Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music Opera Department is a flourishing program involving all voice majors. The school enrolls only 36 singers per school year, allowing for each student to receive specialized individual attention from the internationally renowned opera and voice faculty.
Each student admitted into the program is offered significant performance opportunities. Two fully staged productions are presented every school year with full orchestra, and additionally, scenes programs are presented with piano. All juniors and seniors are enrolled in Opera Workshop and all masters students are enrolled in Advanced Opera Studies which focuses on acting techniques, movement, stage combat, makeup, audition preparation and the business side of singing.
Intensive language instruction at Rice, paired with language study abroad with the support of the Margaret C. Pack Language Institute for Singers allows students to gain the necessary language skills for a career in opera. Master classes are presented regularly featuring important guest artists through the Aleko Endowed Master Class Series. Recent classes were given by Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Anthony Dean Griffey, Christine Goerke, Corradina Caporello, Pierre Vallet and Diane Zola.
The Shepherd School Opera Program has had recent finalists and winners in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Additionally, the school has had winners in the Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers, the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, the Richard Tucker Awards, the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, the Lotte Lenya Competition, the Classical Singer Auditions Plus Vocal Competition and the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition.
Singers annually represent the school in various summer programs such as San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, the Wolf Trap Opera Program, the Central City Opera Apprentice Program, Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists Program, Opera Theater of St. Louis Gerdine Young Artist Program and Chautauqua Opera Apprentice Program. In addition, recent alumni are members of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Program, the Houston Grand Opera Studio, the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows, the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, the Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artist Studio and the Utah Opera Resident Artist Program.