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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
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Original Article:
Opera as Theatre up North
Jocelyn Dueck ,
ArtistLink6/9/2008
An abundance of summer training programs for singers exist in North America and beyond. Among them is The Banff Centre's Opera as Theatre Program. This institution, amid numerous others, is highlighted in the Organization Directory of Opera Source, OPERA America's comprehensive career resource for administrators, singers, technical/production professionals, teachers and all creative and performing opera artists. For information about The Banff Centre and more, visit Opera Source today.

Related Article(s):
Creating and Performing Educational Programs
Kathy Erlandson Soroka ,
Voices1/1/1900
As young singers await their big career opportunities, they may lose sight of the opportunities they have now to practice their craft and share generously with audiences. Young singers often forget the most important part of being an artist — connecting their humanity to the music and to their audiences.
Support for New Works in Canada
Staff ,
Opera America Magazine1/1/1900
Opera.ca recently awarded a total of $185,000 for the development and production of seven new Canadian operas through the Canadian Opera Creation Fund. Funding decisions are made by an independent panel of Canadians; the most recent panel met in Toronto in November and consisted of Mel Braun, baritone and educator, University of Manitoba; Sophie Galaise, general director of Orchestre symphonique de Québec; Morris Panych, playwright and dramaturge; and Canadian composers Abigail Richardson and James Rolfe.
A Bright Future for Canadian Opera
Colin Eatock ,
Opera America Magazine1/1/1900
Everyone involved in the arts knows that raising money is hard work. But what about giving it away? As it turns out, that’s hard, too.

This point was underscored last November, when Opera.ca assembled a panel of Canadian opera experts in New York to consider applications for financial support from the Canadian Opera Creation Fund (COCF). The panelists — baritone Theodore Baerg of London, Ontario; Marcus Handman, executive director of the Victoria Symphony Opera; technical director Julian Sleath of Toronto; and Montreal composer Ana Sokolovic — found themselves faced with the daunting task of comparing very different proposals and making some tough decisions.
Opera Ed 101
Paula Winans, Director of Education, Lyric Opera of Kansas City ,
Voices1/1/1900
When you are hired to sing at an opera company, singing your best is certainly a priority, but not your only consideration. In this volume of Voices, our series highlights expert advice on various components of working well with the company who hires you. Our last issue focused on the relationship between you — the singer — and stage management. This issue's article looks at the relationship between you and the company's education department.
The Singer Who Performs
Jay Lesenger ,
Audition Connection1/1/1900
When young artist programs select their roster for upcoming seasons, they often engage in a process with several stages. The screening process is beneficial to the company; instead of spending time and money on an endless procession of live auditions, program directors can focus on artists who have the requisite skills for the program. But the process is also beneficial to you.
OPERA America's Action-Oriented Think Tanks
Kelley Rourke ,
Opera America Magazine1/1/1900
OPERA America's Conference is the largest and most visible annual gathering of the opera community — but it is not the only time opera stakeholders come together. Throughout the year, OPERA America convenes meetings of industry leaders around specific topics. Although the discussions vary in size, scope and regularity, they share a common commitment — a commitment to action. Participants not only discuss challenges, they identify steps they can take, from the incremental to the profound, to advance the field.
Alternative Paths for Singer Training
Jocelyn Dueck ,
Opera America Magazine1/1/1900
Another opening, another show! For most opera companies, regularly-scheduled mainstage performances are at the center of their activity. The rhythm of production influences all company operations, from marketing and fundraising cycles to the training and performing opportunities available for young singers. For companies that focus on new work, however, a regular mainstage season — with a set number of full productions in a fairly fixed schedule — is emphatically not the raison d’être. Instead, the public events offered in any given season vary according to the needs of the creative artists. With their orientation toward process rather than production, these companies provide a very different environment for singer training.
Learning to Lead
Kelley Rourke ,
Opera America Magazine1/1/1900
Those who aspire to a career in law attend law school; those who aspire to a career in medicine attend medical school. Legendary leaders in the opera field have taken a variety of paths to their professional destinations — destinations that were, for some, unexpected. Whether they entered the field as stagehands or sopranos, most of these successful leaders have shown a knack for managing their own education, often identifying and seizing learning opportunities in the most unlikely situations.

