Bringing Opera to APU

by Briauhnna A. Phelps

Melanie Galloway, DMA, has gone beyond the call of duty to bring high-quality opera training and productions to APU. Since joining the School of Music faculty in 2008, Galloway has excited faculty, staff, and students about opera. She serves as the artistic director of opera, and is also on the voice faculty.

Galloway took over as the head of the opera program in spring 2009. At the time, the program consisted of one class entitled “Opera Workshop,” which served as rehearsal time for a short opera production. Upon taking over, Galloway pushed for budget and scholarship increases, marketed the program to the entire student body, and gathered a “dream team” staff of music, acting, language, and dance coaches to help students develop not only as vocalists, but as well-rounded artists.

Galloway’s vision has been to develop APU Opera into a “young artist” program for singers wishing to pursue careers as opera singers. “Opera is of value to all singers, not only to those who wish to pursue a career in it,” she said. “The practice and performance of opera builds character, discipline, and teamwork. Through music and art, it’s possible to change lives. There is a deep need in the opera world for gifted singers that are rooted in faith.”

The first performance under Galloway’s direction, No Subtitles Necessary: Opera in English, debuted in the spring of 2009. A review of scenes from English language operas, the show was a phenomenal hit, drawing in full houses both nights. Galloway has since directed two more APU Opera programs: Getting a Handle on Händel, which featured scenes from Händel’s operas with chamber orchestra, in January 2010, then a POPS concert featuring staged popular pieces from light opera and musical theatre, which ran this past spring.

This fall, APU Opera will present Mostly Mozart, which features staged scenes from Mozart operas, accompanied by piano and with interludes from Mozart string quartets interspersed throughout. This will be followed by Galloway’s first full opera directed at APU in March 2011, Rossini’s La Cambiale di Matrimonio, which is a classic and fast-paced Italian comic opera.

For more information on the opera program or dates for either of the new season’s shows, visit or contact the School of Music at (626) 815-3848.