2016 Young Artist Program

This is a combined professional training and performing program that takes place in Pittsburgh for a minimum of four weeks and a maximum of six weeks (depending on casting) from June 13 – July 24, 2016, as part of Opera Theater’s summer festival activities. It is intended for Resident, Studio, Young and Apprentice Artists (singers, pianists and stage directors) with opportunities for solo performance for all participants.

Applications are now being accepted on YAPTracker.

A brief overview

Our Young Artist Program is divided into four categories, each of which has different fee structures and varying starting dates:

Resident Artist Program
Featured Artist Program
Studio Artist Program
Apprentice Artist Program


"This is the first time I have felt completely supported as an artist and human being simultaneously. Bravi tutti to everyone for treating us as colleagues, but also nurturing us in the areas we need to grow."
   —Studio Artist 

Solo Roles

Generally, we work hard to cast Resident, Featured and Studio Artists (known collectively as Young Artists) in as many appropriate solo roles as possible, as well as in all cover roles. Most Young Artists also sing in the ensembles in mainstage productions.


The program will have a strong training element, and artists will work with world-class singers, directors, conductors, coaches, and choreographers both in production rehearsals and in training sessions, which will include individual and group vocal and repertoire coaching, masterclasses, auditioning classes and career seminars.


Summerfest is able to provide housing free of charge to Resident Artists only. All other Featured and Young Artists may choose to supply their own housing or pay $500 for Opera Theater to place them in a dormitory or home-stay situation.

Food and transportation

Each artist is responsible for his/her own food and for transportation to and from Pittsburgh. When necessary, once in Pittsburgh, very limited local transportation will be supplied by Opera Theater. Therefore, all Artists are very strongly encouraged to bring their own cars.

Application information

The application fee of $65 guarantees an audition or interview for SummerFest until audition slots are filled and the respective audition time and location are crossed out on the YapTracker application. You can schedule your audition time yourself through YapTracker; check back periodically to see if additional slots open up. 

Audition cities

For the 2016 season, we will audition in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Houston, Boston, Muncie, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, mostly over weekends, from November 7 - December 6, 2015. (See dates below.)

"What a marvelous experience this has been.  I must extend my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude… you have assembled a fine, fine group of musicians here, an excellent staff, and an overall amazing performance and learning experience. Thank you so much for everything. I have had a most memorable experience, and I hope to work with you again in the future."
   —Jesse Leong, Resident Artist Pianist


Program Details

Resident Artist Program

June 13 - July 24, 2016

(Some singers may start earlier depending on which roles and pieces they are cast in, and could start as early as May 31 for Carmen the Gypsy.)

Singers: Up to four Resident Artist Singers will be chosen to perform major solo roles in the mainstage festival productions, understudy major roles, and participate in all training opportunities. This category is designed for emerging professionals between the ages of 22 and 35. Each will receive a full scholarship. No fees are payable for artists admitted to the program in this category, however Resident Artist Singers are expected to submit a $500 deposit for their participation in SummerFest, which will be returned to them once they have completed the program. The duration of residency in Pittsburgh will be from June 15 or earlier, depending on which roles and pieces singers are cast in, through July 24.

Marianne Cornetti Resident Artist Scholarship: One singer will be the recipient of this scholarship in honor of international mezzo soprano Marianne Cornetti.


Pianists: There will be 5 openings for Resident Artist Pianists. Each will receive a full scholarship, and will receive additional payments for accompanying services outside mainstage rehearsals. Pianists will work alongside world-class conductors and coaches in rehearsals and training sessions. The duration of residency in Pittsburgh will be from June 15 or earlier, depending on which pieces pianists are assigned to, through July 24.

Stage Directors: There will be 3 places for Resident Artist Stage Directors. Each will receive a full scholarship and work closely as Assistant Directors on mainstage productions. As well as assisting on a mainstage production, directors will be assigned their own production of one of the Night Caps operas to direct. The duration of residency in Pittsburgh will be from June 15 or earlier, depending on which pieces directors are assigned to, through July 24.

Featured Artist Program

for most participants: June 20 - July 26, 2016

Up to four Featured Artist Singers will be chosen to perform substantial solo roles in the mainstage festival productions, understudy substantial roles, and participate in all training opportunities. This category is designed for emerging professionals between the ages of 22 and 35. Featured Artists pay $750 towards tuition fees; they may supply their own accommodation or pay an additional $500 for accommodation supplied by OTP. The duration of residency in Pittsburgh will be from June 20 or earlier, depending on which roles and pieces singers are cast in, through July 24.

