Mildred Miller International Voice Competition

Be a part of this year's Mildred Miller International Voice Competition as we search for America's best singers. Young professionals aged 18–35 are encouraged to compete for cash prizes and solo roles in SummerFest 2016.

Mildred Miller

General Information

The Mildred Miller International Voice Competition was founded in 2012 to identify and nurture talented young singers. The competition is named for Opera Theater founder Mildred Miller Posvar, who sang for 26 illustrious seasons at the Metropolitan Opera and other world capitals. Miller's acclaimed recordings include Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with conductor Bruno Walter, Mozart's Le Nozze de Figaro with Erich Leinsdorf, and the commemorative concert celebrating the Boston Pops Orchestra 100th anniversary with Arthur Fiedler. 

Dates
Semi-finals: Saturday 31 October 2015 from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Finals: Sunday 01 November from 2:30 pm –6:00 pm

Venue
The competition preliminary and final rounds are held in the auditorium of the Frick Art & Historical Center in Pittsburgh's Point Breeze neighborhood.

Age Eligibility
Contestants must be under age 35 on Saturday, November 01 2015.

Applications
Applications are accepted through YAPtracker only. 

Application Fee
The application fee is $65, paid through YAPtracker.

Deadline to Apply
The application process closes at 5:00 pm on Friday 16 October 2015.

Prizes

Three prizes will be awarded 

  • 1st Prize: $5,000, plus $3,000 to sing an appropriate substantial role in an Opera Theater production and a guaranteed place in the Resident Artists Program during the 2016 summer festival.
  • 2nd Prize: $3,000, plus $3,000 to sing an appropriate role in an Opera Theater production and a guaranteed place in the Resident Artists Program during the 2016 summer festival.
  • 3rd Prize: $1,000, plus $3000 to sing an appropriate role in an Opera Theater production and a guaranteed place in the Resident Artists Program during the 2016 summer festival.

 

Timeline

Tuesday 01 September 2015
Applications become available on YAPTracker—available through 16 October.

Friday 16 October 2015
Applications process closes.

Thursday 21 October 2015
Notification to all semi-finalists.

Saturday 31 October 2015
Semi-final rounds begin in Pittsburgh at the Frick Art & Historical Center. The morning session will occur from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm, and then will resume from 3:00–5:30 pm. (The semi-final round is open to the public free-of-charge.) At the end of the evening, all semi-finalists will be notified as to whether they have been selected to continue in the final round.

Sunday 01 November 2015
Final rounds will begin at the Frick Art & Historical Center at 2:30 pm, in a session open to the public as a ticketed event. Singers participating in the final round will be assigned a warmup time and location. All singers in the final round (approximately 5-6 singers) will perform their selections on the first half of the program, and the judges will convene during the intermission to make their final selections. Awarding of prizes will occur at the conclusion of the event.

Immediately following the competition, all finalists will be invited to a private reception held immediately following in a nearby historic home.

Repertoire

Candidates must be available at the time of the competition to accept appropriate roles in SummerFest 2016, which runs from June 13 to July 24, 2016. Lead roles will be offered to winners in the following productions:

Giulio Cesare   Handel
Die Schweigsame Frau   Strauss
Carmen the Gypsy   A flamenco version of Bizet's Carmen
Kiss Me, Kate   Cole Porter

 

What the judges are looking for

The Mildred Miller International Voice Competition celebrates singers who, like Miss Miller in her stellar career, excel in singing and performing opera as drama. The competition focuses on artists who can communicate through song and word, demonstrating not only the contestant’s vocal talent and musicianship, but also making a strong dramatic impression through the synthesis of singing and acting.

Candidates are encouraged in their audition arias to create a character and both sing and act it out as fully as possible in an audition context. 

Comments from past winners

Andrey Nemzer, Countertenor, competition winner 2011, Met Finalist 2012, Operalia Awardee 2014.
Roles with Summerfest: Ramiro, La Finta Giardiniera; Old Lady, Candide; Monostatos, The Magic Flute

"I am so pleased to write to you, expressing the wonderful experiences I had at Summerfest 2012. You are all extremely talented and SummerFest is an amazing organization.  Everyone was truly devoted to the great art of Opera and all involved worked from the heart.”

