The Flora L. Thornton Opera Program at Pepperdine offers a many-faceted approach to the development of the undergraduate singing actor. Performance opportunities in fully-staged productions of opera, summer study abroad and master classes with top professionals in the field are hallmarks of the program.
Recent opera productions, designed or supervised by an award-winning resident professional staff, have included Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Abduction from the Seraglio and Così fan tutte, Robert Ward's The Crucible, Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Menotti's Old Maid and the Thief. One unique aspect of the program is the close cooperation of the Music and Theatre departments. Since all productions in the since opera and musical theater areas are cast by open audition, opera program participants can frequently be found in leading roles in the University's fall musical.
Because there is no graduate music program at Pepperdine, our students enter graduate programs with a wealth of on-stage experience behind them. Programs recently giving scholarships to Pepperdine graduates include some of the nation's most prestigious: The Juilliard School, Yale Graduate Opera Program, Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Northwestern University, Rice University and USC. Pepperdine graduates are now gracing the rosters of America's leading opera companies, including the Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera.
A one million dollar endowment from Flora Laney Thornton, one of Southern California's most beloved and honored arts philanthropists, ensures high quality productions and often contributes scholarship aid for the summer opera program abroad. Since 1993, the opera program at Pepperdine has been led by Henry Price, former leading tenor of the New York City Opera Company.