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Opera at USC

Opera at USC offers a truly comprehensive program for both graduate and undergraduate students, covering every facet of opera production, both on stage and behind the scenes.

About Opera at USC

Opera at USC offers a truly comprehensive program for both graduate and undergraduate students, covering every facet of opera production, both on stage and behind the scenes. Singers, directors, pianists, conductors, marketing and public relations students and theatrical technicians get expert teaching and intensive hands-on experience in their respective crafts.

Opera at USC is one of only a handful of colleges and universities nationwide that offers special training and practice for aspiring opera stage directors. You can gain abundant practical stage experience by participating in the operas either onstage or off.

Opera at USC presents two fully staged operas with orchestra each year and also presents an evening of One-Act Operas, often with a graduate stage director. Roles are open to undergraduates and graduates.

Master classes conducted by international opera singers, conductors, coaches and directors are held each semester.

Voice faculty and the choral department work closely together with Opera at USC on many projects. Learn more about the choral ensembles and the vocal studies area.


2023-24 Season

Opera at USC is happy to announce our 2023-24 season.  Audition sign up and info can be found here

Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)

by W.A. Mozart
November 3-5, 2023

Friday / November 3 / 7:30 p.m.
Saturday / November 4 / 7:30 p.m.
Sunday / November 5 / 3:00 p.m.
Drayton Hall Theatre
1214 College St., Columbia, SC 29208

She Loves Me

by Bock and Harnick
February 23-25, 2024

Friday / February 23 / 7:30 p.m.
Saturday / February 24 / 7:30 p.m.
Sunday / February 25 / 3:00 p.m.
Drayton Hall Theatre
1214 College St., Columbia, SC 29208

The Lanny and Sidney Palmer One-Act Opera Series

Proving Up

by Missy Mazzoli
April 13-14, 2024

Saturday / April 13 / 7:30 p.m.
Sunday / April 14 / 3 p.m.
USC School of Music Recital Hall

Purchase Tickets Online
Adults: $25
Seniors, USC Faculty & Staff, Military: $20
Students with ID: $10

Purchase tickets online or purchase at the door. Please note that online sales end at 3:00 p.m. on opening day. After that you may purchase at the door one hour before show. No refunds.


Opera Faculty

Ellen Douglas Schlaefer

Ellen Douglas Schlaefer

Ellen Douglas Schlaefer is director of Opera Studies & Musical Theatre. She has worked with some of the world’s top opera companies and directors, including the Washington Opera and Francesca Zambello. She has staged productions across the U.S. and throughout South Carolina.

Dominic Armstrong

Dominic Armstrong

Tenor Dominic Armstrong has been celebrated for his musicality, characterization and beauty of tone on stages both nationally and internationally. He was hailed by Parterre Box as being ‘an absolute star...able to pull from a wide expressive palette in his utterly unflappable, fluid tenor...’ 

Rachel Calloway

Rachel Calloway

As an internationally recognized leading interpreter of contemporary and modern music, mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway brings versatility and compelling insight to stages worldwide. Her work has been praised by the New York Times for “penetrating clarity” and “considerable depth of expression” and by Opera News for her “adept musicianship and dramatic flair.”

Lynn Kompass

Lynn Kompass

Lynn Kompass is vocal coach and associate professor. She provides musical preparation for all productions performed by Opera at USC and teaches courses in song literature and advanced diction for singers.

Michael LaRoche

Michael LaRoche

Michael LaRoche serves as the technical director for Opera at USC and is the information technology support consultant for the School of Music.

Janet Hopkins

Janet Hopkins

Janet Hopkins is assistant professor of voice (mezzo-soprano). She has presented master classes throughout the U.S. and performed Beethoven's 9th in Kentucky and El Amor Brujo (Falla) with the S.C. Philharmonic.

Tina Milhorn Stallard

Tina Milhorn Stallard

Tina Milhorn Stallard is associate professor of voice (soprano) and teaches vocal pedagogy. She performed Vivaldi’s “Gloria” with the Shanghai Philharmonic as part of the cultural prelude to the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Jacob Will

Jacob Will

Jacob Will is a member of the voice faculty (bass-baritone). He made his New York Philharmonic debut as soloist in the American premiere of the “Messa per Rossini,” in a performance televised live nationwide.

don gray

Donald Gray

Donald Gray has been a voice faculty member since 1972 and has performed all around the world. He has been a Metropolitan Opera audition winner and won the second annual Mario Lanza Competition.

Opera Events

Lanny and Sidney Palmer One-Act Series Presents Proving Up

Saturday, Apr. 13, 2024

Location: School of Music 206 Recital Hall

Cost: FREE

Lanny and Sidney Palmer One-Act Series Presents Proving Up

Sunday, Apr. 14, 2024

Location: School of Music 206 Recital Hall

Cost: FREE

Opera at USC Performance

Friday, Nov. 8, 2024

Location: See Description for Event Location.

Cost: TBD

View the Calendar

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