Studio Artist Program

for most participants: June 27 - July 24, 2016

Up to 24 Studio Artist Singers will be chosen to participate in the training program and perform in the ensemble with the possibility to perform appropriate roles and understudy  roles. In addition, the majority of Damn Yankees roles and many of the cabaret and concert solo performing opportunities will be reserved for Studio Artists.

This program is designed for pre-professional and emerging professional singers between the ages of 18 and 30. Residency in Pittsburgh will be from June 27 through July 24. Studio Artists pay $1,750 towards tuition fees; they may supply their own accommodation or pay an additional $500 for accommodation supplied by OTP.

Watch an excerpt from the SummerFest 2014 production of Ariadne on Naxos. (Elizabeth Baldwin as Ariadne;
Elizabeth Fischborn as Zerbinetta; Erika Hennings as The Composer; Benjamin Taylor as Harlequin)

Apprentice Artist Program

for most participants: June 13 - July 24, 2016

Up to four Apprentice Artist Singers will perform in the ensemble and participate in the training program without charge, and in return will work for the festival in varying capacities ranging from driving artists to and from rehearsals to assisting backstage or front of house as required. Apprentice Artists are expected to have their own cars and accommodations in Pittsburgh: it is therefore an ideal opportunity for young, local Pittsburgh-area singers.

"Returning to OTP was worth every moment of my summer! The experience I gained and the people I worked with are beyond amazing! I love OTP and thank the company for all the opportunities they gave me."
   —Brynn Terry, soprano

Roles and Casting Policy 

2016 Season Mainstage repertoire includes:

Die schweigsame Frau by Richard Strauss Most roles and all understudies available to YAPs
Carmen the Gypsy by Georges Bizet ("flamenco" version) Most roles and all understudies available to YAPs
Giulio Cesare by Georg F. Handel Most roles and all understudies available to YAPs
Kiss Me, Kate  by Cole Porter     All roles available
Night Caps      Four comic operas, Various composers      All roles available

Additional opportunities expected to include:

2 recitals featuring Italian and American opera

SummerFest takes great pleasure in casting Young Artists in solo activities as much as possible. In our 2015 festival, for instance, all Young Artists were cast, not just as understudies, for all roles in all productions, but also as soloists for 80% of those roles.

Past Master Classes

Marianne Cornetti, Robert Croan, Jane Eaglen, Timothy LeFebvre, Mildred Miller Posvar, Eugene Perry, Melanie Sonnenberg, Maria Spacagna

Past Voice Faculty have included:

Mildred Miller Posvar, (company founder), mezzo, 25 years at the Metropolitan Opera
Robert Chafin, tenor, Carnegie Hall, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Salzburg Festival, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Stuttgart Opera
Demareus Cooper, soprano, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Long Beach Opera
Jeremey Galyon, bass, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera
Dimitrie Lazich, baritone, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Cleveland Opera, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Sarasota Opera
Milutin Lazich, bass-baritone, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh; Professor, Clarion University
Craig Priebe, baritone, New York City Opera, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Playhouse                                            
Anna Singer, soprano, New York City Opera, Virginia Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, New Bulgarian Opera
Laura Knoop Very, soprano, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera
Daniel Teadt, baritone, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Arizona Opera, Pittsburgh Opera
Raymond Very, tenor, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Hamburg State Opera, Bavarian State Opera

Repertoire coaches:

Brent McMunn, conductor, New York City Opera, Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Music Director Thornton School of Music USC
Robert Frankenberry, Music director, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh
Bernard McDonald, conductor, Glyndebourne, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera
Hyery Hwang, Principal Coach, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh

Stagecraft training and business seminar

Jonathan Eaton, Artistic Director, Opera Theater Pittsburgh; NYC Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe and Spoleto Festivals; Royal Opera Covent Garden
Scott Wise, Pittsburgh Playhouse  
Mark Lamanna                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


Please note that the application process varies somewhat for singers, pianists and directors.

All applications must be submitted online (electronic applications only) at yaptracker.com and deadlines are listed, varying by audition location. 

Applications for SummerFest 2016 and The Mildred Miller International Voice Competition are separate (and both are available through YAPtracker).

YAP auditions are self-scheduled on YapTracker. 

The application fee of $65 guarantees an audition or interview as long as audition slots are available.

Should slots appear full, check back periodically on Yap Tracker to see whether additional slots have been opened up. When all of the slots for a particular location are filled, the audition time and location are crossed out on the YAPTracker application.

