Applications are now being accepted for initiative created by Artist in Residence Russell Thomas.

(Los Angeles) May 4, 2021 – LA Opera has announced details about its new artist development program, the HBCU Opera Career Comprehensive, designed to nurture, support and elevate the skills of talented singers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). 

The new initiative was created by tenor Russell Thomas, the company's Artist in Residence, who will personally select and supervise the ten singers chosen to participate in the annual online program. “My goal is to build a bridge between outstanding HBCU singers and the influential people who are working at the top of the opera field," said Thomas. “This virtual mentorship program will help these singers take their talents to the next level. I want to help level the playing field and show the opera world that these singers are just as talented as those coming from other schools; they just haven't had the same opportunities.”


Each season, the 10-course online program—free of charge for current students and recent graduates of HBCUs—will give its participants valuable training and special insights into the opera industry. The artists will work closely with Thomas, a world-renowned tenor, as well as other members of LA Opera's artistic and management team. The program will immerse participants in every aspect of a professional opera singer's career, both on the stage and behind the scenes. Training will include vocal coaching, instruction in languages and presentations from the company's administrative staff and other industry professionals. 

The program will begin this summer on July 17 and will continue until December 4, with three-hour courses taking place roughly every other Saturday.


LA Opera’s HBCU Opera Career Comprehensive is open to current students or recent graduates of HBCUs who intend to pursue professional careers in opera. 

Prospective participants must submit an application along with a recent video performance of a classical song or aria, in any language. Applications will be accepted via and additional information can be found on LA Opera's website at Questions can be directed to Completed applications are due on June 7 and the 10 selected participants will be notified on June 21.

There is neither an application fee nor a charge to participate in the program.


Los Angeles is a city of enormous diversity and creativity, and LA Opera is dedicated to reflecting that vibrancy by redefining what opera can be with thrilling performances, thought-provoking productions and innovative programming. The communal and curative power of opera is needed now more than ever before, given the extraordinary challenges of the time. As LA Opera awaits its cue to return to the stage with world-class productions in theaters, the company is offering a multitude of content including live recitals, opera broadcasts and learning opportunities via its LA Opera On Now digital offerings, which have accumulated nearly 890,000 views since launching last spring. The company is grateful to its supporters for helping to ensure that it has the resources needed to get through this unprecedented period through the LA Opera Relief Fund. Those wanting to support LA Opera can visit


Vanessa Flores Waite
Director of Communications 

LA Opera is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community.