Is National Opera Studio failing its applicants?

Is National Opera Studio failing its applicants?


norman lebrecht

April 15, 2021

According to this message currently doing the rounds, the UK’s National Opera Studio is taking cash and audition tapes from youg singers but not giving a response.

Anyone else had this experience?



  • William says:

    This happens so often in conducting competitions, EVEN THE BIG ONES – videos only viewed for 2 seconds or none. Many of my colleagues and I found out about that. It’s a scam!

  • Anonymous says:

    Yep, me too – checked Google analytics which showed no extra view of my application materials and then rejection.

  • M McAlpine says:

    A complete disgrace if this is true. If someone pays a fee they deserve at least an acknowledgement and at least an indication that their audition has been listened to and why rejected.

  • L says:

    Yes. I’m livid. It really highlights how predatory and abusive the system is…£25 is a weekly shop for some and to give that to a company just for it to be taken and your videos not even watched is galling. It’s as if the industry just views Young Artists as cash cows, and not people wanting to start their careers and lives.

  • Lalalalala says:

    The Middleclass Artist wrote about this very issue in America back in November:

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    Let’s write to them. We don’t just have to fume on the pages of Slipped Disc. I’m going to write about this disgraceful issues and I invite you to join me :

    And the names of the staff are here

  • RF says:

    Unfortunately this sort of thing seems to be all too common. This happened to me with an audition recording for Verbier a few years ago – I paid a fairly steep fee to send in my application and I found out later that the appropriate faculty member never even received my recording. I definitely won’t be applying there again.

  • We have been informed by an applicant of their concerns regarding their experience of our audition process and have since responded.

    The National Opera Studio has taken this matter very seriously as we understand and appreciate the time and work which goes into an application, particularly in this new digital world we find ourselves in.

    We pride ourselves on a trusted process and within the application form, stated that individual feedback on first round auditions would not be offered only due to the high volume of applicants. We would like to reassure every applicant that all videos submitted in an application will have been viewed in their entirety at least twice.

    In regards to the concern in question, we are in contact with our portal YAP Tracker and they have confirmed that due to the security encryption it uses, analytics tracking is blocked, therefore any videos viewed through YAP Tracker do not register click-throughs or views. An official statement from YAP Tracker is included below:

    “We use a privacy enhanced mode when embedding YouTube videos on YAP Tracker, and it is our understanding and our intention that viewing behaviour is therefore not tracked. We have made this clear on several occasions, including a recent forum on OPERA America. The video of that event can be viewed here if anyone would like further clarification.”

    The National Opera Studio is committed to equality of opportunity and would not support an application process with a fee attached, where applications are not carefully considered.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is extremely common for young singers . It is commonplace that audition materials for young artists are not viewed but are given rejections. Many are afraid to speak out about this for fear of repercussions and being blacklisted by companies. It is a disgrace that young singers are charged application fees in order to submit applications that are rarely viewed (or in this case, not at all) and almost never given feedback. What precisely is the application fee for? Presumably those who view these materials have continued to enjoy their employment? I can’t imagine the cost of viewing materials isn’t already budgeted for? Young singers are being sold a pup by these YAPs and it needs to be called out. If young singers are invited to audition (many of whom haven’t even applied – just well-connected) they often spend everything they have and make enormous sacrifices simply to attend YAP programme auditions all over the world and rarely are given so much as a sentence of feedback. I know of many young singers who were given ultimatums during the pandemic and were told they must attend live auditions in European opera houses, and risk ever-changing border controls. This might seem reasonable, but when you consider these often week-long quarantines are topped off with no feedback and loss of earnings for these weeks of auditions – it is a folly and companies need to seriously re-think their policies in this regard. I hope the donors and benefactors of these companies, and particularly the YAP mentioned here, are watching carefully and following their money. Is the purpose of YAPs to get smaller roles filled with cheaper singers or is the purpose the production of artists we can all admire and support? Now that the donor dinner parties have ceased, it’s maybe time to rethink the wheel.
    Thank you for sharing this, Slipped Disc.

  • Maria says:

    What is YAP? Sorry but never been good at acronyms!