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Professional Diploma in Opera

Chicago College of Performing Arts

The Professional Diploma in Opera Program offers singers and pianists of exceptional career promise two years of continued guidance in their development as artists. With the support of a full-tuition scholarship and monthly stipend, participants receive weekly voice lessons, vocal and dramatic coaching, seminars, and performance classes concentrating on audition preparation with CCPA’s illustrious faculty. In addition to recital programs and further operatic and concert projects at CCPA, diplomatists are also Young Artists with Chicago Opera Theater, where they participate on a per production basis as ensemble members and soloists, engage with COT artists in master classes, and perform outreach.

Roosevelt University's Wabash tower and Auditorium building in Chicago


Location: Chicago
Start Term: Fall
Program Type: Diploma

This Professional Diploma program allows young artists to continue to grow in a conservatory environment with the support of a full-tuition scholarship and monthly stipend while receiving the benefit of professional experience with the Chicago Opera Theater.

COT Young Artists appear in the ensemble, with the potential of covering and performing roles, and participate in master classes and individual coaching. In addition to this connection, CCPA Diploma students present various outreach and publicity performances for COT. More information may be found on Chicago Opera Theater's website.

The Fall 2019 application is now open!

Andrew Eggert
, Head of Opera

Expectations & Requirements

Standards

The COT/CCPA Young Artist program is intended for artists who have already established the basic skills for a professional career, and who want to build targeted abilities, knowledge and relationships around performing unusual works, including participation in the development and performance of new contemporary opera.

Young Artists receive voice lessons, coachings, and text work on a weekly basis through the faculty at Roosevelt/CCPA.

More Opportunities

  • Targeted coachings and networking with composers, librettists, conductors and directors from outside of Chicago who are brought in for COT activities
  • Regular mentorship with the COT leadership in artistic and professional development opportunities
  • Participation in the evolution of the ‘Living Opera Series’, the development of new works including direct involvement in workshops, and engagement with the Emerging Opera Composer in Residence through COT’s Vanguard Initiative
  • Possible additional classes (through CCPA or COT) for the Young Artists in addition to their vocal training, including languages, movement, acrobatics, puppetry, and other theatrical skill trainings that are present in Chicago.
  • 2-3 annual sessions on ‘business/life’ topics, like taxes, engagement with donors, managers/agents, industry experts, websites/resumes, personal marketing, etc.
  • Occasional donor-focused events (possibly the Holiday Soiree and Gala, but could be others) where YAs are coached on how to engage a room of donors
  • Occasional participation as speakers and performers in COT’s Education programs in Chicago Public Schools throughout the year
  • Provided attendance at all COT and Lyric opera dress rehearsals, and at select opera events throughout the city
  • Awareness and engagement as a group in other free or low cost opportunities for developing singers in the Chicago area
Performance Opportunities

Performance Opportunities

  • Regular performance opportunities at Chicago Opera Theater, including covering roles, chorus participation, and consideration for principal roles
  • At least one individual coaching and one group session with Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya per year
  • At least one master class with artists from each mainstage production

Testimonials

Scott Gilmore

"The voice and opera faculty at CCPA comprises passionate teachers and performers who have been heard on the world's greatest opera stages. Students in the opera program will enhance their musicianship through their participation in both CCPA and COT performances. Plus, if you are a student at CCPA you will get to live in the heart of Chicago, which is one of the most culturally and artistically diverse cities in the world."

Scott Gilmore
Associate Professor of Opera and Voice, Roosevelt University
Admission

Opera Audition Requirements

  • All applicants must have an undergraduate degree.
  • All applicants must be available to come to Chicago for a live audition on the specified date. 
    Live auditions are granted just to those who pass our pre-screening round of recorded auditions. All final voice auditions will take place on February 1, 2019. All invited applicants must attend this day to be considered for admission. Piano applicants will be contacted to arrange a date for final audition, if invited. Do not make any travel arrangements to Chicago until you have received notification of your pre-screening decision.

Pre-Screening Audition Requirements

All applicants must apply to CCPA and submit pre-screening requirements via Acceptd: November 26, 2018.

All materials must be uploaded via Acceptd. DO NOT mail recordings or documents to CCPA.

Singers

  • A recording of three operatic arias (no art song or oratorio)
    • a minimum of two languages represented, one of which MUST be English
    • one aria must be contemporary
    • all recordings must have been made within the last 6 months, one of which must be a video
  • A recent headshot
  • An academic and professional résumé
  • You will upload your personal statement to your Roosevelt University Performing Arts application. Follow the prompt on the application site.
  • Three letters of recommendation will be required within your Roosevelt University Performing Arts application. One should be from your current voice teacher assessing your current level of development and career potential. The other two should be from professionals or faculty with whom you have recently worked and that address your musical and dramatic abilities.

Pianists

  • One complete work for solo piano
  • Two operatic selections of contrasting periods and styles (arias and/or scenes/ensembles) to be performed with singers. Of the recordings, at least one must be a video. All recordings must have been made within the last 6 months.
  • A recent headshot
  • An academic and professional résumé
  • You will upload your personal statement to your Roosevelt University Performing Arts application. Follow the prompt on the application site.
  • Three letters of recommendation will be required with your Roosevelt University Performing Arts application. One will be from your current teacher assessing your current level of development and career potential. The other two will be from professionals or faculty with whom you have recently worked and that address your musical abilities.

Live Audition Requirements

Singers

Do not make any travel arrangements to Chicago unless you receive indication that you have made it through the pre-screening round of recorded auditions. All repertoire must be performed from memory. CCPA will provide you an accompanist for your live audition. You may NOT bring your own accompanist.

Four contrasting operatic arias in the original language (no oratorio), to be performed from memory. These may include selections from the pre-screening audition if you wish.

  • A minimum of three languages represented, one of which MUST be English
  • At least three stylistic periods must be represented, including Contemporary which is mandatory: Baroque (through Handel), Classical (through Rossini), Romantic/Post-Romantic (through Barber)

Pianists

Do not make travel arrangements to Chicago unless you receive indication that you have made it through the pre-screening round of auditions. All excerpts below must be played and sung in the original language.

  • One complete work for solo piano
  • Mozart, Don Giovanni - Opening of Act I (through Don Ottavio and Donna Anna's duet)
  • Strauss, Ariadne auf Naxos - Composer's aria "sein wir wieder gut" (ending after "die heilige Musik")
  • Adams, The Death of Klinghoffer - Act I scene I ("it was just after one fifteen" through "slightly slower" after "makes intellect an animal")

Live Audition Procedures and Expectations

All applicants must be at an advanced level of technical ability. Singers should have a working knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and a firm grasp on at least one of the basic singing languages (in addition to English). They should also have experience working with directors and be comfortable onstage. Singers and pianists must provide 3 copies of their repertoire list and 3 copies of their résumé to their live audition.

Singers

Singers invited to a live audition MUST be available the entire day on February 1, 2019. No exceptions shall be made.

All singers will present an aria of their choice, and will be prepared to sing additional selections from their list as requested by the audition panel. In addition to performing their presented arias, singers may be asked for a working session with our program head. Those selected to join the program will be notified by CCPA within a week after the final auditions.

Proper audition attire is expected for the audition.