Until fairly recently, few of opera's senior managers had formal academic training in management. As more and more colleges and universities offer study in the business of the arts, aspiring and established arts managers are increasingly taking advantage of them. However, there appears to be no consensus on a single "best way" to acquire the myriad skills it takes to run an opera company — or a department within one. Interviews with a number of senior managers within the opera field revealed a variety of approaches to managing one's education — both inside and outside the classroom.
Preparing the Professional Singer for the 21st Century
Susan Ashbaker, et al ,
Voices1/1/1900
At the recent convention of National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) a number of experts from across the field gathered to answer questions about the business of singing. The panel included Susan Ashbaker, director of musical and artistic administration, Opera Company of Philadelphia; Diana Hossack, artistic services director, OPERA America; Donald Nally, chorus master, Opera Company of Philadelphia; Stanford Olsen, tenor; Charlotte Schroeder, artist manager, Colbert Artists Management; and Karen Tiller, general director, Opera Festival of New Jersey. The panel was moderated by Laura Brooks Rice, singer and associate professor, Westminster Choir College. In an effort to share the insightful conversation that took place, we offer this excerpt.
A Foot in the Door
Megan Young, Artistic Services Manager, OPERA America ,
ArtistLink2/12/2007
It seems fair to say that everyone in the opera world is aware of the existence of young artist programs -- the training grounds for tomorrow’s operatic power players. But many people don’t realize that apprentice programs are not just for the people who want to be on stage. A wealth of training opportunities are available for those who want to learn what it’s like behind the scenes in the areas of administration, coaching, conducting, and technical/production.
Luck of the Draw?
Anne Choe, Artistic Services Manager, OPERA America ,
ArtistLink12/10/2007
A successful career in any art form relies on a balance of skill, determination and luck. Alone, each of these elements will only get an artist so far. Much like poker, an essential part of the game is luck and, more importantly, how you let good luck or bad luck affect you. We see the affects of luck in the entertainment world all the time — artists and athletes fail because of their inability to get past a bad break. The Academy Awards® is a good example — Movie X, which was nominated last year but didn't win, is a far better example of filmmaking than Movie Y, which won this year — Movie Y just happens to be better than all the other dross that showed in theaters that year. Sometimes, it's simply a "right time, right place" scenario.
Opera as Theatre up North
Jocelyn Dueck ,
ArtistLink6/9/2008
An abundance of summer training programs for singers exist in North America and beyond. Among them is The Banff Centre's Opera as Theatre Program. This institution, amid numerous others, is highlighted in the Organization Directory of Opera Source, OPERA America's comprehensive career resource for administrators, singers, technical/production professionals, teachers and all creative and performing opera artists. For information about The Banff Centre and more, visit Opera Source today.
Crossing from Theater Directing to Opera
Staff Yuval Sharon, stage director, Ned Canty, stage director; James Marvel, stage director; Dona D. Vaughan, PORTopera
Making Connections9/24/2008
Being a stage director in opera requires a unique set of skills. Panelists who successfully cross over from theater to opera will discuss:
  • Working with opera singers vs. working with stage actors
  • Relationships with conductors and stage managers
  • Finding opportunities in both fields
Choosing A Training Program
Staff Laura Brooks Rice, Westminster Choir College, Peter Kazaras, Seattle Opera; Justina Lee, Maryland Opera Studio; William Powers, Pittsburgh Opera
Making Connections12/9/2008
Singers have an array of choices when it comes to training programs. This panel will discuss:
  • Different types of training programs
  • Knowing when you’re ready for a training program
  • Making the most of your time at a training program

