Skip to main content

Young Artist Vocal Academy


Applications for the 2023 Young Artists Vocal Academy will be open from January 7th through February 23rd, 2023.

HGO’s Young Artists' Vocal Academy was established in 2011 to work specifically with singers at the undergraduate level. Our aim is to take the most talented young singers and help them on the path to artistry by introducing them to the breadth of information required for this career and the nature of excellent training. Singers will leave the week with a clearer understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and how to find the help they need. They will also have made contacts at HGO which will last their whole career.

The week-long course is held on-site at HGO, and all fees, room and board is covered by the opera company. As well as a variety of group classes in subjects such as characterization, how to prepare a score, diction and movement, participants will receive individual training in the form of daily voice lessons with HGO's Director of Vocal Instruction, Stephen King, daily coachings with members of HGO's music staff, and dramatic coachings.

The Young Artists Vocal Academy (YAVA) is generously underwritten by Mr. and Mrs. Robert N. Wakefield and the HGO Guild. Additional support for YAVA is provided by Mr. Patrick Carfizzi, and Dr. David and Mrs. Norine Gill. HGO thanks Magnolia Houston for generous support of the Butler Studio and YAVA programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applications can be found on YAP Tracker. Once the applications go live, you can also find the application link on our Studio Facebook page.

No, we only accept online applications through YAP Tracker. If there is a reason this is not possible for you, please contact us at

A complete application will consist of the online application form as well as two (2) online recommendations to be submitted by your current teacher and a music professional. You will also need to upload a resume, headshot of yourself in JPEG format, and links to two separate YouTube videos.

Applicants for the 2023 program must be born after June 1, 1998 and must be engaged in undergraduate study. Recent graduates who have not yet commenced their master’s degree may also be considered. All applicants should intend to pursue an operatic career.

No, we accept applicants of all nationalities and immigration status. If you are selected for the program and are required to obtain a visa to travel to the US, HGO will assist you with the visa application process.

Successful YAVA applicants tend to be in their junior or senior year of undergraduate school, but applications are open to all undergraduates and recent graduates who have not yet started their master’s degrees.

No, there is no fee to apply for YAVA.

Two references are required from music professionals who know you and your work well - one must be your current voice teacher plus one from one of the professional types listed below:

  • Pianist / Coach
  • Music Director / Conductor
  • Department Chair or Dean
  • Choral Director
  • Opera Stage Director / Opera Workshop Director
  • Past voice teacher

This is no longer possible through YAP Tracker's system. HGO only accepts the online recommendation form specific to this application.

That’s fine, just log back into YAP Tracker. In the recommendation section of your submitted application, click the option to remove a reference, then click again to add a different music professional. At that time you will be given the option to send an email to the new reference with instructions on how to submit.

Please visit the Help page on the YAP Tracker website or email

No - You can decide whether you choose a full subscriber account, or whether you simply wish to complete applications, which is free. For more information about the difference, please click here.

Two separate videos must be included in your online application. You should select works which contrast in style and language. Videos may be recorded specifically for this application or may be existing recordings, but they should be no more than six months old. 

We understand that making videos is challenging, especially with the current pandemic. You do not need to purchase recording equipment for these videos. Recording on a phone or computer is allowed. You may also use a pre-recorded track instead of a live pianist. Please follow all protocols your school has put in place when making your video; this includes wearing a mask if required. If you have any questions about making your recordings or need a recommendation for a pianist to make tracks, please reach out to Jamie at

The first week of YAVA will be May 14-21, 2023 (arriving on the 14th and departing on the 21st), and the second week will be May 21-28, 2023 (arriving on the 21st and departing on the 28th).

No, there are no live auditions. All decisions will be made based on your application and recommendations. Singers must demonstrate major operatic potential supported by musical and theatrical training. Applications are reviewed by HGO Studio staff and are considered confidential. No feedback will be offered to unsuccessful applicants.

There is no additional fee if you are accepted to attend the program.

All accommodation and meals are provided. Successful candidates are only responsible for the cost of their travel to Houston.

We will take up to eight participants per week for a total of sixteen each season.

