. Newly admitted freshmen need clearance from their Thornton Voice Teacher.

Song Selections

Participants should have two to three opera arias, art songs, or musical theater pieces prepared. 

Musical Support

Pianists will be provided. Those scheduled for an audition must upload a piano vocal score for each song at least 48 hours before the audition.

Audition Attendance

Audition time slots will be assigned via online scheduling. If you cannot be present in-person for the dates and times listed, a live video conference audition may requested within the same time frame.


Season Overview

The Opera Program annually produces two fully staged shows, featuring a wide range of repertoire from contemporary to Baroque, during the fall and spring semesters.

Its winter presentation of Opera Scenes features selections from opera and musical theater that showcase the talents of our student singing-actors.

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General Inquiries

Call: (213) 740-6451

Email: uscopera@usc.edu

Visit: 840 West 34th St., MUS 212

Los Angeles, CA 90089