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Become a Studio Artist

HGO is proud to announce its partnership with companies nationwide to offer coordinated auditions for the Houston Grand Opera Studio’s 2021-22 season. Due to the pandemic, opera companies across the country are having to forego in-person auditions and, for the first-time, are collaborating to streamline a virtual audition process for their respective young artists programs. Learn more here.

A career in opera is not an easy path; success requires exemplary musical ability, a passion for continuous improvement, and a hunger to learn. As a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, access to all that a contemporary opera company can offer - to its artistic, creative and developmental resources - and importantly, the opportunity to put learning to work onstage - is made available to you during a two-to-three year residency with the company. The journey to a Studio fellowship usually includes participating in Concert of Arias as a finalist.

Important Dates

Singers

  • Saturday, August 15, 2020: Applications go live on YAP Tracker
  • Monday, October 12, 2020: Applications due
  • Friday, November 6, 2020: Singers notified for advancement to second round
  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020: Aria lists due
  • Friday, November 13, 2020: Second round aria selection notifications
  • Monday, November 30, 2020: Second round videos due
  • Friday, December 18, 2020: Singers are notified about advancement to the semifinals.
  • Saturday, January 30, 2021: Singers arrive for semifinals
  • Friday, February 5, 2021: Eleanor McCollum Competition finals

Pianists 

  • Apply to each program as you normally would. Applications are due Sunday, December 6, 2020.
  • Notification of auditions granted by Friday, December 18, 2020.
  • Live and/or online auditions – January 15 – February 15, 2021.
  • Notification of results by Monday, March 1, 2021

Information for Singers

General Information

All applicants are considered for both the Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers – Concert of Arias and for invitation to join the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

Note: If you will not be able to participate in the semifinals or final auditions, please mention this in the “additional information” section of the YAP Tracker application form. We still encourage you to apply for the preliminary auditions. Participating in the semifinal and final auditions is not a requirement for admission to the HGO Studio.

Completing the Online Application

1. Applications should be submitted online through YAP Tracker. Application availability and due dates are listed above.

If you need help getting started with the application or using YAP Tracker, please use the following link: https://www.yaptracker.com/more/help/getting-started/. If you need help with the website, please email their help desk directly at help@yaptracker.com . Please note that you can complete an online application without registering through YAP Tracker.

2. Audition Repertoire – Preliminary audition repertoire must show a variety of styles and be offered in at least three different languages, including English. Four selections should be opera arias and the fifth selection can be another aria, musical theater, or art song.

You are required to submit your chosen repertoire on your application, but you may amend your choices when we request your repertoire again for the second round video auditions. If you choose to amend your list, you will need to stick to the guidelines above.

Additional Requirements

1. References – Your application must be supported by at least three confidential online references: one from your current/most recent primary teacher and two from music professionals. Your references will not need to submit a recommendation letter or form, but may be contacted by HGO Studio staff. Please inform your references that they may be contacted by the HGO Studio.

References should come from your current/most recent primary teacher and two of the seven professional types listed below.

• Opera Stage Director/Opera Workshop Director
• Opera General Director
• Music Director/Conductor
• Artistic Administrator
• Department Chairman or Dean
• Pianist or Coach

2. There is a $5 fee to apply to the Eleanor McCollum Competition and HGO Studio this season.

3. Video Recording – Two video clips must be submitted as part of your application. Please ensure this is of the highest possible quality and shows your vocal quality at its best. The video should also be of as much of your full body as possible so we can clearly see your acting choices and no more than 12 months old. For tips on creating your videos, Opera America has two documents put together to help you with the process. They can be found at https://www.operaamerica.org/Files/RemoteAuditionsOA.pdf and https://www.operaamerica.org/Files/RecordingAuditionsAtHome.pdf .

What Happens Next

1. Selection criteria – Singers must demonstrate major operatic potential supported by musical and theatrical training. There is no age limit, and there are no restrictions regarding nationality. HGO Studio reserves the right, without explanation, to decline to hear singers for any reason. Applications are reviewed by HGO Studio staff and are considered confidential.

2. Audition Notification – Houston Grand Opera Studio will send emails through YAP Tracker to notify you whether or not you have been selected for a second round audition. If granted an audition, you will resubmit your repertoire list through a provided Google Form link. Only one list submission is necessary, regardless of how many companies advance you to the second round.

3. Audition Results – Applicants will be notified through a YAP Tracker email of the result of their audition by the semifinalist notification deadline above.

