The Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program "has the goal of developing the talents of exceptionally gifted young artists to become performers of potentially international stature, whose first loyalty would be to L.A. Opera," according to a statement.
Domingo's previous efforts on behalf of young singers include the Operalia competition and the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists program at Washington National Opera, where he is general director.
"In recalling the challenges of providing for my family while bearing the costs of music and voice lessons during my early career, I know only too well the importance of special support for full-time study and the freedom to take advantage of performing opportunities," Domingo said. "L.A. Opera's new Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program will be instrumental in building a vital new generation of artists and will help ensure the highest standards of performance not only at L.A. Opera, but at opera companies throughout the world."
At any given time, the program will include eight to ten singers chosen through audition, a conductor, and a stage director, all under the age of 30. Participants will remain for two or three years, performing with the company and working with established singers. They receive a stipend and funds for voice lessons and other training. Unlike the company's existing resident-artist program, the Domingo-Thornton program will have its own staff, supervised by Domingo.
The program is named in recognition of a $2 million gift from the Flora L. Thornton Foundation.