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Aspiring Singer Steps Into Spotlight, Lands Roles With LA and San Francisco Operas

Class of 2024 Grad Thalia Moore to Perform ‘Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony’
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When she was younger, Thalia Moore’s father took her to see Kathleen Battle sing live in concert. 

“She’s a Black soprano, and she’s one of the best,” said Moore. “I remember watching her use her voice to inspire a crowd, and I thought, ‘I want to do that.’”   

In Cal State Fullerton’s College of the Arts, the aspiring singer and music student continued to find her voice while learning from award-winning faculty and stacking her portfolio with performances. 

In fall 2023, she got the email she was waiting for. She landed her first contract with the San Francisco Opera, performing as a chorus soloist in the company’s production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, “Omar.”

Stepping on stage at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, the Class of 2024 grad made her professional debut. 

“I never thought I would be there as a student, so it was a very ‘wow’ moment for me,” she said.

When the curtain rose on opening night, she couldn’t help but think about the two people who helped her achieve her dreams — her mom and dad.

“My mom has been so instrumental in supporting me. Not only did she sign me up for training camps and help me work with voice teachers, but she’s always there to see me perform,” said Moore. “My dad passed away about 20 years ago, but on that night, I was thinking about how much it would mean to him to see me perform in an art form he loved.” 

That was just the beginning. After her first professional run, Moore went on to audition with the Los Angeles Opera, where she was offered a soprano role in the production of “Highway 1, USA.” She performed with the L.A. Opera chorus from February through March at the Los Angeles Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. 

Set to cross CSUF’s Commencement stage in May, Moore has already signed her next contract. This summer, she will return to the Bay Area to begin practicing with the San Francisco Opera for its upcoming performance of “Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” which will debut in October. 

“The preparation from the music department has been super helpful. I came to CSUF as a transfer student, and immediately, the musicianship of the school drove me to be successful. Between the performances and working with faculty, the environment pushed me to be better,” she said. 

From the Hollywood Bowl to the Opera House

No stranger to the spotlight, Moore transferred from Norco College to join University Singers, CSUF’s top choral ensemble. 

The ensemble has a history of collaborating with renowned orchestras like the Los Angeles Philharmonic and working with famous conductors like John Williams.

Under the direction of Grammy Award-winning music professor Robert Istad, students in the ensemble learn to perform in professional environments, network with industry contacts and develop their skills so that they’re ready to land roles right after graduation. 

Thalia Moore, Class of 2024 music grad

During her time with University Singers, Moore performed at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the Collins Street Baptist Church in Australia and alongside famous artists like singer Andrea Bocelli. 

One of the most important lessons she learned was sight reading, which is the practice of reading and performing a musical piece that the performer has not seen or learned before.

“Now that I’m working in professional choirs and opera choruses, I realize not many people know how to sight read. It’s a special skill, and it’s helped me become a better performer.” 

Throughout her undergraduate career, Moore also competed in regional and national voice competitions, assisted with the production of opera shows, found community in the African American Resource Center and Losquadro Keller LGBTQ Resource Center, and benefited from the support of Music Associates

“Whether she’s singing with renowned opera companies or working here at CSUF, curating a program for the Advanced Vocal Workshop course, or commissioning a song cycle for her senior recital, Thalia’s creativity and commitment to her craft are always on full display,” said Kerry Jennings, associate professor of music. 

Taylor Arrey