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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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Acting Resources for Singers
Marc Astafan, Amy Burton, Chuck Hudson, Jonah Nigh ,
Making Connections

To be successful, opera singers must be able to not only sing beautifully but give engaging dramatic portrayals as well. And like singing, developing your acting abilities is a life-long process. Learn what resources exist to help you improve your acting chops at all levels of career development.

In Conversation with Stephanie Blythe
Stephanie Blythe, Marc A. Scorca ,
Making Connections
Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is one of the most celebrated and critically acclaimed opera artists of our time. She has performed at major opera houses all over the world in repertoire ranging from Handel to Wagner and this season she returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Rodelinda, Aida and the complete Ring Cycle. Join us as this singular artist discusses her craft and career with OPERA America President & CEO Marc A. Scorca.
Stages of Developing a New Work
John Glover, Beth Greenberg, John Musto, Jim Schaeffer ,
Making Connections
The road to creating a new opera is paved with questions. Who should be on the creative team? How do you know when a work is ready for the next stage of development? When do you let the public hear it? At this session, hear from artists and administrators at the forefront of contemporary opera and gain insight into how new works are created, developed and produced.
How to be a Teaching Artist
Thomas Cabaniss, Neil Ginsberg, Amy Kirkland, Camille Zamora ,
Making Connections
Teaching artists educate and engage with community members through work in schools, hospitals and other social services organizations. To be successful, teaching artists must possess a wide range of business and interpersonal skills in addition to talent and artistry. At this session for all opera artists, panelists will discuss the types of opportunities available to teaching artists and how you can obtain the skills needed for success.
Stress Management for Opera Artists
Robin Rigby, stress management consultant ,
Making Connections
Stress is often unavoidable, especially in the competitive and grueling world of opera. Fortunately, there are proven methods of reducing and managing stress and the factors that cause it. At this session you will learn how to effectively deal with stress so that you can stay healthy, productive and achieve your goals as an artist.
In Conversation with Lauren Flanigan
Lauren Flanigan, Marc A. Scorca ,
Making Connections
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.
The Nuts, Bolts and Secrets of Covering
Katherine Drago, mezzo-soprano ,
Making Connections
Working for an opera company as a cover is a great way to begin building a reputation in the industry as a talented artist and dependable colleague. This interactive seminar will teach you the essential dos and don’ts of covering, as well as techniques for notating and reviewing blocking, how to conduct yourself during rehearsals and more.
Cultivating the Dramatic Voice with Dolora Zajick
Dolora Zajick, mezzo-soprano; Marc A. Scorca, OPERA America ,
Making Connections
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.
Keys to a Successful Singer/Conductor Relationship
Neal Goren, Gotham Chamber Opera; Erie Mills, soprano; Steven Osgood, conductor ,
Making Connections
An established conductor can be a major ally in the advancement of a singer’s career, but the success of this relationship relies on trust, respect and a lot of preparation. Learn how to make the singer/conductor relationship a mutually beneficial one from this session’s panel of distinguished artists.
In Conversation with Francesca Zambello
Francesca Zambello, director; Marc A. Scorca, OPERA America ,
Making Connections
Internationally acclaimed stage director Francesca Zambello recently became the general and artistic director of the Glimmerglass Festival and will direct its highly anticipated production of Annie Get Your Gun starring Deborah Voigt next season. Join us as this leading artist discusses her career and creative process with OPERA America President and CEO Marc A. Scorca.
Make the Most of Audition Season
Ken Benson, consultant; Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor; Kelley Rourke, OPERA America; Edward Yim, New York City Opera ,
Making Connections
Preparing for and performing auditions are important aspects of a professional singing career that require focus, strategy and dedication — not to mention time and money. At this panel discussion, hear from industry experts about how to maximize your potential for a successful audition season.
Building and Managing Your Network
Charles Jarden, executive director, American Opera Projects; Laura Brooks Rice, Westminster Choir College and CoOPERAtive Program; Leah Wool, mezzo-soprano ,
Making Connections
To be successful, opera artists must accumulate a staggering amount of knowledge and skills. Those who attempt to meet so many demands alone, particularly given the transient lifestyle of an opera career, will quickly find themselves overwhelmed. This session will cover the need for advisors, identifying appropriate team players, communicating your goals to your supporters and managing this dynamic group through your own personal and professional growth.
Fundraising for Independent Artists
Beryl B. Byles, executive coach, Dianne Debicella, program director, fiscal sponsorship, Fractured Atlas; Eve Gigliotti, mezzo-soprano; Anne Ricci, general managing diva, Opera on Tap
Making Connections