Public Speaking
Staff , Marc A. Scorca
Making Connections1/27/2009
Public speaking is a craft that is invaluable to all professionals. This session will address:
  • Overcoming anxiety
  • Discussing your work in a clear, articulate manner
  • Speaking extemporaneously
Learning a Role Inside and Out
Staff Lenore Rosenberg, Metropolitan Opera , Valerie Beaman, Acting for Opera; Lauren Flanigan, soprano; Jonah Nigh, OPERA America
Making Connections2/24/2009
Delving into a new role is not as simple as starting from page one. Experts will discuss:
  • Creating a strategy for learning a role
  • Resources and research materials
Having a Career Beyond the Young Artist Program
Staff Janice Mayer, arts consultant, Jesse Blumberg, baritone; Carol Kirkpatrick, author of ARIA READY: The Business of Singing; Leah Wool, mezzo-soprano
Making Connections3/25/2009
Young artist programs can be great stepping stones for early career singers but they are not necessarily the key to success. The singers on this panel will discuss:
  • Important steps to take after completing a program
  • Carving out your own career path without a young artist program
Charting a Course as a Young Artist
Michael Egel ,
ArtistLink5/11/2009
Navigating the various young artist programs that populate the American opera landscape can be daunting to singers and to those who support and train them. Every season new programs emerge, each offering different opportunities and experiences to participants and each requiring different experience and talent levels. Some programs are summer only and some year-round. Some are of the pay-to-sing variety and others offer a fee-based contract. Many programs are ideal for those still completing their formal education, while some are finishing programs designed for singers on the cusp of a professional career. “Am I ready for Program X?” “Am I too advanced for Program Y?” “Why isn’t Program Z interested in me?” “How much outreach should I do?”
Letting the Lion Roar — Words of Wisdom on Developing and Maintaining the Dramatic Voice
Roger Pines, Dramaturg, Lyric Opera of Chicago ,
Opera America Magazine7/1/2009
Singers with dramatic voices — those who will someday sing heavy Verdi and Wagner roles — present a special challenge for both academic and professional training programs. At meetings of OPERA America's Singer Training Forum, challenges related to the nurturing of these rare artists are a frequent topic of conversation.
Welcome to OPERA America
Staff , Marc A. Scorca
Original Content8/31/2009
A Learning Laboratory for Opera
Adam Gustafson ,
Opera America Magazine9/1/2009
A lot is happening as OPERA America heads into its 40th year, including a virtual facelift. A new Web site design puts OPERA America’s wealth of existing resources, along with some new additions, at the fingertips of its members in a format that is easy to navigate.
Learning from the Masters
Staff ,
Opera America Magazine9/1/2009
Four artists and a producer walk into a room… no, it's not the latest reality show. OPERA America's Making Connections is an artist development program that brings established artists together with emerging professionals to discuss the wide range of skills and experience required for successful careers in opera. In the three years since its inception, Making Connections has hosted an array of composers, librettists, singers, producers, designers and directors.
Teachers Test the New M!W!O!
Sarah Bryan Miller ,
Opera America Magazine9/1/2009
Teach children to write operas? The idea may seem daunting, but the with help of OPERA America’s Music! Words! Opera! (M!W!O!) curriculum, teachers across the country have been doing just that for the last 20 years. M!W!O!’s intense five-day summer course provides teachers with the tools they need to build those operas.
Taking Action Together: An Update
Staff ,
Opera America Magazine9/1/2009
June 14 marked the one-year anniversary of the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention in Denver. Much has happened since then, including chaos in the global economy, the election of a new President and the proliferation of social networking. And of course, art continues to be made and enjoyed everywhere. A number of strategies for collective action were agreed upon, and even as the world and the arts environment have changed, a great deal of work has been done to forward those goals.
Art and Fame: A Perspective of an Artist as a Young Man
Robert Hansen, executive director, National Opera Association ,
Original Content2/4/2010
When I was something less than two years old, certainly too young to have any real memory of it, I was photographed sitting in the middle of the dining room table wearing nothing but an over-sized and very glamorous hat. I don’t think the photo was posed: I’m sure I donned that hat myself, and from the expression on my face, I’m equally sure I expected to be noticed.