You will receive an email from YAP Tracker confirming receipt of your application. This email confirms that your application has been entered into our database. You can also log in to YAP Tracker and click the My Online Applications link to view all submitted applications.

If you have submitted your application, a system-generated email from should have been sent to the email address you used to log in. Please check your junk mail or spam filter. If you find the email there, please ensure you white-list both and for future communication as audition notification emails will be sent from one of these addresses. You can also log in to YAP Tracker and click the My Online Applications link to view all submitted applications. If you still are not sure your application was finalized, please contact

You can log in to YAP Tracker and click the My Online Applications link to view all submitted applications. If you scroll to the recommendation section, you will be able to see whether the recommendation has been submitted or not. If you received the application confirmation email, your application will still be considered, even with no references. However, your chances of being granted a slot are naturally lower than if your application has been supported by good references from respected musicians. Please ensure you give them plenty of time and check the status of their recommendation before the deadline.

You must first request to change your video by emailing Changes to videos are only able to be made before the deadline.

That’s fine, just log back into YAP Tracker. In the recommendation section of your submitted application, click the option to remove a reference, then click again to add a different music professional. At that time you will be given the option to send an email to the new reference with instructions on how to submit.

Please email us at with your new available dates.

You will receive an email from either YAPTracker or Houston Grand Opera Studio by Friday, March 24, 2023 to tell you whether or not you have been accepted.

No - all applicants who have submitted an application and received the application confirmation message from YAP Tracker will receive an email by the notification deadline above. Please check your junk mail and spam filters, and if there’s still no email from us please email at You can also check the status of your application on YAP Tracker.

YAVA Alumni

2022 Participants:

Emily Damasco, soprano
Elizabeth Hanje, soprano
Clara Luz Iranzo, soprano
Gabrielle Turgeon, soprano
Yining Xie, soprano
Camille Robles, mezzo-soprano
Cameron Weger, mezzo-soprano
Colin Aikins, tenor
Matthew Goodheart, tenor
Demetrious Sampson, tenor
Anthony Josep, baritone
Jack Nadler, baritone
Sam Dhobhany, bass-baritone
Luke Oldroyd, bass-baritone
Parker Konkle, pianist/coach
Thibaut Trouche, pianist/coach

2021 Participants:

Lauren Carroll, soprano
Sydney Dardis, soprano
Claudia Díaz, soprano
Amia Langer, soprano
Evangeline Ng, soprano
Angela Sakimpa, soprano
Jazmine Saunders, soprano
Taylor See, soprano
Olivia Smith, soprano
Natalie Lewis, mezzo-soprano
Carlyle Quinn, mezzo-soprano
Benjamin P. Wenzelberg, countertenor
Antonio Domino, tenor
Angel Gomez, tenor
William Johnson, tenor
Michael McDermott, tenor
Cole Bellamy, bass-baritone
Mya King, coach/pianist
Meghan Rhoades, coach/pianist

2020 Participants:

Georgia Belmont, soprano
Magdalena Kuzma, soprano
Alexis Seminario, soprano
Anna Kelly, mezzo-soprano
Jeremiah Tyson, tenor

2019 Participants:

Yvette Keong, soprano
Mikala Laws, soprano
Milan McCray, soprano
Lindsey Reynolds, soprano
Margaret Ann Zentner, soprano
Shannon Keegan, mezzo-soprano
Jacqueline Kerns, mezzo-soprano
Madeleine Lyon, mezzo-soprano
Hannah Shea, mezzo-soprano
Taryn Surratt, mezzo-soprano
Emily Treigle, mezzo-soprano
Aaron Crouch, tenor
Darrius Morton, tenor
Hayden Smith, tenor
Titus Muzi, baritone
Connor Ouly, baritone

2018 Participants:

Whitney Campbell, soprano
Julianna Espinosa, soprano
Natalie Leonard, soprano
Julia Muzychenko, soprano
Jessica Niles, soprano
Elena Villalón, soprano
Vivian Wang, soprano
Rebekah Daly, mezzo-soprano
Virginia Reed, mezzo-soprano
Taryn Surratt, mezzo-soprano
Jonah Hoskins, tenor
Jose Simerilla Romero, tenor
Alexander Wunder, tenor
Blake Denson, baritone
Evan Lazdowski, bass-baritone
Deborah Robertson, pianist/coach

