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Become a Studio Artist

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.

The HGO Studio application will be available August 11 - September 12, 2021. The link to apply will be posted on our Facebook page and through YAP Tracker.

We will be holding our annual live audition tour in New York City, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Houston. In addition, we will be working together with other young artist programs on a coordinated virtual audition process as an option in lieu of a live audition. Steps are outlined below to guide your understanding of this shared video audition process, followed by information about our live audition process.

 

VIDEO AUDITIONS

Step 1: Apply to each program as you normally would. Applications are due Sunday, September 12.

Step 2: Notifications of video auditions will be sent by each company by Friday, October 8. This notification will contain a link to submit a new aria list.

Step 3: Submit your aria list (one list for all programs), indicating your chosen “starter” aria, by Tuesday, October 12.

Step 4: Notification of requested arias from your list (one request for all programs) will be uploaded to your YAP Tracker application on Wednesday, October 20.

Step 5: Record a new video audition and submit the video to each company via YAP Tracker by Friday, November 5.

 

Important Dates:

    • Video Auditions Timeline
      • Wednesday, August 11, 2021: Applications go live on YAP Tracker
      • Sunday, September 12, 2021: Applications due
      • Friday, October 8, 2021: Singers notified for advancement to video auditions
      • Tuesday, October 12, 2021: Aria lists due
      • Wednesday, October 20, 2021: Video audition aria selection notifications
      • Friday, November 5, 2021: Videos auditions due
      • Friday, December 17, 2021: Singers are notified about advancement to the semifinals.
      • Saturday, January 15, 2022: Singers arrive for semifinals
      • Friday, January 21, 2022: Eleanor McCollum Competition finals

 

Completing the Online Application through YAP Tracker 

    1. Applications should be submitted online through YAP Tracker. Application availability and due dates are listed above.
    2. 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.
    3. Audition Repertoire – 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 if you move on to the 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 no fee to apply to the Eleanor McCollum Competition and HGO Studio this season.

3. Video Recordings – 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.

 

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. Video Audition Notification – Houston Grand Opera Studio will send emails through YAP Tracker to notify you whether or not you have been selected for an audition. If granted an audition, you will resubmit your repertoire list through a provided Google Form link. Please note that you will only need to submit one Google Form, regardless of how many auditions you are granted.
    3. Repertoire Selection – You will be notified through YAP Tracker with the selection the panel has chosen for you to sing. You will need to video record a single take of the two arias and submit it through YAP Tracker
    4. Audition Results – Applicants will be notified through a YAP Tracker email of the result of their audition by the semifinalist notification deadline above.
    5. Semifinal and Final Auditions – Successful candidates will be invited to come to Houston to participate in further auditions. Semifinal and final auditions will take place in January. 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 provide 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.

 

LIVE AUDITIONS (HGO only)

Step 1: Apply to HGO as you normally would. Applications are due Sunday, September 12.

Please note that to have a live audition, you must be fully vaccinated (with proof) by your audition date. Anyone who is unable to comply, should chose the video audition option.

Step 2: Notifications of live auditions for HGO will be sent by Friday, October 15.

Step 3: Attend your live audition and present the audition monitor with your proof of vaccination. If you are not fully vaccinated by the time of your audition, you should choose the video audition option on your application.

 

Important Dates:

    • Live Auditions Timeline
      • Wednesday, August 11, 2021: Applications go live on YAP Tracker
      • Sunday, September 12, 2021: Applications due
      • Friday, October 15, 2021: Singers notified for advancement to live auditions
      • November 17, 2021: Philadelphia live auditions
      • November 18-21, 2021: New York City live auditions
      • November 22-23, 2021: Cincinnati live auditions
      • November 29 and December 1, 2021: Houston auditions …
      • Friday, December 17, 2021: Singers are notified about advancement to the semifinals.
      • Saturday, January 15, 2022: Singers arrive for semifinals
      • Friday, January 21, 2022: Eleanor McCollum Competition finals

 

Completing the Online Application through YAP Tracker

    1. Applications should be submitted online through YAP Tracker. Application availability and due dates are listed above.
    2. 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.
    3. Audition Repertoire – 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 if you move on to the live auditions. If you choose to amend your list, you will need to stick to the guidelines above.

 

Additional Requirements

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.

1. 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 no fee to apply to the Eleanor McCollum Competition and HGO Studio this season.

3. Video Recordings – 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.

 

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 an audition. If granted an audition, you will need to select an audition time in YAP Tracker. Times are first come, first served.
    3. Live Audition – You will need to present proof of vaccination to the audition monitor before your audition. The panel will have your rep list and resume in their files. If you have an updated rep list, please verbally announce your changes before you begin.
    4. Audition Results – Applicants will be notified through a YAP Tracker email of the result of their audition by the semifinalist notification deadline above.
    5. Semifinal and Final Auditions – Successful candidates will be invited to come to Houston to participate in further auditions. Semifinal and final auditions will take place in January. 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 provide 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.