"What a wonderful program you have here. I enjoyed every minute! Thank you for giving me an opportunity to perform in such a beautiful city."
   —Errin Brooks, 2013 & 2014 Young Artist Scholarship Recipient, Tenor


Auditions and Interviews

You may request an audition or interview at any of the following locations, depending on demand. Photo ID is required for entry at all auditions and interviews.
Please note that some audition dates and/or times may become available at a later date. 

, PA

Saturday November 14, 5pm-8pm and Sunday November 15, 10am-6pm: Opera Theater Pittsburgh, Stephen Foster Center (Third Floor), 286 Main St., Pittsburgh, PA 15201


Sunday November 15, 10am-6pm: Room 118, Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115 

, OH

Saturday November 21, 10am-6pm: Room 300, Dieterle Vocal Arts, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0003

Chicago, IL

Saturday November 7, 10am-6pm; Sunday November 8, 10am-1pm: Ganz Hall (Sat. 10am-4pm), Room 925 (Sat. 4pm-6pm), Room 730 (Sun 10am-1pm), Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605.

Muncie, IN

Saturday November 21, 10am-3pm: MU123, Hargreaves Music Building, Ball State University, Muncie, IN

New York
, NY

Friday November 20, 6-10pm; Saturday November 21, 10am-6pm; Sunday November 22, 10am-6pm; Monday November 23, 6pm-10pm; Room 984, The Steinhardt School, NYU Dept. of Music and Performing Arts, 35 West 4th St., New York, NY 10012

Houston, TX

Saturday November 14, 10am-6pm: Room 129, Moores School of Music, University of Houston, 120 School of Music Bldg., Houston, TX 77204-4017

Los Angeles

Saturday December 5, 10am-6pm: Schoenfeld Symphonic Hall, University of Southern California

Pianists Auditions

You will be contacted directly and offered an audition on the dates in the cities above, or at other times to be determined.

Stage Directors Interviews

You will be contacted directly and offered an interview on the dates in the cities above, or at other times to be determined.

Singers and Pianists Audition Repertoire

Each singer should bring 3 contrasting arias, one of which must be in English. Each candidate will begin with the aria of his/her choice. The next selection(s) will be chosen by the Opera Theater representative. An accompanist will be provided at each audition, although candidates are free to bring their own. All audition slots will be 8-10 minutes. Singers are encouraged to act out and perform as fully as possible all of their choices: please feel free to move about the room, not stay rooted to the piano, and convince us of your acting ability as much as of your singing ability and musicianship! 

Each pianist should bring 2 contrasting opera accompaniments and 1 solo repertoire piece. Pianists should be prepared to sight-read and also to sing out (loudly!) some vocal lines while playing.

Directors should bring any portfolios they have with photographs or DVDs of productions directed and be prepared to talk about the concepts underlying their design and production choices.


Comments from survey of 2015 YAPs: 

"I have never learned so much about this craft of performing opera so quickly. The theatrical and vocal principles and personal feedback are invaluable -- I am recording them in my journal and will return to them often. Sincerest thanks for taking so much time to coach me."
"I have learned much from the program and am excited to incorporate everything into future performances and auditions"
"I've really enjoyed my time at Opera Theater, especially singing at the donor parties, seeing the Carrie Blast Furnace, singing the anthem at the baseball game, and being a part of A New Kind of Fallout's premiere. I won't forget the thrill of breathing life into a new work for the first time!"
"I have learned so much from the performances and the rehearsal process, and I have aimed invaluable experience."
"SummerFest is such a gem for Pittsburgh an gives opportunities to so many singers
"This experience was invaluable.  I learned so much more about being a professional singer."
"First opportunity to develop 3 characters in 3 operas simultaneously, so this developed new skills in learning, rehearsal, staging, focus, etc!"
"Great opportunity to work with professionals and meet colleagues in the industry! Innovative work and opportunity to work with an experienced, talented director, with tremendous insight into the career path and techniques."
"The program provided ample opportunity for the YAPs to perform and work with the faculty.  The faculty was very knowledgeable, and I appreciate the amount of time I was given to work with them.  I felt like I improved a lot."
"All the masterclasses, coachings, and voice lessons were really great to have.  Keep them up!"
"Very positive. Excellent learning and performance experience.  Great connections."
"Better run than any company I have ever been a part of; wonderful communication via call board… love it!"
"I loved the opportunity I received here with Opera Theater.  The faculty and artists were a pleasure to work with."