Voice and Opera Studies is a highly selective and unique program in the Conservatory of Music, designed especially to train and mentor serious young singers in their pursuit of a career in professional classical singing and opera.
The program offers a highly disciplined and completely integrated curriculum taught by a talented, passionate, committed, and caring faculty, all of whom were or are active, first-class performing artists.
The department’s working mantra is “learn to perform by performing,” and every class has a performance component. The program is widely acclaimed for its instruction of vocal technique and musical styles with a strong emphasis in languages studies, stage technique, and movement. The operas, which are performed primarily by undergraduates, are routinely praised for their inventiveness and high level of professional quality, and are only one of the performing opportunities provided for students to combine these disciplines. Others include outreach programs, public performances of opera scenes, chamber opera, art song evenings, solo recitals, and choral concerts. Our students have the opportunity to perform in the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, which houses four of the most outstanding and acclaimed theatres in the country, recognized for the high level of their acoustical properties and often used by professional artists and recording companies.
The Purchase Opera has won multiple first-place awards from the prestigious National Opera Association, beginning in 2004 through the 2010–12 award for Confession (Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition), the 2012–13 award for Die Fledermaus (Division II: Opera Production Competition), and the 2014 award for Hänsel und Gretel (Division I: Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition).
The excellence of this unique program is further validated by the achievements of recent graduates, who have realized extraordinary successes at very early stages of their development. This includes a high acceptance rate into prominent graduate schools, with many of these students receiving scholarships, internships, or teaching fellowships. Several have entered professional development programs, including the prestigious Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program. Others have performed leading roles with professional companies and have won prizes in acclaimed competitions, such as the Leiderkranz Competition and the Metropolitan Opera Auditions.
The voice and opera studies program offers aspiring vocal artists the unique opportunity to live and study in a peaceful country setting, which is only 35 minutes from the premiere performance city in the world, New York City. This allows students easy access to competitions, auditions, and performances at such world-class venues as the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, and Carnegie Hall.
Christopher Colmenero (BM ’10, MM ’12) is one of 12 recipients of the 2019 Adler Fellowship through San Francisco Opera.