OperaFest Sewanee

OperaFest Sewanee 2022

A program of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival

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.

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. During the festival, artists will work with our renowned faculty who each bring extensive historical knowledge of the career as well as are actively involved in forging the path of what an operatic career might look like post-COVID-19. 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 2022 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.

Fellow 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 Fellows will be on partial or full scholarship.

Program Director

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

Program Director & Master Teacher

OperaFest Faculty

Kathleen Kelly smiles at the camera over her left shoulder.
Kathleen Kelly

Conductor / Coach
Cincinnati Conservatory of Music

Joshua Conyers

Conductor / Coach

Patrick Hansen smiles at the camera.
Patrick Hansen

Conductor / Director
Opera McGill

Elena Kholodova smiles at the camera
Elena Kholodova

Conductor / Coach
Atlanta Opera
Cincinnati Opera Festival

Gina Lapinski leans to her left as she smiles at the camera.
Gina Lapinski

Stage Director / Drama Coach
Metropolitan Opera

Dugg McDonough smiles at the camera.
Dugg McDonough

Stage Director / Drama Coach
Louisiana State University

Elizabeth Koch

Language Coach
Opera McGill

OperaFest Guest Artists

Kelly Ann Bixby

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
The Crossing chamber choir

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

The application for the Summer 2022 OperaFest will open October 15, 2021.

Jan. 28th, 2022 ($35 app fee Oct. 15—Jan. 28)

  • Final deadline for Fellow Artist applications

Feb. 18th, 2022 ($35 app fee Oct. 15—Feb. 18)

  • Priority application Deadline
  • Scholarship available for all studios

March 25th, 2022 ($75 app fee Feb. 19—Mar. 25)

  • Final application deadline for Studio Artists
  • Scholarship available for some studios

After March 25th, 2022

  • Applications for Studio Artists after March 25th will be accepted on a case-by-case basis with limited scholarship availability.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition: $2,800
This includes all lessons, masterclasses, coachings, and seminars.

Room & Board: $1,950
This includes all meals, a double occupancy room, and use of campus facilities including Fowler Athletic Center and duPont Library.

Sing Room Fee: $350
Single rooms are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, please contact ssmfadmissions@sewanee.edu

Header photo by David Andrews