Dutch launch opera studio for artists up to age 32

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The Dutch National Opera Studio is a new young artists programme in The Netherlands, which will be launched in Amsterdam in September 2018 with international renowned soprano Rosemary Joshua as the artistic leader. Dutch National Opera Studio offers an exciting opportunity for outstanding young artists. The DNO Studio’s goal is to develop well-rounded artists by providing the highest quality training in combination with a wide range of professional experiences.The programme will be designed to support six singers and one répétiteur, all of whom, will be employed on a full-time basis as salaried members of Dutch National Opera for up to two years. The young Artists will be immersed into the professional life of the company and mentored through every aspect of their career development in an individually tailor-made programme.

The DNO Studio will offer its six young singers extensive musical, language and vocal coaching with experienced music staff, leading international voice teachers and conductors along with some of the finest directors of our generation. The artists will participate in both main stage productions, as well as studio productions, recitals and concert/educational work.

The répétiteur of the Opera Studio will be coached by the music staff of Dutch National Opera and will be mentored by DNO’s Chief Conductor as well as guest conductors. He/she will participate in every aspect of the preparation of opera and be fully involved in all studio activities.

Dutch National Opera Studio is an initiative of Dutch National Opera, in collaboration with Nederlandse Reisopera and Opera Zuid, who will offer the young artists the opportunity to join their projects.

International auditions for Dutch National Opera Studio will be held in December 2017 and January 2018 with an age limit of 30 years for female voices and of 32 years for male voices. Apply for details to operastudio@operaballet.


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  • More age limits based on gender, when will the opera community come together to champion equality? If the age limit is set higher specifically for basses, say so. But to specify just on gender is lazy and sexist, meaning once again young female singers aren’t given the same opportunities as the the males….

    • First of all, I haven’t read anything about age limit vs gender in this announcement. Please read the statement carefully. 32 is a very reasonable age in that context – it allows for certain types of voices who tend to mature earlier to be eligible. You can’t be a young artist forever.

      Second: a “young artists studio” is a common practice with all major opera companies. It is intended as a bridge for young singers who have recently graduated, hopefully leading to a full-fledged career. Yes, if you look only at the performance side of it, it implies singing roles at lower wages (mostly smaller roles, sometimes important ones if the singers are lucky), but the overall picture is much bigger: companies have to invest a lot of money in the process of overseeing the preparation of these young artists. It involves voice teachers, coaches, stage directors, etc. Often the organization also tries to establish a connection with managers in order to properly launch their young artists’ career. They encourage and help them to take lots of auditions. In short, young artists studios provide a much appreciated and necessary stepping stone for young singers in a world where competition is fierce and preparation is paramount.

      A final word on Rosemary Joshua who will head this program: she is a wonderful artist and a thoughtful and caring person, qualities which are absolutely essential for this job. Young singers will benefit mightily from her tutelage. Kudos to her and the folks in Amsterdam!

      • The article does state age limit linked to gender. What about female voices which mature later? Your mistake seemed to be rather freudian…

          • I make amend : I read the announcement too quickly and I had missed the 2-year gap for eligibility between men and women (shame on you, Observer). A point can be made about the fact male voices tend to develop later because of the fact these voices “break” at puberty and literally become new instruments, but it doesn’t justify the 2-year discrimination. The double standard here cannot be defended.

            This being said, I stand by everything else I wrote, especially about the considerations regarding low wages. Such a program is a costly operation and is not a way for opera companies to save money or abuse young artists financially.

      • Again, Observer, you seem to “observe” something which isn’t written! The height of the salaries is NOT mentioned! So you cannot assume they will be u derpayed or taken advantage of. Furthermore the Netherlands Opera is so highly funded that they don’t need to take advantage of anyone, because they can afford anything….What is written is that they will be payed like full time employees PLUS they will get high level lessons and coaching. If the Netherlands Opera would invest this much in accomplished Dutch soloists the Dutch opera scene would look rather different!

  • They don’t mention how high the wages are, so why assume the singers would be underpayed? For the current level of most students under the age of 30 any wages would be overpayed in my opinion. I am very curious how they will handle the growing gap in level between the educational system and the level required for performing on stage at The Netherlands Opera or any opera stage for that matter. Again the audiences of the Netherlands will see even more “promises” on stage, now even at the main opera house in the country. Underdeveloped voices and personalities, but totally following the trend of young, younger, youngest. Making no sense at all as long as there is virtually no work in the Netherlands for accomplished, fully capable soloists. So after two years these investments will disappear into the world and the Dutch audiences will have to settle for a new group of semi- singers. But should they chose to return so day after having careers abroad, at least the various administrational and professional choir jobs will be waiting to be filled by former opera stars…

  • Why is it that men can be older than women for YAP’s? Women’s voices (especially mezzos and larger voice types) take longer to settle and train… its totally ageist and many young singers in their early 30s, who are grounded and ready for YAPs, are missing out on these opportunities. Its a real problem in our industry today. Make it 32 for both men and women. ..or is it boys and girls they’re looking for…. ?

  • You’re right Observer, it doesn’t justify the gender discrimination Rosemary Joshua is demonstrating. Your point about puberty is rather irrelevant as operatic voices aren’t trained from this age, rather later 18/19/20+, that being said no two voices are the same and therefore equal opportunities should be a bare minimum in supporting young singers.

  • This is not unique. Virtually every competition and young artist program places different age restriction on gender. Relax. And please stop shitting on a wonderful opportunity for young singers to gain employment and health benefits in a rapidly decreasing market.

    • First of all there is no guarantee of employment after those two years, since the Netherlands Opera doesn’t have a soloist ensemble, secondly there are no health benefits, since all people in the Netherlands have to pay for their own private health insurance. And again, age restrictions for other programs are based on voice types, not on gender. Furthermore the market is decreasing because of the emphasis on short term talent programs as opposed to long term employment for accomplished soloists.

  • Random (male obviously, white I assume) Guy, just because something isn’t unique doesn’t make it ok. In a culture of Weinsteins, and nooses in the dressing rooms at the Met, what may seem like a very little detail to you (your privilege is showing btw) actually nurtures a much larger trend of oppression. Surely it’s better to be bold and challenge the ‘norm’ than shit on a certain segment of the population?

    Until we are all free, we are none of us free.

    …..Health benefits?! Umm yeh I’ll leave you to that one. Relax. ✌

    • Let’s not Americanise this topic and start playing race cards. This discussion is about sexism, not racism. It isn’t about sexual abuse either. Let’s stick to the topic, which in my opinion is that all too easily we accept the fact that women on stage are supposed to be young and fresh and that only the men serm to deserve a fair chance where the bigger, later developing voices are concerned. So for the women it’s about looks, for the men it’s about voice. The fact that there will be many more female applicants then male all too often seems to allow for looking at other “talents” apart from singing…

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