Juan José De León, Tenor, Competition Winner 2012, now at The Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Paris
Role with SummerFest: Tamino, The Magic Flute

“Performing with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh was a wonderful experience. I had the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite characters, Tamino, and breathe new life into him in a colorful and imaginative production.”

Elizabeth Baldwin, Soprano, Competition Winner 2013, San Francisco Symphony, Virginia Opera, Chatauqua
Role with SummerFest: Ariadne, Ariadne on Naxos

“Thank you so much for this incredible experience of getting to work on some of my favorite music and characters!! You are truly THE BEST and I have loved every minute of it!”

 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Q: Who is Mildred Miller?
A: Mildred Miller, internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano, founded Opera Theater in 1978 after twenty-three seasons at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.  Read the full bio of Ms. Posvar’s accomplishments.

Q: What do the prize packages include?
A: All winners are awarded a base cash prize (the first sum of money in the prize list – for the first prize winner, this sum is $5,000).  In addition, winners are offered an optional contract to sing an appropriate solo role during Opera Theater’s 2015 summer festival for an additional payment (the second sum of money on the prize list – for all prize winners, this amount is $3,000). As part of that contract, winners who choose to join us for the summer festival participate in Opera Theater’s Resident Artist Program on a full scholarship.  The winner may choose to decline the solo contract and Resident Artist Program, retaining the monetary prize.  Winners leave the competition with a check for the prize monies in hand; the check for the contract payment is received on completion of role assignments after the summer festival.

Q: I’m not available for the Summer Festival but still want to be considered for the competition’s base prizes. Is that possible?
A: No; applications will only be accepted from those who at the time of the competition (November 1 2015) are available to accept contracts for SummerFest, which runs from June 13 to July 24 2016.

Q: Can I decline a role if I feel it is not appropriate for me and still retain a base prize?
A: Yes, and you can discuss role suitability with the Artistic Director, Jonathan Eaton.

Q: Do I have to make up my mind whether or not to accept a role on the same evening I am awarded the base prize? 
A: No, you will be given ten days to decide whether you would like to accept the contract and role.

Q: Does Opera Theater assist international applicants in securing proper passports/visas?
A: No, contestants traveling from outside the United States will be responsible for acquiring their own passports and visas. Opera Theater cannot pay prize money or role contract monies to any foreign nationals who do not have proper documentation.  Contestants should consult the nearest American Embassy or Consulate for advice immediately upon notification of acceptance into the competition. Opera Theater will mail two formal letters of invitation to you by regular mail within one week of your acceptance that you may attach to your passport or visa application. Opera Theater will not be responsible for any further facilitation of your application.

APPLICATIONS

Q: How do I apply for the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition?
A: Online Application forms can be found at yaptracker.com.

All applications and payments are to be submitted online through YAPtracker, not directly to Opera Theater. 

Q: What is the application deadline?
A: The application deadline for the 2015 Mildred Miller Competition is October 16, 2015. 

Q: What materials are required?
A: The online form will guide you through the procedure and required materials.  You will be prompted to upload audio selections, headshot and résumé, along with the completed application form and your $65 non-refundable application fee (payable online with credit/debit card).

Q: How will semi-finalists be selected from online applicants to sing in Pittsburgh?
A: A panel of judges including Demareus Cooper (soprano) and Jonathan Eaton (international stage director, Artistic Director of Opera Theater) will review all the candidates’ materials submitted on YAPtracker, listening to all uploaded audition arias, and will choose 20 to 25 semi-finalists, who will come to Pittsburgh to audition.  

Q: When will semi-finalists be notified?
A: The 20+ semi-finalists invited to compete in Pittsburgh will be notified no later than October 21, 2015.  Foreign applicants may be notified earlier in order to allow time for participants to secure passports/visas.

Q: How do the semi-finals and finals take place?
A: Semi-finalists will be invited to come to Pittsburgh to sing live auditions in front of a panel of judges on Saturday 31 October 2015 between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm.  The finalists who are chosen from these singers will be notified early on the Saturday evening (usually by 7:30pm) and will sing again on Sunday 01 November starting at 2:30pm. The winners will be announced at the end of the afternoon around 5:30pm. All finalists will be invited to a reception after the competition; however participants do not need to stay in Pittsburgh overnight on the Sunday and may leave Pittsburgh any time after the winners are announced.

