Vocal Performance

The Voice and Opera programs at SF State welcome all students interested in finding their true voices and developing those talents to their fullest potentials. Our goal is to empower and inspire promising singers seeking to become performers and educators.

Voice students receive training in the fundamentals of singing and explore repertoire in art song, oratorio and opera that is supportive of their technical progress. Weekly studio classes not only provide performing experience, but also include master class with distinguished artists and workshops addressing the science and psychology of practicing and performing and exploring holistic, whole-body approaches to singing through kinesiology, the Alexander Technique and the like.

Performance opportunities are numerous within the School of Music and in the wider musically vibrant community in the Bay Area. Voice students are encouraged to audition for all vocal ensembles in the department: University Chorus, Chamber Chorus, Treble Singers and Schola Civilis. SF State Opera presents staged scenes or one-act operas each Fall term and a fully-staged opera with orchestra each Spring term. In addition to these ensemble experiences, solo opportunities are found in studio class, master classes, the 150 Concert Hour recitals, half and full solo recitals, work with chamber ensembles and choirs.

We Offer the Following Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts with voice emphasis
  • Bachelor of Music in Education with voice emphasis
  • Bachelor of Music - voice
  • Master of Music - voice

Whatever the ultimate goal, we seek to empower each student with the necessary tools, skills and passion to meet their goals and discover/unlock their full potential.

Your Mentor

Nikolas Nackley

Nikolas Nackley

Nikolas Nackley is a baritone, lecture in voice and opera and director of Chamber Singers. Nikolas is a singer and educator in high demand in the Bay Area as soloist, choral conductor and teacher. Email: nnackley@sfsu.edu

Dido production of man and woman on stage looking off in distance

Recent Master Classes

  • Andrey Nemnzer, countertenor - Met National Council winner, MET, San Francisco Opera
  • Nicholas Phan, tenor - Houston Grand Opera, Glyndebourne Opera and all major symphony orchestras
  • Elizabeth Futral, soprano - MET, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera
  • Malcolm McKenzie, baritone - MET, Paris Opera (Bastille), Washington National Opera
  • Brian Thorsett, tenor - opera, oratorio and recital
  • Marie Plette, soprano - MET, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera
  • Alice Teyssier, soprano - opera singer in US and Europe, member of International Contemporary Ensemble
  • Lucy Shelton, soprano - new music goddess, all major symphony orchestras and conductors

SF State Opera Productions

2021 - 2022

The Anonymous Lover - Joseph Bologne (Fall 2021)

Ariodante - George Handel (Spring 2022)


2017 - 2018

De Espana Vengo! Zarzuela Showcase (Fall 2017)

Ghostly One-Acts (Fall 2017)

  • Hamelette - Carlos Gonzalez (student composer)
  • Monkey's Paw - Lauren Tougas (student composer)
  • Savitri - Holst

La finta giardiniera - Mozart (Spring 2018)


2016 - 2017

When in Rome - Scenes of Lust, Power and Politics (Fall 2016)

  • L'Incoronazione di Poppea - Monteverdi
  • Giulio Cesare - Handel
  • La clemenza di Tito - Mozart
  • The Rape of Lucretia - Britten

Die Fledermaus - Strauss (Spring 2017)

Alcina - Handel (Spring 2017)


2015 - 2016

Wayward Sisters - Sorceress Scenes (Fall 2015)

  • Medea - Cherubini
  • Rinaldo and Amadigi - Handel
  • Armida - Gluck
  • Dido and Aeneas - Purcell
  • Alcina - Handel


2014 - 2015

To Hell and Back in 400 Years - A Composite Orfeo (Fall 2014)

  • Euridice - Perri
  • L'Orfeo - Monteverdi
  • Orpheus - Telemann
  • La descente d'Orphée aux enfers - Charpentier
  • Orfeo - Gluck
  • L'anima del Filosofo - Haydn
  • Orfee aux enfers - Offenbach
  • Les Malheurs d'Orphee - Milhaud
  • Orpheus - Ricky Ian Gordon

Calisto - Cavalli (Spring 2015)


2013 - 2014

Celebrating Britten (scenes) (Fall 2013)

  • The Turn of the Screw
  • The Rape of Lucretia
  • Albert Herring
  • Midsummer Night's Dream

Beatrice and Benedict - Berlioz (Spring 2014)


2012 - 2013

Figaro Scenes - Mozart (Fall 2012)

  • Act one
  • Act two finale

Dido and Aeneas - Purcell (Spring 2013)

Fledermaus Production with several student on stage
Alcina production with man and woman on stage
Calisto production with two women on stage
Beatrice production with students on stage hugging and standing