Opera Memphis Artists-in-Residence and the University of Memphis Artist Diploma


Opera Memphis offers a two-year Artists-in-Residence program in partnership with the University of Memphis. This program is designed for those who may have already embarked on performing careers, or are on the brink of such careers. It offers opportunities to work with both a professional opera company and a strong, performance-oriented training program.

There are three concentrations within the Artist Diploma degree program:



Application and Audition:

Auditions will be held for the following voice types: soprano, mezzo, tenor, baritone/bass.

Prescreening audition application requirements are: videos of four arias and two art songs of contrasting styles and languages uploaded to your application on Acceptd in addition to headshot, resume, repertoire lists, references, titles and composers of your pieces, and undergraduate degree information. Audio recordings may be used for the art song selections.

Live audition requirements are: four arias and two art songs of contrasting styles and languages plus an age-appropriate monologue.

Program Information:

Each year Opera Memphis presents two mainstage productions and a chamber opera festival. Artists-in-Residence work with General Director, Ned Canty, and Music Director, Ben Makino, with nationally recognized singers, conductors and directors. Recent conductors have included Ari Pelto, Steven Osgood, and David Hayes.

Performance opportunities for Artists-in-Residence at Opera Memphis include:

-At least one main stage role in a production, supporting or comprimario

-Covering principal roles

-Education and outreach concerts

-Touring programs

-Singing in the chorus as needed

Performance opportunities with the University of Memphis Opera include at least one principal role.  There are two fully-staged opera productions with orchestra each academic year.

Artists-in-Residence pursuing the Artist Diploma work with Mark Ensley, Director of Opera Studies and Ben Smith, Opera Stage Director at the University of Memphis.  Read about opera at the University of Memphis.

Students enrolled in this program work toward an Artist Diploma in Voice from the University of Memphis where they receive a full tuition waiver and a $6,000 stipend.

The Artist Diploma curriculum offers considerable flexibility to the individual student. In addition to studio voice lessons, students receive vocal coaching, including coaching specific to preparation for his or her role in a production, as well as the opportunity to take electives. Artist Diploma students may enroll in any graduate or undergraduate class to best meet their individual needs. For more information about the curriculum, please consult the School of Music Graduate Handbook.

Once accepted into the Artist Diploma program, applications to the University of Memphis Graduate School must be made by March 1, 2016. GRE or MAT exams are not required for the Artist Diploma. On the university application select "Artist Diploma in Music CERT" as your planned course of study.



Applicants for the artist diploma in opera coaching will complete applications to both the graduate school and the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music.  The application to the School of Music will contain submission of a current resume and list of opera repertoire prepared (arias, scenes, acts, and full operas).


An audition for the artist diploma program in opera coaching will consist of the following materials presented before the Director of Opera Activities at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music and the Music Director of Opera Memphis.

-Prepare and present an act from an opera from the standard repertoire (choice determined by applicant with approval of the adjudicators)

-Accompany yourself singing an aria or song of your choosing in a language other than of the opera selected

-Sight-reading (3 or 4 excerpts)

-Read short passages of Italian, French, and German for diction purposes only




Applicants for the artist diploma in stage direction will complete applications to both the graduate school and the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music.  In addition, applicants will prepare and send a portfolio of work in stage direction.  The portfolio should contain a resume, production skills, written commentary about role in each production, video of direction of two scenes in contrasting styles, and any other supporting materials deemed appropriate by the applicant (essay on production style, reflections on previous productions, correspondence with designers, etc.).


The audition will consist of an interview with the general director of Opera Memphis and the stage director at the School of Music during which the applicant will answer questions about the portfolio and general questions about operatic stage direction.


To make your online application we recommend that you use Google Chrome or Safari or Firefox browsers. To participate in the screening, submit a Graduate Application online. You must log-in to Acceptd with your name and create a password. Acceptd charges $15 per application submission, payable with a credit or debit card.  The online fee is not refundable. Applying online allows faculty to review your application in the most timely fashion, and is the easiest and fastest way to apply to the School of Music.  You will be able to Save and Exit your application, go back in and out until it is complete. Once your application is submitted, you will be able to revisit but not change the content of your application except for resending your recommendation requests.   For non-technical assistance, contact music admissions.

For more information about acceptance as a graduate student at the University of Memphis, see the Graduate School or Graduate School Admissions websites.