4. Semi-final and Final Auditions – Successful candidates in the second round will be invited to come to Houston to participate in further auditions. Semifinal and final auditions will take place in early February. Those not proceeding to the finals will return home; finalists will participate in additional auditions, coaching, and interviews culminating in a public performance at which cash prizes are awarded. Travel and accommodations for semifinalists and finalists will be provided by HGO.

Success in the competition does not guarantee an offer of a position in the HGO Studio, neither is it necessary to sing in the competition in order to be offered a place in the Studio.

Important Notes:

You can access your application at any time by logging in to the YAP Tracker website.

Do not mail applications, recordings or videotapes to HGO.

Notify us immediately at studio@houstongrandopera.org if your contact information or availability to audition changes.

Information for Pianists

General Information

All applicants are considered for the Houston Grand Opera Studio only. Pianists are not eligible for the Eleanor McCollum Competition.

Completing the Online Application

1. Applications should be submitted online. Application availability and due dates are not set. This information will be updated as soon as those have been confirmed.

2. Second Round Audition Repertoire 

• Candidates should prepare one selection from each of the following five lists.
• Candidates should be prepared to sing and play all operatic excerpts, to follow a conductor, to translate each extract without reference to notes, and to respond to musical direction.
• Auditions may also involve sight-reading and verbal interviews.

EXTRACT I
1. Bernstein: West Side Story – Act I “The Dance at the Gym”: Section 4b (Mambo)
2. Tchaikovsky: Polonaise from Eugene Onegin (beginning of Act III, #19)
3. A short solo piano piece of your choice of comparable difficulty to the above extracts

EXTRACT II (MOZART)
1. Le nozze di Figaro – Act II Finale from the entrance of Antonio (Scene X, Allegro molto) until the end of the act
2. Così fan tutte – Act I Finale from the entrance of Despina and Don Alfonso (Scene XVI, Allegro) until the end of the act
3. Don Giovanni – Act I Finale from Allegro 6/8 “Riposate, vezzose ragazze” until the end of the act
4. Die Zauberflöte – Act I Finale from Tamino’s aria “Wie stark ist nicht dein Zauberton” (m. 160) until the end of the act
5. Don Giovanni – Act II Sextet “Sola, sola in buio loco”

EXTRACT III (ROMANTIC)
1. Puccini: La bohème – Act I up until the entrance of Benoit OR Act IV up until the entrance of Musetta
2. Puccini: Tosca – Act I up until figure 40
3. Puccini: Madama Butterfly – Act I up until Figure 37
4. Verdi: Rigoletto – Act 2 Scena and aria “Povero Rigoletto...Cortigiani, vil razza dannata” AND Act 3 Quartet “Un dì, sebben rammentomi…Bella figlia dell’amore”. (Ricordi Scenes 9 and 12)
5. Bizet: Carmen – Act II, #15 quintet “Nous avons en tête une affaire” AND Act II, #20 trio “Mêlons! – Coupons!”

EXTRACT IV (20th CENTURY)
1. Ravel: L’enfant et les sortilèges – Fire’s aria (8 before Rehearsal 40 - Rehearsal 48; Durand 25/5/1 – 30/3/4) AND L’heure espagnole – Concepcion’s aria “Oh! La pitoyable aventure!” Scene XVII
2. Poulenc: Les mamelles de Tirésias “Non, Monsieur mon mari” (Act I Scene I from figure 20 - figure 34)
3. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier – “Wie du warst” from rehearsal 12 to four measures after rehearsal 25
4. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos – Zerbinetta’s recitative and aria, from 5 before #117 (“So war es mit Pagliazzo”) to #144
5. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos – Komponist’s aria from from “Sehr lebhaft” (rehearsal 108) until the end of the Prologue.
6. Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress – “No Word from Tom…I go, I go to him!”

EXTRACT V (MODERN)
1. A 5’-10’ operatic excerpt from a work written after 1940 in English.

Additional Requirements

1. References – Your application must be supported by at least three confidential recommendations; one from your current/most recent primary teacher and two from music professionals. As part of the application process, you will be given the opportunity to contact three references to ask them to complete a short online recommendation form through YAP Tracker. The deadline for references is the same as the deadline for your application. Please contact your references early in the process.

