Chautauqua Opera's Young Artist Program was established in 1968. Now under the supervision of Artistic/General Director Steven Osgood, and Carol Rausch, Music Administrator/Chorus Master, it is recognized as one of the best training programs for young singers in America today. The program has seen over 1,000 artists benefit from this professional training experience.

Chautauqua Opera provides our Young Artists with performance tools essential to establishing a professional career in opera. All Young Artists receive extensive musical coaching from a nationally recognized coaching staff drawn from the finest universities, conservatories and houses in the US. All Artists in the program are offered classes in movement, combat, makeup, and acting, and all artists appear in the the mainstage productions. All Young Artists also have opportunities to participate in master classes given by distinguished artists, agents and voice teachers. Notable masterclass artists in the recent past have included John Fisher (Metropolitan Opera), Craig Rutenberg (Metropolitan Opera), Peter Kazaras (Seattle Opera YA Program), Marlena Malas (Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music), and Brian Zeger (Juilliard).

Each year, the Chautauqua Opera Young Artist Program attracts anywhere from 700-900 applicants, of which approximately 400 are invited to auditions in the Fall. From those auditions, 24 Young Artists are chosen to participate in the summer season.

Please note: Season dates, repertoire and role opportunities for the 2021 Young Artist Program will emerge gradually over the coming months in response to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, along with final budget allocations from the Chautauqua Institution. Chautauqua Opera celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its Young Artist Program in 2018, and we expect that Young Artists will be a significant part of any in-person, hybrid or virtual 2021 season.  Chautauqua Opera has decided to join the consortium of companies holding virtual auditions, being organized by Houston Grand Opera, in order to help streamline the 2021 application process for all Young Artists.  While the application deadline and subsequent video audition deadline will be ahead of our season planning, we will welcome this opportunity to hear and follow the progress of singers who are currently pursuing Young Artist programs. 

For more information about our 2021 Young Artist Program auditions please visit our Auditions FAQ Page

There are two sections of the Young Artist Program:

APPRENTICE ARTISTS sing or cover leading, supporting/comprimario roles and/or chorus in mainstage productions, perform two concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and perform at outreach performances under the auspices of an American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Apprenticeship contract.

STUDIO ARTISTS sing or cover leading, supporting/comprimario roles and/or chorus in mainstage productions. In addition, Studio Artists perform in the "Studio Showcase Series" which includes a season-long schedule of art song recitals, community outreach "Invasion" events, educational performances, and a program of opera scenes.

ALL YOUNG ARTISTS receive extensive musical coaching from a nationally recognized coaching staff drawn from the finest opera houses, conservatories and universities. In addition, Young Artists have access to classes and individual coaching sessions with guest instructors specializing in stage combat, health and wellness, performance styles, and acting.

Housing, a weekly stipend, and a travel allowance are provided for all Young Artists.


Alumni of the Young Artist Program include; Douglas Ahlstedt, Keri Alkema, Madeline Bender, Elizabeth Bishop, Luretta Bybee, Joyce Castle, Pamela Coburn, Diane Curry, Brian Davis, Harry Dworchak, Kate Egan, Ruth Falcon, Malin Fritz, Shuler Hensley, Joshua Hopkins, Carolyn James, Anita Johnson, Peter Kazaras, Adam Klein, Sunny Joy Langton, Mimi Lerner, Kyle Marrero, Emily Martin, Lee Merrill, Julie Newell, Mari Opatz, Derrick Parker, Eugene Perry, Herbert Perry, David Pittsinger, Jane Redding, Vale Rideout, Hugh Russell, James Schaffner, Jane Shaulis, Marietta Simpson, Stephanie Sundine, Renée Tatum, Todd Thomas, Mildred Tyree, David Ward, Tracey Welborn, Julie Wright and Sherry Zannoth. In upcoming seasons, former Young Artists will be singing at The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis among others.