Several USC Thornton faculty and alumni have enjoyed success on the opera stage this summer.
Faculty member Ken Cazan, the USC Thornton Opera’s resident stage director, returned to Colorado’s Central City Opera to direct productions of Handel’s Acis and Galatea and Henry Mollicone’s 1978 chamber opera, The Face on the Barroom Floor. Starring as Galatea, recent alumni Graycen Gardner (MM ’17), a member of Central City’s Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, was warmly reviewed for her “beautifully lyric heartfelt soprano.”
Baritone and faculty member Rod Gilfry returned to the Santa Fe Opera as the Music Master in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Next month, he will head to the Korea National Opera in Seoul to perform as Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte.
Alumnus Grant Gershon (’85), artistic director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, conducted the National Symphony Orchestra in Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Wolf Trap Opera in Virginia. Soprano Yelena Dyachek, who won the Grand Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2016 and is now a member of the Houston Grand Opera’s HGO Studio training program, also performed at Wolf Trap as Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo.
Finally, USC Thornton Opera music director Brent McMunn conducted a production of Richard Strauss’s Arabella at the Pittsburgh Opera Festival. McMunn will return to the orchestra pit this November when the USC Thornton Opera and USC Thornton Symphony present a rare double bill of iconic French one-act operas, Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges.