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Students performing on stage

Opera Program

The Flora L. Thornton Opera Program at Pepperdine has developed a reputation as one of the nation's leading undergraduate vocal programs. It features an annual fully-staged opera, a biennial summer intensive in Heidelberg, Germany, and master classes with top industry professionals.



The Flora Thornton Opera Program at Pepperdine University provides students first-hand experience presenting significant works in the repertoire. Under the direction of Dr. Keith Colclough, the program produces one fully-staged production in Smothers Theater each year. Recent performances have included Massenet's Cendrillon; Puccini's Gianni Schicchi; Purcell's Dido & Aeneas; Strauss's Die Fledermaus; Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance and H.M.S. Pinafore; as well as Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte, and Così fan Tutte, all in their original language. Vocal majors also prepare and perform opera scenes at the Heidelberg Summer Music Program. Close collaboration between the theater and music programs at Pepperdine allows music majors to frequently perform leading roles in the annual musical. Recent theater productions featuring music majors include ABBA's Mamma Mia, Flaherty & Ahrens' Ragtime, Kander and Ebb's Curtains, Lippa's Big Fish, Gershwin's Crazy for You, Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, and Sondheim's Into the Woods.

Because the Pepperdine music program is comprised entirely of undergraduates, our students enter graduate school with a wealth of on-stage experience behind them. Pepperdine graduates have won scholarships to many of the nation's most prestigious graduate programs, including 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 Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Seattle Opera. National Opera Association logo

Mainstage opera productions are accompanied by the Pepperdine University Orchestra, led by Dr. Pierre Tang. A one million dollar endowment from Flora Laney Thornton, one of Southern California's most beloved and honored arts philanthropists, ensures high-quality production values and the continued success of the opera program.


Past Performances