Q: Where and when do the semi-finals and finals take place?
A: These take place in the auditorium at the the Frick Art & Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15208.  This is one of Pittsburgh’s loveliest museums, and it has ample free parking.

AUDITIONS

Q: I would like to change the music selections I listed on my application.  Is this possible?
A: Yes, as long as you bring with you six copies of adjusted repertoire sheets for the judges.

Q: What accompanists are available?
A: Opera Theater will supply two accompanists, who will rotate between singers. They will be available to go through your repertoire with you before you sing onstage.

Q: Am I able to bring my own accompanist? 
A: Yes, you may bring your own accompanist, but please state that intent on your application form.

Q: What warm-up facilities and changing areas are available?
A: Warm-up facilities and male and female changing areas will be available.

Q: Who will be judging the competition?
A: Semi-finals and finals are expected to be judged by panel consisting of:

  • Mildred Miller 
  • Robert Chafin
  • Marianne Cornetti
  • Robert Croan
  • Kevin Glavin
  • Eugene Perry
  • Maria Spacagna

Q: When do I need to arrive in Pittsburgh for the competition, and when am I free to depart?
A: You may request that your semi-final audition take place Saturday afternoon to allow you to travel on the Saturday morning if you wish, though Opera Theater cannot guarantee this. You will be given times by which you need to check in with Opera Theater staff. Those who are not chosen to be finalists may leave after the finalists are announced at around 7:00 pm on Saturday 31 October. Finalists should stay until the end of the competition on Sunday 01 November (around 6:00pm). Finalists might like to remain in Pittsburgh for another couple of hours to enjoy a reception…

Q: What if I have travel or health complications a day or more prior to my audition?
A: Please contact our office during normal business hours as soon as possible by phone: 412.621.1499, or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Q: What if I have travel complications on the day of my audition?
A: If you think you will be late or unable to make your audition, please contact our office as soon as possible by phone: 412.621.1499, or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. After office hours, phone calls will be forwarded to a staff member. 

SUMMERFEST AND RESIDENT ARTIST PROGRAM

Q: Can I accept a role but not be part of the Resident Artists Program?
A: No, if you join us for the festival you will be a Resident Artist (one of the four categories in our Young Artist Program) and a company member.  In addition to your principal solo role, you may also be assigned to sing at audience development and other festival events.  You will also have access to a series of coachings and masterclasses led by world-class singers, conductors and directors.  

Q: What does “a full scholarship” mean for a place in the RAP?
A: The program of masterclasses and coachings that we offer, including housing, costs us approximately $4,000 per person.  As a prize winner in the Mildred Miller Competition, you receive this benefit free of charge.

Q: Is the contract fee for a role I accept in the summer festival a fee-per-performance, or does it cover my participation in the whole festival?
A: Your fee covers participation in the full festival and all performances you may do; it is not a fee-per-performance.

Q: What is the period of residency for the RAP?
A: The festival starts rehearsals on June 13; performances end July 24 2016.

Q: What sort of accommodation can I expect during the festival?
A: All Resident Artists are provided either with either an apartment, or are housed in single rooms in private houses with friends of Opera Theater. You may state a preference for one of the other, but we cannot guarantee to meet your preference. The costs of this accommodation are met by Opera Theater and are covered in your scholarship. 

Q: Do I pay for my own transportation to and from Pittsburgh?
A: Yes, all Resident Artists pay their own way to and from Pittsburgh for the summer period of residency.  

Q: How do we handle local transportation during the RAP period of residency once we are in Pittsburgh?
A: While some accommodation is within walking distance of our theater, artists are encouraged to bring their own cars, as this will give them much greater flexibility. Those who choose to stay in private houses should plan to bring cars.

Q: Are food and drink provided while in Pittsburgh?
A: No, each artist is responsible for his or her own food and drink. 

 

The Mildred Miller International Voice Competition is part of OPERA America's National Opera Week.