HGO has issued a COVID vaccination requirement for all staff and artists.

Important Dates

Singers

      • Video Auditions Timeline
        • Wednesday, August 11, 2021: Applications go live on YAP Tracker
        • Sunday, September 12, 2021: Applications due
        • Friday, October 8, 2021: Singers notified for advancement to video auditions
        • Monday, October 12, 2021: Aria lists due
        • Wednesday, October 20, 2021: Video audition aria selection notifications
        • Friday, November 5, 2021: Videos auditions due
        • Friday, December 17, 2021: Singers are notified about advancement to the semifinals.
        • Saturday, January 15, 2022: Singers arrive for semifinals
        • Friday, January 21, 2022: Eleanor McCollum Competition finals

 

      • Live Auditions Timeline
        • Wednesday, August 11, 2021: Applications go live on YAP Tracker
        • Sunday, September 12, 2021: Applications due
        • Friday, October 15, 2021: Singers notified for advancement to live auditions
        • November 17, 2021: Philadelphia live auditions
        • November 18-21, 2021: New York City live auditions
        • November 22-23, 2021: Cincinnati live auditions
        • November 29 and December 1, 2021: Houston auditions …
        • Friday, December 17, 2021: Singers are notified about advancement to the semifinals.
        • Saturday, January 15, 2022: Singers arrive for semifinals
        • Friday, January 21, 2022: Eleanor McCollum Competition finals

 

Pianists 

    • Sunday, October 10, 2021: Applications are due
    • Friday, October 15, 2021: Pianists are notified of advancement to the live audition round
    • November 21, 2021: Live auditions in New York City 
    • November 22, 2021: Live auditions in Cincinnati
    • November – December 2021: Live auditions in Houston, by appointment
    • Monday, February 28, 2022: Notification of results

Information for Pianists

General Information

HGO will be holding auditions for the 2022-23 season. Please reference the HGO Studio Facebook page and YAP Tracker for the most up to date information on these auditions.

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

We are working together with other young artist programs on a coordinated repertoire list for this year's auditions. Steps are outlined below to guide your understanding of the audition process. 

Step 1: Apply to each program as you normally would. Applications are due Sunday, October 10, 2021.

Step 2: Notification of auditions granted by Friday, October 15, 2021.

Step 3: Live auditions – November 21, 2021 (New York City); November 22, 2021 (Cincinnati); November – December 2021, by appointment (Houston)

Please note that to have a live audition, you must be fully vaccinated (with proof) by your audition date. 

Step 4: Notification of results by Monday, February 28, 2022

 

Live Audition Round

*Candidates should prepare one selection from each of the following five lists.

*Please note that in extract I and extract IV, some options that may appear in the application for other companies are omitted.

*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. Prepare one short solo piano piece of your choice of comparable difficulty to the below 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

5. Quartet “Un dì, sebben rammentomi…Bella figlia dell’amore”. (Ricordi Scenes 9 and 12)

6. Bizet: Carmen – Act II, #15 quintet “Nous avons en tête une affaire” AND Act II, #20 trio “Mêlons! – Coupons!”

 

EXTRACT IV (20th CENTURY)

1. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier – “Wie du warst” from rehearsal 12 to four measures after rehearsal 25

2. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos – Zerbinetta’s recitative and aria, from 5 before #117 (“So war es mit Pagliazzo”) to #144

3. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos – Komponist’s aria from from “Sehr lebhaft” (rehearsal 108) until the end of the Prologue.

4. Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress – “No Word from Tom…I go, I go to him!”

 

EXTRACT V (MODERN)

(This extract may not be required or treated as optional for some companies.)

  1. A 5’-10’ operatic excerpt from a work written after 1940 in English.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applications for the 2022 Eleanor McCollum Competition and the 2022-23 Studio for singers are only available for submission through YAP Tracker from August 11 to September 12, 2021. 

Applications for the 2022-23 Studio pianist/coaches are available for submission through YAP Tracker from September 15 to October 10, 2021.

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 according to the dates in each processes timeline (above). 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:

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

Live Audition: You will select the first aria/song to be performed. Where time permits, the panel will then ask for some or all of a second or third piece from your repertoire list.

 

Video Audition: If you are advanced on to the audition 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.

Live Audition: If you are advanced to the audition round, the panel will have a copy of the repertoire list you gave on your YAP Tracker application. If something has changed, please give the changes verbally to the panel.

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 15, 2022. You will receive a notification from YAP Tracker by Friday, December 17, 2021 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 according to the timeline posted above.

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 15, 2022. The semifinals take place on Sunday, January 16th and Monday, January 17th. The finals start of Tuesday, January 18th and culminate in a public competition on Friday, January 21st. 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 four and six new singer positions and 1-2 pianist 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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