2017 Participants:

Julietta Aleksanyan, soprano
Monica Music, soprano
Kathleen O'Mara, soprano
Michelle Ravitsky, soprano
Olivia Rominiyi, soprano
Rachel Shaughnessy, soprano
Kady Evanyshyn, mezzo-soprano
Jamie Groote, mezzo-soprano
Sophia Hunt, mezzo-soprano
Siphokazi Moltena, mezzo-soprano
Aaron Crouch, tenor
Jacob Ingbar, baritone
Sam Kidd, baritone
Schyler Vargas, baritone
Q Langman, pianist/coach
Ruobing Zhang, pianist/coach

2016 Participants:

Hannah Colvin, soprano
Emilie Faiella, soprano
Emily Kern, soprano
Brea Marshall, soprano
Page Michels, soprano
Anna Montgomery, soprano
Gabriella Reyes, soprano
Christina Hazen, mezzo-soprano
Julie Moore, mezzo-soprano
Isabel Signoret, mezzo-soprano
Dylan Elza, tenor
Duke Kim, tenor
Angel Vargas, tenor
Zachary Futch, baritone
Nicholas Newton, baritone
Matthew Soibelman, bass

2015 Participants:

Dorothy Gal, soprano
Korynn Lacher, soprano
Anastasia Malliaras, soprano
Christine Oh, soprano
Lydia Pion, soprano
Onadek Winan, soprano
Kayleigh Decker, mezzo-soprano
Lindsay Lymer, mezzo-soprano
Laurie Ann Taylor, mezzo-soprano
Nicole Thomas, mezzo-soprano
Kameron Ghanavati, tenor
Seiyoung Kim, tenor
David Gleichman, baritone
Theo Hoffman, baritone
Stephen C. Saharic, baritone
Jake Landau, pianist/composer

2014 Participants:

Anna Bridgman, soprano
Annalise Dzwonczyk, soprano
Kaitlyn Johnson, soprano
Cara Gabrielson, soprano
Mane Galoyan, soprano
Samantha Hankey, mezzo-soprano
Gretchen Krupp, mezzo-soprano
Meagan Martin, mezzo-soprano
Anne Marie Stanley, mezzo-soprano
Eric Ferring, tenor
Evan Johnson, tenor
Alexander McKissick, tenor
Tigran Ohanyan, tenor
Michael Hewitt, baritone
Jarret Porter, baritone
Bongani Kubheka, bass-baritone

2013 Participants:

Nicolette Book, soprano
Rebecca Pedersen, soprano
Alexandra Razskazoff, soprano
Liv Redpath, soprano
Maria Valdes, soprano
Leah Hawkins, mezzo-soprano
Kaitlyn McMonigle, mezzo-soprano
Alyssa Narum, mezzo-soprano
Megan Samarin, mezzo-soprano
Alec Carlson, tenor
Kyle Gee, tenor
Ian Koziara, tenor
Makudupanyane Senaoana, tenor
Jack Swanson, tenor
Ben Edquist, baritone
Jacob Waid, baritone

2012 Participants:

Jacqueline Piccolino, soprano 
Samantha Hankey, mezzo-soprano
Johnathan McCullough, baritone 
Brandon Russell, tenor 
Richard Smagur, tenor 
Jamez McCorkle, baritone 
Brendan Stone, baritone 
Rhys Talbot, bass-baritone 

2011 Participants: 

Laura Grace Smolik, soprano
Allegra De Vita, mezzo-soprano
Clipper Hamrick, mezzo-soprano
Rafael Moras, tenor
Frederick Ballentine, baritone
Joseph Eletto, baritone
Rhemé Sloan, baritone
Nicholas Brownlee, bass-baritone 

Cookie Notice

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience on our site.

To find out more, view our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Back To Top Back to top