A program of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival
June 17—July 16, 2023

OperaFest Sewanee is an artist incubator program that brings together emerging artists and leading experts in opera from around the world. Situated atop the Cumberland Plateau, our festival provides a beautiful environment for artists to escape, create, and grow, while only being a short drive from major cities.

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Directed by Laura Brooks Rice, the 4-week OperaFest offers private coaching, masterclasses, various performance opportunities, and workshops exploring professional learning. Our programs focus on our three artistic pillars: creation, collaboration, and mentorship. Each session provides training on operatic style, diction and language, dramatic presentation, performance technique, and professional skills training portfolio artists. All participants will have the opportunity to perform in public concerts, including aria and opera excerpt evenings with piano and instrumental students.

Our encouraging, creative environment aims to give each participant the support and tools they need to continue developing and thrive. OperaFest participants will have a range of performance and coaching opportunities, including weekly public master classes, aria showcases, a scenes program, and collaborative performances with SSMF student composers. Chamber music, a cornerstone of the SSMF experience for 65 years, will be an integral part of the OperaFest experience.

The 2023 Sewanee OperaFest offers two opportunities for our applicants: they can participate as either Studio Artists or Fellow Artists. Read more about what those terms mean below.

Studio Artists are singers with significant potential who are predominantly undergraduate voice majors and graduate voice students. OperaFest provides these artists with skill-enhancing and career development opportunities such as repertoire coaching and performances of operatic arias, art song, chamber music, and opera scenes. Additionally, Studio Artists participate in classes on language/diction, acting, and professional development. Generous scholarships are available for this program.

Emerging Artists are advanced artists who are predominantly early in their career, current graduate students, or exceptional young artists pursuing professional training opportunities. OperaFest provides Fellow Artists with hands-on career development experiences, including coaching and performing of aria packages, opera scenes, and chamber music, as well as aria performances with orchestra and professional industry auditions. Fellow Artists will receive additional training in audition techniques and classes in language/diction, acting, and professional development classes. Up to five Emerging Artists will be chosen for the Fellowship program and will be on partial or full scholarship.

Program Director

Laura Brooks Rice smiles looking up at the camera
Laura Brooks Rice

For more information about the OperaFest faculty, please visit our faculty page.

Who is the program for?

The program is most suitable for college seniors, post-grad singers, and young professionals.

Application Information

Required Materials
Headshot, resume, completed online application, 2 video recordings

Audition Requirements
Two video recordings—contrasting arias

Application Fees & Deadlines

September 9, 2022
OperaFest Application Opens!
$40.00 application fee

January 27th, 2023
OperaFest Application Deadline

Tuition & Fees

Tuition: $3,175
This includes all lessons, masterclasses, coachings, and seminars.

Room & Board: $2,050
This includes all meals, a double occupancy room, and use of campus facilities including Fowler Athletic Center and duPont Library.

Refunds will not be granted, for any reason, if the inquiry is communicated to our office past May 21, 2023.

For more information, please contact ssmfadmissions@sewanee.edu

Header photo by David Andrews