Master of Music in Opera Performance

Two-Year Program

Program Overview

Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s highly selective opera performance master’s program accepts a limited number of students and prepares them for vibrant opera careers through specialized performance and audition training, a broad range of opportunities to perform publicly and refine musicianship, and focused studies in career building and entrepreneurship.

Performance opportunities are plentiful at the Conservatory. In addition to enrolling in the Conservatory’s top performing ensemble, Opera Studio, opera graduate students are cast in fully staged operas, concert operas, operas for young audiences, and opera scenes. Students can also participate in choral ensembles, contemporary music ensembles, chamber music recitals, and many more.

Off campus, opera graduate students are encouraged to involve themselves in Greater Boston’s various opera and oratorio music organizations, including Boston Opera Collaborative, Boston Midsummer Opera, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Metrowest Opera, Opera on Tap Boston, Emmanuel Music, The Bach Institute, and various church soloist and choir opportunities, to name a few.  Additionally, students have the opportunity to visit and be inspired by Boston’s variety of cultural and arts organizations, including Boston Baroque, Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Huntington Theatre Company, and the American Repertory Theatre.

Throughout the program, students work closely with esteemed faculty members in private lessons to hone their artistic skills and build on their vocal technique in order to prepare for professional and semi-professional auditions and engagements. Students are therefore expected to expand their list of audition and performance repertoire, compile professional materials, and begin to clearly articulate their performance goals and aspirations. Meanwhile, students have regular exposure to high-profile artists performing with the nearby Boston Lyric Opera or Boston Symphony Orchestra. These guest artists give master classes to Conservatory students that offer supplemental artistic guidance and career advice.

Recent master class teachers include:

  • Susan Ashbaker
  • Ken Benson
  • Wolfgang Brendl
  • Christine Brewer
  • William Burden
  • David Daniels
  • Cori Ellison
  • Andrew Garland
  • Michael Heaston
  • Rachelle Jonck
  • Sandra Piques Eddy
  • Jennifer Rivera
  • Dawn Upshaw

What It Takes to Succeed

Individuals who thrive in the opera performance graduate program are driven by their desire to pursue a career in opera and voice performance. They are committed to becoming masters of their performance styles and vocal techniques, as well as experienced singers in a vast range of operatic languages and genres, from Handel and Mozart to Heggie.

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Opera at the Conservatory

Opera productions at the Conservatory cover a variety of languages and styles. Each year, the school produces two fully staged opera productions and one semi-staged concert opera in the Boston Conservatory Theater. All productions are presented with orchestral accompaniment in their original language and are double cast as a way of providing  more students the opportunity to perform.

Additionally, we present special performances by our opera and voice performance students with local partners, such as The Museum of Fine Arts, The Boston Children’s Museum, and The French Cultural Institute.

Recent productions include:

  • Alcina by Handel
  • Dark Sisters by Nico Muhly
  • Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor by Otto Nicolai
  • Die Zauberflöte by W.A. Mozart
  • Don Giovanni by W.A. Mozart
  • Flight by Jonathan Dove
  • Iphigénie en Tauride by C.W. von Gluck
  • L’enfant et les sortilèges by Maurice Ravel
  • L’heure espagnole by Maurice Ravel
  • L’Italiana in Algeri by Gioachino Rossini
  • La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini
  • La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
  • La voix humaine by Francis Poulenc
  • Le Nozze di Figaro by W.A. Mozart
  • Riders to the Sea by Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • The Cunning Little Vixen by Leoš Janáček
  • The Rake’s Progress by Igor Stravinsky
  • The Rape of Lucretia by Benjamin Britten
  • Transformations by Conrad Susa

Core Curriculum

The Conservatory offers a rigorous approach to opera training and recognizes the singer as a musician, actor, and entrepreneur. Therefore, the opera performance curriculum includes classes that enhance traditional vocal and performance training, including Acting for Singers, Movement for Singers, Business of the Opera Business, Recitative, and many others. Additionally, the curriculum offers elective credits which can be used for private vocal coaching or language courses.

In their first year, students expand their vocal techniques and audition packages, while continuing to build their knowledge of operatic and vocal repertoire, foreign language diction, and acting techniques. They perform in opera productions and studio recitals, attend weekly opera studio classes, and receive weekly private voice lessons. Meanwhile, students are encouraged to take advantage of on- and off-campus performance and collaborative opportunities to build their performance resumés and professional networks.

In the second year of the program, students continue their acting and opera studies in courses such as Characterization and Aria Classes to name a few. Additionally, students will continue to build their performance resumés in the Conservatory’s fully staged and concert opera productions on the main stage, and opera scenes programs.

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Your Future

Graduates of our voice and opera programs have fruitful careers, performing, teaching, and practicing their art in concert, recital, and with opera companies and young artist programs throughout the world.

Opera Companies

  • Bayerische Staatsoper
  • Boston Lyric Opera
  • Chicago Lyric Opera
  • Israeli Opera
  • Los Angeles Opera
  • The Metropolitan Opera
  • Pittsburgh Opera
  • San Francisco Opera
  • Staatstheater Darmstadt    

Young Artist Programs

  • Arizona Opera
  • Aspen Opera Center
  • Berlin Staatsoper
  • Brevard Opera
  • Caramoor Opera
  • Central City Opera
  • Chautauqua Opera
  • Connecticut Lyric Opera
  • Dayton Opera
  • Des Moines Metro Opera
  • Fort Worth Opera Studio
  • Glimmerglass Opera
  • Kansas City Lyric Opera
  • Knoxville Opera
  • Los Angeles Opera
  • Nashville Opera
  • Opera Company of Middlebury, VT
  • Opera in the Ozarks
  • Opera Memphis
  • Pittsburgh Opera
  • Portland Opera
  • Santa Fe Opera
  • Sarasota Opera
  • Seagle Music Colony
  • Tulsa Opera
  • Virginia Opera

How to apply