Many, if not most, independent artists will have to raise funds during their careers - to produce a piece, attend a training program or simply to continue study. Panelists at this session will discuss their experiences, tips and strategies for cultivating donor relationships and raising funds.
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 Connections
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.
Tax Issues for Artists
Larry Bomback, director of finance and operations, OPERA America, Anne Adamowsky, accountant, Trudy C. Durant and Associates
Making Connections
Basic tax preparation can be a tricky endeavor. Add self-employment, itemized deductions and quarterly filing to the mix, and overwhelming does not begin to describe the process. Learn from a panel of experienced taxpayers and certified professionals how to best approach finance as an independent artist.
Strategic Planning for Independent Artists
Staff , Darren K. Woods, general director, Fort Worth Opera
Making Connections
In order to be successful as an independent artist, one must treat one's work as a small business. This session, led by Fort Worth Opera General Director Darren K. Woods, will give artists the tools needed to create business plans and reach professional goals in the opera field.
Social Networking in the Life of an Opera Artist
Staff Patricia Kiernan Johnson, marketing and media manager, OPERA America, Amanda Ameer, First Chair Promotions; Brian Dickie, general director, Chicago Opera Theater; Erik Gensler, president, Capacity Interactive Inc.
Making Connections
Social networking, including Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, has become part of daily life for many people. Panelists at this session will talk about the pros and cons of an online presence and discuss the delicate balance between personal and professional networking.
An Evening with Designer John Conklin (Audio)
Staff Marc A. Scorca, president/ceo, OPERA America, John Conklin, scenic and costume designer
Making Connections
Join us for this event featuring respected scenic and costume designer John Conklin in conversation with OPERA America's Marc A. Scorca. Selected images and samples of Conklin's work will be on display at the event.
Audition Advice for Singers
Staff Jonah Nigh, grants and development manager, OPERA America, Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano; Gayletha Nichols, director of National Council Auditions, Metropolitan Opera; Bill Palant, vice president, IMG Artists
Making Connections
For opera singers, preparing for and performing auditions are major portions of one's work. At this panel discussion, hear from industry experts about the elements involved in having an effective audition season.
Designing for 21st-Century Opera
Staff Allen Moyer, scenic designer, Jessica Jahn, costume designer; Wendall K. Harrington, projection designer;Joachim Schamberger, stage director and virtual theater designer
Making Connections
New opera productions and new works provide designers endless possibilities to be creative. A panel of experts will explore:
  • Design trends in the field
  • Numerous multimedia options for the opera stage
  • Bringing film, fashion and other art forms onto the opera stage in exciting ways
Fundraising 101
Staff , Dianne Debicella, Fractured Atlas
Making Connections
Most artists will likely have to raise funds during their careers, whether it is to produce a piece, attend a training program or simply to supplement income. Our fundraising expert will cover:
  • Identifying sources of income
  • Creating a fundraising strategy
  • “The ask”
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 Connections
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
Marketing and Media
Staff Patricia Kiernan Johnson, OPERA America, Sean Bickerton, Kulture Shock Media; Kristin Cowdin, Guy Barzilay Artists;
Making Connections
You have worked hard to perfect your craft, but are your promotional materials doing you justice? This session will cover:
  • Headshots and other photos
  • Creating engaging Web sites
  • Managing your Web image
How Companies Commission Opera
Staff Linda Golding, The Reservoir, Lowell Liebermann, composer; J.D. McClatchy, librettist; Peggy Monastra, G. Schirmer Inc.
Making Connections
Each new opera commission has a unique process and path. In this session, panelists will discuss:
  • Reasons opera companies commission new works
  • How operas and creative artists are chosen
  • Best practices for creative artists to reach opera companies
Learning a Role Inside and Out
Staff Lenore Rosenberg, Metropolitan Opera , Valerie Beaman, Acting for Opera; Lauren Flanigan, soprano; Jonah Nigh, OPERA America
Making Connections
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
Maintaining Your Health amid a Hectic Schedule
Staff Megan Young, OPERA America , Brian Gill, vocologist; Katherine Keyes, Alexander Technique specialist; Doonam Kim, M.D.;
Making Connections
For most opera artists, staying in good health is crucial to staying employable. Yet travel, stress and interaction with others can make keeping the sniffles away challenging. This panel will share tips on:
  • Creating a balanced lifestyle
  • Dealing with anxiety
  • Resources for maintaining your health anywhere
Public Speaking
Staff , Marc A. Scorca
Making Connections
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
Putting Your Best Foot Forward in an Audition
Staff Anne Choe, OPERA America, Ken Benson, CAMI; Lauren Flanigan, soprano, Lenore Rosenberg, Metropolitan Opera
Making Connections
One of the most important aspects in a young singer’s career is the audition. This session will feature advice on:
  • Performing an effective audition
  • Repertoire and attire
  • Processing audition feedback
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 Connections
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

