Frequently Asked Questions

Check out the frequently asked questions to find more information on our application, scheduling, and audition processes, as well as other general information regarding the Young Artist program.

Applications for the 2020 Young Artist Program are now closed.

If you have questions about Chautauqua Opera's Young Artist program that are not addressed below, please email us at


2020 Season information:

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Performances: July 10, 13 & 30 in Norton Hall
Sung in Italian
Director: Sarah Ina Meyers
The roles of Angelotti and Spoletta, plus all comprimario roles and chorus will be cast with Young Artists. Young Artists will also be assigned to cover all roles.

Music by Kamala Sankaram, Libretto by Susan Yankowitz
Performances: July 3, 5 & 31 in Norton Hall
Sung in English
Director: Omer Ben Seadia
Thumbprint is a contemporary chamber opera inspired by the experiences of Muhktar Mai, a real-life warrior for women's rights in Pakistan. All roles will be cast and covered with Young Artists. It is Chautauqua Opera's priority to cast this work as the creators intended, with an ethnically diverse cast featuring singers of South Asian descent. Learn more about the piece at and reference a list of roles.


The Mother of Us All
Music by Virgil Thomson, Libretto by Gertrude Stein
Performance: August 1 in the Chautauqua Amphitheater
Director: Keturah Stickann
All roles, except Susan B. Anthony, Jo the Loiterer, and Daniel Webster will be cast with Young Artists. Young Artists will also be assigned to cover all roles.


Application Process

Q: How do I apply for the Young Artist Program?
A: Simply fill out the application on YAP Tracker and attach all of the required materials.

Please note: Applying for the Young Artist Program does not guarantee that an audition will be granted.

Q: What is the deadline to apply?
A: The deadline is September 10, 2019. We encourage all applicants to submit applications as early as possible. 

Q: What materials am I required to submit?
A: Along with the online application, yaptracker will prompt you to upload the following: an up-to-date resumé and headshot, digital audio recordings of 2 arias – 1 in English and 1 in another language, and a $35 non-refundable processing fee.

You must also include a copy of documents proving your age (passport, driver's license, or goverment-issued ID with birth-date) and right to work/study in the U.S. (passport or visa). Please note: the Chautauqua Opera Company can NOT provide a visa for non-US citizens. You must already have or be able to procure a work or student visa before your contract begins in June 2020, valid through the program's duration, in order to be considered for this program.

Q: Am I required to include letters of reference with my application packet?
A: No, we only require the name and contact information of your current voice teacher.

Q: If I don't have an original language English aria recorded, is it acceptable to send a musical theater or English artsong selection?
A: This is done on a case by case basis. It is always better to send an original language English aria (opera or oratorio), but if not, an aria translated into English would be preferable to either musical theater or artsong.

Q: If I am unavailable for your live audition dates, is it possible to submit an audition via DVD?
A: Generally speaking, we require all auditions to be live. Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis.

Scheduling Process

Q: When will I be notified if I have received an audition?
A: We try our best to notify all auditionees approximately 3 weeks before their preferred audition block. However, it can be a lengthy process, as we receive hundreds of applications each year and they are individually sorted and screened. 

Q: If I am not granted an audition, when will I be notified?
A: We do notify ALL applicants, even if you are not granted an audition. Typically, you will be notified about three weeks before the start of the latest audition block you marked as available.  If we do not have enough space to hear an applicant in one location, the applicant may still be considered for auditions in later audition blocks/locations the applicant marked as available.

This season, those not granted an audition for our 2020 Young Artist Program will have the chance to request feedback from our listening panel.  

Q: What should I do if I haven't heard either way by two weeks before my preferred audition block?
A: Please check your spam/junk email folders, as messages sent through Yap Tracker often get flagged, then email us at

Q: What if my availability has changed and I have not yet heard about my audition status?
A: If you are no longer available to audition in one of the locations you marked on your application, please send us an email at with your update. 

Q: Does CHQ allow audition "swaps"?
A: Yes, if you need to swap your audition time or date, please email and we will do our best to accommodate as the schedule allows. Please note, changing from one audition location to another or one audition block to another may not be possible. Changes of this nature will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by emailing the address above.

Audition Process

Q: What dates does CHQ hold auditions?
A: Our 2020 Young Artist auditions will be held:

November 2 & 4 - Houston, TX (in partnership with Rice University)
November 8-11  & 15-17 - New York, NY (at the National Opera Center)
November 23 - Columbus, OH (in partnership with Opera Columbus)
November 24 - Chicago, IL (in partnership with Roosevelt University)

Q: Does Chautauqua Opera allow "crashers"?
A: No, we do not allow unscheduled singers to audition.

Q: Is there a place for me to warm-up and/or change?
A: Chautauqua Opera does not provide a warm-up room. Depending on the location, you may be able to rent a room to warm-up in.

Q: What materials am I required to bring to my audition?
A: The only thing you are required to bring is an up-to-date repertoire sheet with a thumbnail of your headshot on it. If your resume has changed significantly since you submitted your application, feel free to bring a copy of that as well. 

Q: What repertoire am I required to bring to my audition?
A: We require one aria in English, one aria in a foreign language, and one operetta or musical theater selection.

Q: What if I have travel complications on the day of my audition?
A: If you think you will be unable to make your audition or will be late, please contact our office at 212-779-3177 or We do check our voicemail every day during auditions and someone will get back to you if necessary.

Q: Do I need to bring my own pianist?
A: Chautauqua Opera will provide a pianist for all singers, but you are welcome to bring your own, if you prefer.

Q: How many pieces does the panel typically hear?
A: You should be prepared to sing all three pieces, both arias and the musical theater/operetta selection. Depending on time constraints, the panel may only ask to hear one or two. You may choose your first selection.

Q: When can I expect to hear whether I have been accepted into the Young Artist Program or not?
A: All auditionees will receive notification via email or phone by mid-December. If you haven't received word by December 20, please contact us at

 General Information

Q: What is the age range of Chautauqua Opera Young Artists?
A: The age range for eligibility is 21 to 35. Young Artists must have completed their final year of undergraduate studies by the time the opera's season starts in June.

Q: How many artists are accepted into the program each year?
A: On average, we accept 8 Apprentice Artists and 16 Studio Artists.

Q: What is the difference between an Apprentice Artist and a Studio Artist?

A: Apprentice Artists sing or cover leading, supporting and/or comprimario roles in mainstage productions, perform at outreach performances, perform with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and are hired under an American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Apprenticeship contract.

Studio Artists perform in the "Studio Showcase series", which includes artsong recitals, Opera Invasions (community engagement events), open-mic nights, opera scenes, and operas for young audiences; they may also be assigned leading, supporting, comprimario or cover roles in the mainstage productions, and are hired under non-AGMA contracts.

ALL Young Artists appear in the chorus of mainstage productions. Young Artists receive extensive musical coaching from a nationally recognized coaching staff drawn from the finest universities, conservatories and opera houses in the US. Classes in movement, combat, makeup, and acting, as well as master classes given by distinguished artists, agents and voice teachers are offered to all Young Artists. Notable masterclass teachers in the past have included John Fisher (Metropolitan Opera), Peter Kazaras (UCLA), Marlena Malas (Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music), Craig Rutenberg (Metropolitan Opera) and Brian Zeger (Juilliard). Housing, a weekly stipend and a travel allowance are provided for all Young Artists.

Q: What are the dates for the summer season?
A: The Young Artist contracts begin in early June and end in early August.


If you have further questions, please feel free to email us at: AUDITIONS@CHAUTOPERA.ORG