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Juilliard Opera FAQ

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What is Juilliard Opera?
Juilliard Opera is an advanced opera training program at the graduate and postgraduate levels. It will be a select company of exceptionally gifted singers who are candidates for the Master of Music degree in Voice Performance (or Graduate Diploma) and Artist Diploma in Opera Studies. Juilliard Opera is interested in finding and developing singing actors who are intellectually curious, physically adept and emotionally fearless—superb vocalists, highly competent musicians, motivated artists ready to lead their profession.

The program features access to Juilliard's extraordinary faculty; acting and audition training; second-to-none diction and language coaching; three fully staged productions each year; a wide range of performing opportunities around Lincoln Center; and regular interaction with leading operatic artists, artist managers, career advisers and actors. Juilliard's deepening relationship with the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program will provide an opportunity unique among conservatory training programs.

What is the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies?
The Artist Diploma in Opera Studies will be a small, highly focused group of approximately eight advanced singers. The Artist Diploma classroom is centered around daily intensive acting training with Stephen Wadsworth in a rigorous, highly focused and individualized environment. The curriculum is based on the specific needs of each individual, creating an individualized study schedule for each singer. It is a unique training opportunity focusing on process and technique. Artist Diploma in Opera Studies candidates will generally already have both Bachelor's and Master's degrees, or the equivalent in experience.

What are the tuition and scholarship facts of Juilliard's Artist Diploma track?
The Artist Diploma in Opera Studies is a full scholarship program, and includes an annual stipend.

How will this affect the Master of Music track?
The Master's track remains a fully accredited Master's program with a complete vocal and academic curriculum. With the creation of Juilliard Opera, Master's students will have more opportunity to perform at a higher level. They will have access to Stephen Wadsworth; there will be fewer students in the program (18-20 instead of 22-24); they will now be eligible for casting in all three productions each year; and they will have increased exposure to leading conductors, directors, and master teachers.

What performance opportunities are there for members of Juilliard Opera? 
Singers in both programs are eligible for casting in two main-stage productions (each of which has three performances) and one black-box production each year. The two main-stage productions will continue to receive the highest attention and press coverage. In addition, concert and recital work is abundant in and around the School, including contemporary music projects and collaborations with Juilliard's new Historical Performance program. Beginning in the 2010-11 season Artist Diploma singers will also be eligible for casting in a fourth annual show—a main-stage production conducted by James Levine and featuring the Lindemann singers.

How will opera productions be cast?
All Juilliard Opera singers may audition and be considered for any production.

So the Master's students now have a better chance of casting than previously?
For several years they had one production a year with orchestra, in which only a few singers were cast in lead roles. Now Master's students will be eligible for three shows a year.

Do Artist Diploma singers have guaranteed casting in the main-stage shows?
Artist Diploma students will be part of the larger pool of Juilliard Opera, and will be cast according to repertoire and voice type. There will be no guarantee of casting; however, with three productions and fewer than 30 students to be cast, there is tremendous opportunity for a variety of levels of casting. 

What happened to the Juilliard Opera Center (J.O.C.)?
It is now part of Juilliard Opera—the former J.O.C. course of study will now be offered to Artist Diploma singers. 

Can you tell me more about the Juilliard Opera/Met connection?
Juilliard Opera and the Met's Lindemann program share two key people: Brian Zeger, who is artistic director of Juilliard's Department of Vocal Arts and now also executive director of the Lindemann program; and Stephen Wadsworth, who teaches and advises in both programs. Furthermore Ken Noda, Met coach and assistant to James Levine, will be working regularly with Juilliard Opera singers. One full production under the aegis of this new collaboration will take place each year in Juilliard's Peter Jay Sharp Theater, with James Levine conducting, the Juilliard Orchestra in the pit and Lindemann and selected Juilliard Opera singers on stage. All this ensures that Met personnel will always have ears and eyes on members of Juilliard Opera. Needless to say, this is a remarkable new feature of advanced opera study at Juilliard and unique among conservatories. Although the Lindemann program is a separate program, there is already increased interaction between it and Juilliard since the announcement of the J.O.C./Lindemann cooperation.

As a member of Juilliard Opera will I be guaranteed an audition for the Met’s Lindemann program?
No one is guaranteed a Lindemann audition. Prospective auditioners for the Lindemann program are selected and vetted separately by Lindemann staff before being selected for audition. 

Why would I choose the Artist Diploma course at Juilliard Opera instead of a Young Artist Program with an opera company?
Let's have some Juilliard Opera singers answer that one … (Click on the artist's name.)

Accordions

Jennifer Zetlan

Roster artist, Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera, 2007-08 and 2008-09
B.M. 2004, Mannes The New School for Music
M.M. 2006, The Juilliard School                   
Artist Diploma in Opera Studies 2009, The Juilliard School

“I came to J.O.C. after doing a young artist program (Florida Grand Opera, 2006-07). In my experience, J.O.C. provides more intensive training and experience than young artist programs connected to most opera companies. After my young artist experience I was grateful to have the myriad opportunities that J.O.C. provides, training-wise. The coaching staff of Juilliard, available to all Vocal Arts students, is unrivaled in its breadth of expertise. Having weekly voice lessons at this crucial time in vocal development is very important, and often missing from young artist programs. Perhaps most important is this: Stephen Wadsworth. Working with Stephen many intensive hours each week has been a life-changing experience for me that has opened doors of confidence in myself as a person and as a performer as well as bringing about some key vocal developments. I don’t know any program anywhere that has so much intensive time spent on acting, which in today's changing world of opera is increasingly important. How wonderful to spend two intensive years focused on the self and the voice in an intimate setting, which I feel has prepared me to leave Juilliard a fully equipped A-level artist.”

Renee Tatum

Adler Fellow, San Francisco Opera, 2009
B.M. 2004, California State University-Fullerton
M.M. 2006, Manhattan School of Music               
Professional Studies Certificate 2007, Manhattan School of Music
Artist Diploma in Opera Studies 2009, The Juilliard School

“I didn’t feel ready for a young artist program when I came to J.O.C. The J.O.C. program provides the intensive acting training and body awareness that is necessary for young singers at the beginning of their careers. I can't think of another program that reinforces all aspects of performance as well as J.O.C. does. I have received some of the best coaching at Juilliard (the wealth of coaches here is outstanding) and I’ve been provided the necessary tools to succeed in the "real world" with a major company. Singers joining young artist programs must be ready to help themselves if they run into singing, acting and career problems; thanks to my J.O.C. training, I feel prepared to deal with whatever challenges the professional world might offer—including saying no when necessary!”

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