Career Transitions for Singers
Staff Anne Choe, OPERA America, Ana De Archuleta, ADA-Artists; Jane Bunnell, DePaul University; Darren K. Woods, Fort Worth Opera
Making Connections
No two career paths are alike, and not every singer has a lifelong career at international opera houses. This session will explore:
  • Identifying your strengths and interests
  • Best ways to use your skills
  • Taking your career to its next logical stage

New Works Opportunities with Music Schools
Staff , Conrad Cummings, composer; Gordon Ostrowski, Manhattan School of Music;
Making Connections
Academic institutions can be great settings for new opera workshops and productions. This session will cover:
  • Music schools that develop adventurous programming and how they offer a unique
    experience for composers and librettists
  • Working with young musicians
  • Using the longer rehearsal periods for feedback and evaluation
Performing in Your Community
Staff , Grethe Holby, Family Opera Initiative; Anne Ricci, Opera on Tap; Camille Zamora, Sing for Hope;
Making Connections
Engaging new audiences and reaching out to your local community are important parts of being an artist. Hear from panelists who:
  • Created performing opportunities
  • Helped other organizations through fundraising and benefit concerts
  • Performed in unique venues to reach a wider market
Workshopping Your Opera
Staff Diane Wondisford, Music-Theatre Group , Ricky Ian Gordon, composer; Charles Jarden, American Opera Projects; David Schweizer, stage director
Making Connections
Important components of the creative process include assessment and feedback. The creative artists on this panel will discuss:
  • Innovative ways they have workshopped pieces
  • Factors to consider when planning to workshop
  • Processing evaluation and feedback
Crossing from Theater Directing to Opera
Staff Yuval Sharon, stage director, Ned Canty, stage director; James Marvel, stage director; Dona D. Vaughan, PORTopera
Making Connections
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
Finding Artist Mentors
Staff Nicholas G. Russell, Linda Golding, The Reservoir; Daron Hagen, composer; Erie Mills, soprano
Making Connections
Opera artists experience a wide range of career paths. This session will provide:
  • Tips on identifying good mentors
  • Techniques for approaching mentors
  • Networking opportunities


Spring 2014 Magazine Issue
  • From Gold Rush to Google
  • Before, After and During Opera Conference 2014
  • OPERA America's New Works Forum Expands and Explores
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.