References should come from your current/most recent primary teacher and two of the seven professional types listed below. 
• Opera Stage Director / Opera Workshop Director
• Opera General Director
• Music Director/Conductor
• Artistic Administrator
• Department Chairman or Dean
• Coach

2. There is a $5 fee to audition to the HGO Studio this season.

3. Video Recording – Candidates must submit at least two different video clips of their playing, which may be a combination of solo pieces, clips of the candidate singing and playing an operatic excerpt, or of the candidate accompanying a singer in an aria or song of their choice (live or remote). Videos must be no more than 12 months old. Please ensure this is of the highest possible quality. or tips on creating your videos, Opera America has two documents put together to help you with the process. They can be found at https://www.operaamerica.org/Files/RemoteAuditionsOA.pdf and https://www.operaamerica.org/Files/RecordingAuditionsAtHome.pdf .

What Happens Next

1. Selection criteria – Pianists must demonstrate major potential supported by prior experience as a répétiteur. There is no age limit, and there are no restrictions regarding nationality. HGO Studio reserves the right, without explanation, to decline to hear pianists who, in the judges’ opinion, do not meet the criteria. Applications are reviewed by HGO Studio staff and are considered confidential. 

2. Audition Notification – Houston Grand Opera Studio will send emails through YAP Tracker to notify you whether or not you have been selected for a second round audition. If granted an audition, you will be contacted by HGO to arrange a mutually agreeable time and date in early January-February 2021.

3. Audition Results – Applicants will be through YAP Tracker if they are still in consideration for the Studio by date listed above. The judges' decision is final. Pianists will not be asked to participate in semifinal and final auditions and may be asked to join the HGO Studio based on preliminary auditions.

Important Notes:

You can access your application at any time by logging in to the YAP Tracker website.

Do not mail applications, recordings or videotapes to HGO.

Notify us immediately at studio@houstongrandopera.org if your contact information or availability to audition changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applications for the 2021 Eleanor McCullom Competition and the 2021-22 Studio for singers are only available for submission through YAP Tracker from August 15 to October 12, 2020. A YAP Tracker Application is available for pianists in from October 2 - December 6, 2020. Direct links to the applications will be posted on the Studio Facebook page once the applications are live and are searchable on the YAP Tracker website.

Notifications will be emailed through YAP Tracker on November 6th (singers) and December 18th (pianists). If you have not received an update notification, please double check your spam folder and/or log on to your YAP Tracker account to check your status.

No – all applicants who have submitted a form will be contacted by the above notification deadline, whether you have been moved on to the second round or not. If for some reason you don’t receive an email, please log on to your YAP Tracker account to check your status.

Singers:

You will select the first aria/song to be performed. The audition panels for each company you are audition for will select two additional pieces from your repertoire list. This will be done in a video format and must be done in one take, without stopping the camera.

Pianists:

Candidates should prepare one selection from each of the above five lists. You should be prepared to sing and play all operatic excerpts, to follow a conductor, to translate each extract without reference to notes, and to respond to musical direction. Auditions may also involve sight-reading and verbal interviews.

If you are advanced on to the second round, you will be given a link to a Google Form to submit your repertoire list. This should be your final list and cannot be changed once submitted.

You can view your repertoire by logging back into YAP Tracker.

Approximately twenty singers will be invited to Houston to take part in the semifinals beginning on Saturday, January 30, 2021. You will receive a notification from YAP Tracker by Friday, December 18, 2020 to let you know whether or not you made it through to the semifinals.

Pianists do not participate in the Eleanor McCollum Competition; you will receive an email from the Studio by March 1, 2021 if you are still being considered for a spot in the 2021-22 Studio.

We will email all singers and pianists by the above notification deadlines with information regarding whether or not you’re still under consideration. If you do not receive an email by this date, please log into your YAP Track account to check your status.

Successful applicants will be invited to Houston to arrive on Saturday, January 30, 2021. The semifinals take place on Sunday, February 1st and Monday, February 2nd. The finals start of Tuesday, February 3rd and culminate in a public competition on Friday, February 5th. Flights and hotel accommodations will be proved.

If you are not available for the full week, it is usually possible to come to audition for the Studio on another date, even though you cannot be considered for the competition prizes.

All semifinalists participate in two private auditions for the panel, one on Sunday and one on Monday. Those not proceeding to the finals return home on Tuesday. Finalists will start coaching on Tuesday, working towards private final auditions the day before the public competition.

The number of spaces in the Studio varies from season to season. We do not strive for a certain number of Studio artists, nor do we have to fill slots for certain voice types. Having said that, it is normal for us to offer between three and seven new positions each year.

If you are a candidate for the Studio, you will either be invited to the semifinals and finals, or, if you are not available for those dates, we will discuss alternative times when you might be able to come to Houston to sing to the full casting panel.

Unsuccessful preliminary auditions will not result in consideration for the HGO Studio. All semifinalists and finalists are considered for the Studio.

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