That must have been the earliest expression of my fantasy of fame and celebrity. I began my stage career at the age of five as the little prince in The King and I who crawls between the king’s legs. I relished that moment: the most special of all those child actors who comprised the royal family. Without belaboring the point, I continued performing all through my school years. I was sought after. I sang and performed everywhere and all the time, turning up as a regular in community and school projects, and even one professional program. One kind reviewer called me “everybody’s tenor” and a local philanthropist and arts supporter praised my “multi-faceted talents.” These are words of praise and encouragement that resonate in the formative years. I took the affirmation as a promise of future success. I watched the Academy Awards and Tony shows religiously, fantasizing about the day I would cross the stage to claim my own recognition.
High School Singer Open House
Dona D. Vaughn, Manhattan School of Music and PORTopera, Sarah Heltzel, mezzo-soprano; Mark Oswald, baritone/teacher, Metropolitan Opera and Manhattan School of Music; Nathan Urbach, administrative director, Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Metropolitan Opera
Making Connections2/24/2010
In this special session geared for the college-bound, high school singers will hear from professionals working in the opera field about career options and making the most of one's education. Parents are encouraged to attend this session to learn about supporting young artists through their careers.
Good Reads: A Book List for Singers
Megan Young, Artistic Services Director, OPERA America ,
Original Content4/5/2010
At OPERA America, we love books. In our office, we have a huge library full of them with titles ranging from the studious (e.g. Schoenberg's Fundamentals of Musical Composition) to the salacious (The Private Lives of the Three Tenors, anyone?). Yes, we know we can download books to our e-readers, subscribe to just about everything via RSS and absorb today's news from our smart phones, but to many of us there's nothing like pulling a well-worn paperback out for a good read. Call us old-fashioned.

In light of our collective bibliophilia, OPERA America staff members, along with constituents of the Singer Training Forum steering committee, put together a suggested reading list for singers. Some choices are highly-specialized books for singers; others are less obviously connected to the art of singing, but provide rich fodder for thought. The books have been separated into categories for easy navigation, but note that some selections may be appropriate to more than one category.

The reading list is not a definitive list, but rather a starting point. As always, we encourage you to seek the advice of your personal network (teachers, coaches, professional contacts) in considering other important resources and areas of study. Happy reading!

Thank you to Ann Baltz of OperaWorks, Laura Brooks Rice of Westminster Choir College/CoOPERAtive Program and Kelley Rourke for contributing their favorite books to this list.
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Outreach Artists
By Donata Cucinotta ,
Original Content11/1/2010
So, you’ve been hired to take part in a studio, outreach or ensemble program at an opera company. Chances are high that you’ll be asked to sing in schools as part of your duties. Here are some basic tips that can help ensure your outreach experience is rewarding and runs smoothly:
Cultivating the Dramatic Voice with Dolora Zajick
Dolora Zajick, mezzo-soprano; Marc A. Scorca, OPERA America ,
Making Connections3/9/2011
Dramatic singers who are meant to perform the heavy Verdi and Wagner repertoire must often find career paths outside of the standard training programs because comprimario roles and chorus work are inappropriate for their large instruments. In this session, world-renowned dramatic mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick will discuss the process of nurturing the dramatic voice and career options for these rarefied Fächer.
World Voice Day 2011
Artistic Services Department ,
Original Content4/4/2011
As many of us in the opera field focus on the training of the singing voice, we are keenly aware that care of the voice extends beyond the practice room and performance stage. Maintaining one’s singing instrument involves a thorough understanding and consideration of the effects of diet, exercise, climate and sleep on the body and voice — all of which are variable and unique to each individual. While opera professionals are hyper-aware of their vocal health, voice care professionals such as ear, nose and throat specialists treat a number of patients who develop permanent vocal damage that could have been avoided with proper preventative care. As a result, medical professionals instituted World Voice Day as both a celebration of the human vocal folds and an effort to raise awareness of the vital role the voice plays in education, social interaction and careers in politics, business and performance, to name a few.
In Conversation with Lauren Flanigan
Lauren Flanigan, Marc A. Scorca ,
Making Connections5/25/2011
Soprano Lauren Flanigan has performed in more than 100 operas at major houses all over the world. She is a champion of works by living composers and a mentor to aspiring and emerging singers. Join us as this celebrated singing actress sits down with OPERA America President and CEO Marc A. Scorca for an evening of candid conversation.
DIY Professional Development
Laura Day Giarolo, Director of Learning & Community Engagement, OPERA America ,
Original Content8/4/2011

Conferences and informal conversations alike provide opportunities for professionals to learn from and share with one another, building on the strength of their shared experiences. OPERA America provides several opportunities for mentors, mentees and peer groups to reconnect through in-person Forums, online chats and listserv conversations, and other arts organizations and arts service organizations offer similar services. Weekly or monthly e-newsletters (like OperaLink) have been known to spark conversations around the water cooler, but many of the more recent transformations in do-it-yourself professional development (DIYPD) have come through the blogosphere and through social and professional networking sites.

