Photo of participants & faculty in the 1988 OperaWorks program

Participants & faculty in the 1988 OperaWorks program

After working in many professional capacities with opera companies and apprentice programs around the country, OperaWorks founder Ann Baltz became aware of a void in singers’ preparation: they were being asked to do things as singer-actors they had not been taught how to do.

From her work with visionary Wesley Balk at the Merola Opera Program and as music director of his Minnesota Opera Institute she saw how his revolutionary way of teaching singers how to act on stage.

Early Programs

OperaWorks began as two-week summer programs in Tampa and Pittsburgh 1987-89. The curriculum consisted of Performance Techniques, Musical Improvisation, Alexander Technique, and individual coachings, all of which remain at the core of the programs today. Following a two-week 1990 winter program in Phoenix, OperaWorks moved to Los Angeles as a three-week program at California State University, Northridge where the programs have been in residence since 1990.

Expansion

In 1997, the OperaWorks philosophy travelled to New York City as the company began presenting workshops and improvised performances throughout the year. In 1998, the summer program in Los Angeles expanded to a four-week Advanced Artist Program, adding a two-week Emerging Artist Program in 2003 and a Voice Teacher Program in 2008. To accommodate increased demand, the two-week Winter Intensive Program was added in 2013. The year 2018 brought about the creation of both the Coach Certification Program and the Creative Entrepreneurship Program.

Looking Ahead

OperaWorks’ vision is to be the top artist development program in the country, preparing performers in a way that values and respects them as whole individuals and as talented artists. Our programs have evolved to support that vision by incorporating innovative classes that address all aspects of singers’ professional and personal life: musically, dramatically, physically, mentally, creatively, and as entrepreneurs.

It is not only what we teach that has garnered such acclaim, but also how we teach at OperaWorks. The empirical results of a two-year psychological study of the effects of this type of training on participants demonstrated that “the training provided at OperaWorks enhanced optimal performance and increased self-esteem, while decreasing shame, trait perfectionism, and anxiety.”

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