Opera Theater Pittsburgh      







A competition for young professional and pre-professional singers to win three monetary prizes, plus a solo role in an Opera Theater of Pittsburgh production and guaranteed places in the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh Summer Resident Artists Program. For a downloadable competition poster, click HERE.


1st Prize: $5,000, plus the option of $2,500 to sing an appropriate substantial role in an Opera Theater Summer Festival 2012 production, and a guaranteed place in the summer Resident Artists Program.

2nd Prize: $3,000, plus the option of $1,000 to sing an appropriate role in an Opera Theater Summer Festival 2012 production, and a guaranteed place in the summer Resident Artists Program.

3rd Prize: $1,000, plus the option of $1,000 to sing an appropriate role in an Opera Theater Summer Festival 2012 production, and a guaranteed place in the summer Resident Artists Program.

All winners are awarded a base cash prize (the first sum of money in the prizes listed above). In addition, winners are offered an optional contract to sing an appropriate solo role during Opera Theater's 2012 summer festival for an additional payment (the second sum of money on the prize list). Winners who choose to accept the contract also participate in Opera Theater's summer Resident Artists Program on a full scholarship.

For roles that are expected to be available, please see below.


  • Candidates: young professional and pre-professional singers.
  • Age eligibility: must be 30 years of age or younger as of October 28, 2011. Finalists will be required to submit proof of age to Opera Theater.
  • Nationality: no restrictions. Passports and visas for both entry to the US and for the legal right to accept prize monies and contracts are the sole responsibility of the applicants.

Repertoire Requirements

Candidates should prepare five numbers, which can be three contrasting arias in three different languages and two art songs, or all operatic arias. At least one of these must be sung in English. Audio recordings of three pieces must be submitted to Opera Theater as part of the application process. An accompanist will be provided at no charge, or contestants may bring their own accompanists.

Application deadline

The deadline to apply is October 7, 2011. All applications are on-line only.

Competition Dates, Place and Times

The competition will be held in Pittsburgh on October 28 and 29, 2011 at the Mellon Institute Auditiorium, Carnegie Mellon University, 4400 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (Entrance is via Bellefield Street, not Fifth Avenue).

20 semi-finalists will be chosen from the online applicants and invited to Pittsburgh for the semi-final and final competition rounds on October 28 and 29. Three winners will be chosen at an evening gala concert on October 29 which may be televised by WQED TV.

Semi-Finalists will be sent a package of information giving audition times, places, directions and other details. Applicants may request their first round to be heard on Friday 28 or Saturday 29, but Opera Theater cannot guarantee to accommodate all such requests. Opera Theater will endeavor to notify semi-finalists who do not make it through to the final round in a timely manner, and in all cases no later than 6:00pm on Saturday 29.

Each singer will be given a fifteen minute slot to sing two or three numbers, the first a number of their own choosing, the second may be of their own or the judges' choosing, a possible third may be requested by the judges.

  • Friday October 28
    • 5:30pm - Check-in for Friday candidates
    • 6:00 - 10:00pm - Semi-finals
  • Saturday October 29
    • 12:30pm - Check-in for Saturday candidates
    • 1:00 - 5:00pm - Semi-finals
    • 6:00pm - Finalists announced; non-finalists may leave if desired
    • 7:00 - 11:00pm - Finals (may be filmed by WQED TV) with audience, followed by reception

All contestants must agree, as a condition of their application, that their performance may be filmed and broadcast live or at a later date, in whole or in part, by WQED TV, Opera Theater, or their designated associates, and may be used subsequently for development, publicity and promotion purposes.

Housing and Transport

All candidates are responsible for their own transportation and accommodation. Opera Theater can make recommendations for accessible and affordable hotels.

Roles Available in addition to base prize monies

Prize winners may accept or decline, as an addition to their base prize monies, a contract for an appropriate role in one or more of the Opera Theater Summer Festival 2012 productions, and a place on full scholarship in the Resident Artists Program (RAP) from June 4 - July 8 2012, by mutual agreement with Artistic Director Jonathan Eaton.

Repertoire for the 2012 Opera Theater Summer Festival (all sung in English):

  • The Magic Flute - Mozart
  • Carmen - Bizet (new chamber version without chorus)
  • Candide - Bernstein
  • Late Night Quickies - several contemporary and world premiere miniature operas expected to include Naomi in the Living Room by Jonathan Bailey Holland and Review by Jeremy Beck
  • Cocktails and Cabaret - an additional series of opera and Broadway favorites for post-show cabarets under the stars

Please note: Magic Flute and Carmen will be pre-rehearsed before the Resident Artists Program (RAP) summer period of residency, and then revived for the festival. Anyone wishing to take a role in those productions must be available for the earlier pre-rehearsal period as well as the RAP period of residency. All other productions are rehearsed during the RAP period of residency only. Also, please note that anyone cast in a solo role in Carmen will be asked to remain in Pittsburgh one additional week after the festival, leaving on the evening of Sunday July 15, 2012.

Below are set out the roles which we plan to keep open for prize winners, and not cast prior to October 29, 2011.

Solo Roles which will be rehearsed prior to the summer festival and then revived during the RAP period of residence (those who are required to pre-rehearse will be given an additional honorarium):

  • The Magic Flute - pre-rehearsal period: Monday April 2 - Sunday April 29, 2012.
    • Roles: Queen of the Night, Pamina, Tamino, Three Ladies, Papagena, Three Spirits, Monostatos, 2 Priests (speaking and singing roles)
  • Carmen - pre-rehearsal period Monday January 30 - Sunday February 26, 2012.
    • Roles: Carmen, Escamillo and Don Jose (these may be double-cast to allow for a student matinee cast and an evening cast), also Frasquita, Mercedes, Dancairo, Remendado, Morales, Zuniga
Solo Roles which may only be rehearsed during the summer festival RAP period of residence from June 4 - July 8, 2012:
  • The Magic Flute
    • Roles: Papagena, Three Spirits, Monostatos, 2 Priests (speaking and singing roles), 2 Armed Men
  • Carmen
    • Roles: Zuniga, Morales, Pastia
  • Candide
    • All roles
  • Late Night Quickies
    • All roles
  • Cocktails and Cabaret
    • All will participate