OPERA America’s Career Guide for Opera - Something for Everyone!
José Rincón ,
Original Content11/1/2011
If you think OPERA America’s Career Guide for Opera is just for singers, think again! The Career Guide for Opera is full of articles, videos and podcasts for opera artists of all types; access to this comprehensive resources starts at just $30 a year. Click through to learn about a few of the many resources you will find.
Singer Training and Repertoire Assignment
Brittney Redler ,
Original Content5/14/2012
In medical school, students take classes for the first two years then do rotations, during which they get to experience different specializations. This introduction to a wide variety of medical divisions is what helps students clarify where their individual talents lie. A young medical student would rarely choose their specialty in those first years to then remain in that field for his or her entire career. This is because they may have certain preferences and or talents that they simply haven't explored yet in their youth. Medicine is a huge field, so one has to explore and "date around" so to speak in order to discover the best match.

Music is similarly an overwhelmingly large subject. Even after choosing vocal performance as a major -- or even more specifically "classical" or "musical theater," a young student is facing an extremely broad range of possibilities. While training, it should be expected — just as it is for medical students — that singers explore a wide variety of music in order to develop a correspondingly varied repertoire and skill set. Learning an abundance of repertoire can introduce and develop technical skills involved in vocal production, but also certainly can build general musicianship, language and diction proficiency, and dramatic preparation and insight. The student therefore becomes familiar with many genres, styles, time periods and composers, which can only make a student a more informed performer. Perhaps a previously unknown niche in this new repertoire assortment is waiting to be discovered.
"Teacherese" for Arts Programming
Clyde Berry, Director of Education, Fort Worth Opera ,
EducationLink10/12/2012
As the new school year gets underway, it is important to remember the importance of the relationship with classroom teachers. Below, Clyde Berry, a classroom teacher for more than 10 years, offers "teacherse" for those working with teachers.

Every classroom teacher, especially with the current implementation of No Child Left Behind, has a very challenging task in creating smart lessons that will lead directly to high test scores. No other time is given to extracurricular or enrichment lessons, as schools/teachers with low test scores face serious disciplinary actions from their own school systems. While this is a serious impediment to the education paradigm, the bottom line of funding high-testing schools has become all important. Administrators will not allow anything to interfere or pull from test prep time and therefore risking funding.
Visa Information for Canadian Singers: Studying and Working in the U.S.
Nick Olcott, Maryland Opera Studio ,
Original Content6/26/2013

Summer 2014 Magazine Issue
  • Summer Apprenticeships
  • Opera Tours for Board Members
  • My First Opera by Speight Jenkins
Contact Us
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
P 212-796-8620 • F 212-796-8621
Info@operaamerica.orgDirections
From Airport:
The easiest way to reach the OPERA America offices is to get a cab at the airport. Cost is $40-45
(not including tip).
  • JFK - Take the AirTrain ($5 - approx. 15 minutes) to the Jamaica Street Station and transfer to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Take the LIRR to Penn Station ($12 - approx. 35 minutes). See Penn Station directions below.
  • LaGuardia - Take the M60 Bus to the Hoyt Ave/31st Street. Get on the or Train and take that to 42nd/Times Square Station. Follow the Times Square Station directions below.
  • Newark - Take the New Jersey Transit train to Penn Station ($15 - approx. 45 min). See the Penn Station Directions below.

From Penn Station/Madison Square Garden:
Leave the station through the 7th Avenue/33rd Street exit and walk south for four blocks. The building is on
the right hand side.

From Grand Central Station:
Take the Train to the 42nd/Times Square station and transfer to the Train.
Take the Train to the 28th Street stop and walk north on 7th Avenue.
The building is on the same block as the train stop.

From 42nd Street/Times Square:
Take the Train to the 28th Street stop and walk north on 7th Avenue.
The building is on the same block as the train stop.

For more detailed directions, most up-to-date pricing or to specify a different starting location, please visit the
MTA Web site.