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Best Opera Schools In The World

Last Updated on November 14, 2022 by Fola Shade

Are you interested in becoming a professional opera singer, but have no idea how to get there? Why don’t you just go to an opera school? Every aspiring opera singer should look into their options for studying abroad.

There are many great schools where you can study opera. If you want to learn how to sing opera, there are some key factors you should consider when choosing a school.

You’ll want to choose a college that is focused on teaching voice, not just general music studies. A good school will offer classes in singing technique, as well as performance opportunities.

Also, if you’re going to be studying abroad, make sure that the school has a good track record with international students. The best way to do this is by asking around and listening to what current students say about their experience at the school.

Best Opera Schools In The World

5. Yale School of Music – New Haven, CT

Notable FacultyDoris Yarick-Cross, Richard Cross, Timothy Shaindlin

World-renowned vocal coach and director Timothy Shaindlin, celebrated Yale legend Doris Yarick-Cross, and internationally recognized bass-baritone Richard Cross lead one of the most competitive and intensive graduate programs for vocal performance in the entire nation. The quality of the Yale Opera is on par with that of any major opera company: they are one of New Haven’s most favorite and famous music ensembles. Students of the program put on, every semester, a large scale opera production at the Shubert Theater. Alumni of the program consistently work with top ensembles such as the Metropolitan Opera, win major prizes including the Marcello Giordani Vocal Competition, and professorships at top universities throughout the world.

4. New England Conservatory – Boston, MA

Notable Faculty MembersStephen Lord, Luretta Bybee, Karen Holvik

A historic department that has produced some of the finest vocalists performing on the international concert scene today – including alumni Denyce Graves and IMG artist Jill Grove – the New England Conservatory is home to one of the most impressive and talented departments for vocal performance in the nation. Students regularly work with Stephen Lord, whose name is consistently ranked amongst the most important of opera conductors and directors, as well as the acclaimed vocalists Luretta Bybee and Karen Holvik. If interested in seriously performing vocal studies and operatic performance, consider application to the New England Conservatory.

3. Academy of Vocal Arts – Philadelphia, PA

Notable Faculty: Bill Schuman, William Stone, Danielle Orlando

A music academy offering the degree of artist diploma exclusively to a very select and small group of “resident artist” vocalists, Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts has sent over thirty of its alumni into the Metropolitan Opera Company since the 1980s. Indeed, the instruction at AVA are among the finest in the world. All accepted vocalists are offered tuition-free training and are given real-world experience in five well-attended, fully staged opera performances per year, second only to the number of opera productions that Indiana University puts on per year.

A rare school that currently has only 28 students, the Academy of Vocal Arts consistently produces many of today’s most accomplished opera singers. Acceptance to this college is only on the graduate level, with most students having completed undergraduate degrees from the most renowned music colleges in the country, including the likes of Curtis, Indiana, New England, and others.

2. University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music – Cincinnati, OH

Notable FacultyKenneth Shaw, William McGraw, Karen Lykes, David Adams

Like Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music hosts several impressive large-scale operas and performances per year, giving ample stage performance experience to scores of the most talented young vocalists today. Additionally, weekly private lessons, recitals, and academic opera workshops form the foundation of study under the brilliant tutelage of accomplished artist-faculty members.

Students of the program’s chair, David Adams, have won prizes in competitions and auditions sponsored by the Houston Grand Opera as well as the Metropolitan Opera, among others. Musicians Kenneth Shaw, William McGraw, and Karen Lykes, along with the faculty of CCM, lead an impressive and accomplished department of young singers who are well-trained for the rigorous competitive standards in the world of vocal music today.

1. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music – Bloomington, IN

Notable FacultySylvia McNair, Timothy Noble, Mary Ann Hart

There may be only one or two other schools in the country that are able to gather the resources to put together not one, two, or three opera productions per year, but rather, six. Students are allowed an unprecedented and unparalleled opportunity to perform full scale operas to well-attended patronage under the direction of Grammy-winning faculty members as well as musicians who have performed lead roles in the Metropolitan and Chicago Lyric Operas. In addition to being one of the best schools in the country for opera performance, the campus offers an unmatched eleven choral ensembles for students to perform works of past masters as well as those of new, exciting, and emerging young composers. A first choice school for any vocal major, IU Jacobs School of Music has an incredible wealth of resource dedicated to their fine vocal department.

Best Opera Schools In Germany


Dresden’s legendary Semper Opera House has not had an easy life: it was burnt down in 1869, destroyed by bombers in 1945 and badly damaged by floods in 2002. The building, with its rich renaissance stucco, was designed originally by Gottfried Semper. It took 40 years for the opera house to reopen after World War II. Outside of Berlin (and in many minds, including Berlin) the Semperoper is the place for star-studded opera in the eastern part of Germany.

Oper Köln

Mired in a never-ending renovation nightmare that will soon put the Elbphilharmonie and Berlin Airport projects to shame, Oper Köln has had to get creative, venue-wise. Their second temporary home, in the repurposed Staatshaus across the river in Deutz, is not ideal, but the company is going to great lengths to use the limits of the venues to create interesting and modern productions. Tickets are reasonably priced, and as with all houses in Germany, standing tickets and returns are cheaper still.

Oper Frankfurt

Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, a visit to the Oper Frankfurt will be a highlight of your visit. A painting by Marc Chagall hangs in the foyer, and many of Europe’s leading singers sing here. In addition to opera and ballet, Frankfurt Oper offers a recital series giving an increasingly rare opportunity to hear singers alone on stage with just a piano. It’s the musical equivalent of a tightrope walk over Niagara Falls.

Aalto Theatre, Essen

Easily the best opera house in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, the Aalto Theatre Essen is about an hour’s train ride from Cologne. With a signature indigo carpet and modern, asymmetrical design, the Aalto Theatre produces nearly 20 operas from late September to June, often in modern productions, and a strong young singers’ program means a first glimpse of the stars of tomorrow.

Bayreuth Festspielhaus

The Richard Wagner Festival Theatre in Bayreuth is one of Germany’s most famous opera houses and was built by one of its most famous (or infamous) composers as a shrine to himself, or at least to his particular vision of how his work should be performed. Having rich friends is a wonderful thing, and in 1876, his theatre opened on top of Green Hill in an architectural style that combines classical Greek and medieval German styles. Tickets are enormously difficult to come by and ruinously expensive. Seats are desperately uncomfortable and performances are between three and seven hours long. Still, if there’s a ticket to be had, attending a performance here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be turned down.

Margraval Operhaus, Bayreuth

Still in possession of is original wood and canvas, the sumptuous Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth is the only place left in the world where opera-goers can hear shows as they would have sounded in the 18th century. The Margrave was responsible for bringing Wagner to Bayreuth, for better or worse. The opera house is currently being renovated, but visitors can still see parts of this UNESCO World Heritage Site while work is going on.

Festspielhaus Baden-Baden

Built in what was once Baden-Baden’s neo-renaissance train station, the Baden-Baden Festival Theatre, Germany’s largest, is the home of grand opera from a bygone age. The town was for hundreds of years the place where the super-rich went to take the waters, eat sinful amounts of food and roll on out to the opera. The crème de la crème of performers come here to continue the tradition in a series of holiday festivals. Despite the glamour, it is possible to get a decent ticket for €22.