“Without a doubt, [Highlands Opera Studio attracts] the absolute highest standard of emerging operatic professional. I thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone and look forward to returning annually.”
– John Fisher, Director of Music Administration/Master Vocal Coach
Metropolitan Opera, NYC (Recently retired)
Highlands Opera Studio was established in 2007 by internationally acclaimed Canadian tenor, Richard Margison, and former Metropolitan Opera stage director, Valerie Kuinka, as a professional training program and performing arts organization to help young, highly qualified, emerging professional singers make the transition from University-level training, to the professional world of opera, both on the national and international level.
Operating 2 1/2 hours north of the GTA in the town of Haliburton, in the heart of the Haliburton Highlands, HOS has grown from a 3-week summer session in 2007, to a 5-week intensive summer program, providing advanced professional training, highly specialized coaching, and international networking opportunities through visiting opera professionals (vocal teachers/coaches, conductors, directors, agents, etc.), along with performance experience through several concerts, public masterclasses, and 2 fully-staged operas.
The program provides 6 hours of professional training a day, 6 days a week, including private coaching, masterclasses, auditions, seminars on related topics ('Finding an Agent', 'Financial Planning', etc.), and staging/music rehearsals.
The areas covered in individual sessions will include the following:
- Voice/Vocal Coaching
- Dramatic/intent & audition deportment
- Repertoire Study: Musical Style & Character Development
- German Art Song: Diction & Cultural Context
- Lyric Diction (all languages)
- Repertoire/career consultation – auditions, coping with fach (voice) change
- Career planning/strategies – coping with extended work stoppage
- Life Coaching – time-management, supporting emotional health, etc.
- Financial Management for performing artists – preparing your tax return
The areas covered in group discussion/seminars will include the following:
- Systemic Racism in Opera: Realities & Strategies for Change – hosted by members of the Highlands Opera Racial Equity Advisory Council (HOREAC)
- 'In Conversation with...' - multiple visiting Professional Consultants from all aspects of the industry (Artist Agents, General Directors, international Artists, etc.) offer insights into the current professional world from their perspective – always followed by an open Q&A
- Life Coaching – Introduction + weekly break-out small group sessions
- Financial Planning & Money Management for performing artists
- How to Find an Agent/How to Approach a Potential Employer
- Musical Style: eg. Approaching Bel Canto
(role study/small role/cover principal roles)
Age 19 – 23
(cast in principal role)
No age limit
(pre-approved private project, role study, competition/audition tour preparation, etc.)
No age limit
ALL DIVISIONS PARTICIPATE IN ALL OTHER HOS ACTIVITIES
Every year approximately 20-25 participants are chosen (22 singers, and one collaborative pianist this year), which means fundraising is a big part of Richard's and Valerie's year round activities. Richard and Valerie have always felt that these young accomplished artists, who are selected through competitive audition from across Canada, should no longer be expected to pay for an advanced training summer program. Therefore, the program, including accommodation, is offered free of charge to Canadians. The cost to HOS of this sponsorship is approximately $15,000 per participant for the 5-6 week period.
Except for a modest one time administration fee of $400, ALL SUCCESSFUL CANADIAN PARTICIPANTS ATTEND THE 5-WEEK PROGRAM FREE OF CHARGE. This covers ALL TUITION, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & AUDITION OPPORTUNITIES, ACCOMMODATION, & 2 MEALS PER DAY, 6 days a week. Other meals are the responsibility of the participant.
Audition registration for the 2024 Professional Program will be announced in November. Auditions will take place in early 2024. If you're interested in being notified when future registrations open, please fill in your contact info below.