Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance)

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

The Vocal and Opera Studies Unit reflects the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s strong commitment to singing, an environment in which our students have excelled (Dame Joan Sutherland is the most famous example). The Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance) focuses on text-related matters in various kinds of vocal music with the aim of fostering your skills as an interpreter in all the major operatic languages.

You will study language structure, poetry, and operatic text within a cultural and historical context, developing your professional awareness of the word-music relationship. In each semester you will participate in a tutorial devoted to one language: English, Italian, German and French, as well as a workshop on repertoire in any given language. The course will refine the technical and interpretive qualities of your voice as an operatic instrument, with an emphasis on character and role building, movement and gesture, and your understanding of emotional context and general communication skills. The opera performance portfolio requires selection of a particular aspect of operatic specialisation for your extensive personal exploration.

Together with the Opera School of the Sydney Conservatorium, the Vocal and Opera Studies Unit develops skills in a wide range of repertoire and performance types from the recital to the opera stage. Our students come from all states of Australia and overseas, attracted by a teaching staff with wide experience as concert and operatic artists and outstanding pedagogues, all of whom have had distinguished careers. Many of our teachers are still active as performers with repertoire interests ranging from the early Renaissance to contemporary classical music.

For the audition, candidates should be prepared to present a varied program of at least three arias at an advanced level of difficulty and to an excellent standard. In the interview following the performance, the student will outline a proposed plan of study. Applicants who do not have a recognised tertiary award but who demonstrate an equivalent musical ability and maturity at the audition and interview, and who can show considerable performing experience may be admitted.

The Sydney Conservatorium Opera School showcases vocal and dramatic talent in regular public opera productions, using the Conservatorium’s versatile performing spaces. These well-attended productions provide an opportunity for outstanding talent to take its first bow in practical preparation for the opera profession. Working with established and emerging stage directors, conductors, coaches and repetiteurs, students train in aspects of stagecraft, such as characterisation, language and ensemble skills. They also receive the invaluable opportunity to study and perform a role, and the style of the selected operatic repertoire is diverse. Weekly performance workshops, masterclasses and opera performance classes provide additional performance opportunities.

Coaching and language instruction from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Piano Accompaniment Unit and language staff complement individual vocal lessons. Along with establishing and refining students’ vocal, musical and artistic skills, the Vocal and Opera Studies Unit develops the personal attributes needed for a career in performance, teaching or other fields.

Course outline

Unit of Study information on faculty page

Study plan

Candidates of the Master of Music Studies will enrol in 4 units of study in each of the four semesters of the course. The four areas of study are: principal study (opera); language and interpretation; graduate production; opera performance. In the second year of the course, the opera performance portfolio component requires selection of particular aspects of operatic specialisation for an extensive personal exploration. This investigation may focus on the historical, cultural, and political contexts of the operas or could explore unifying thematic or stylistic elements of selected roles. The final presentation of all the roles studied is accompanied by a written reflective element.

Further course information

Progression rules

Under normal progression, a student shall undertake all units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester as prescribed for the course. Students are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and performance-related activities prescribed for their units of study.

Capstone experience

The opera performance portfolio in the master's degree requires selection of particular aspects of operatic specialisation for an extensive exploration. This investigation may focus on the historical, cultural, and political contexts of the operas or could explore unifying thematic or stylistic elements of selected roles. The final presentation of all the roles studied is accompanied by a written reflective element.

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

Graduates of the Master of Music Studies (Opera) will have been trained in vocal, musical and performance skills for a career in the opera profession.

Further study

Graduates of the Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance) who have completed their Portfolio units of study with a meritorious grade are eligible to pursue a higher degree by research in their chosen subject area.

Admission

Admission requirements

Available places will be offered to qualified applicants in the order in which complete applications are received, and according to the admissions criteria. A successful application for admission to the Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance) requires (a) a master’s degree in an appropriate discipline as determined by the faculty; or (b) a pass bachelor’s degree with a credit average, or an honours bachelor’s degree from the University of Sydney, or equivalent qualification in an appropriate discipline as determined by the faculty; or (c) an award of graduate diploma from the University of Sydney, or equivalent qualification in an appropriate discipline as determined by the faculty; or (d) completion of the requirements of the embedded graduate diploma in this discipline from the University of Sydney, or equivalent qualification; and (e) successful completion of an audition and an interview.

International and interstate candidates can upload auditions here https://app.decisiondesk.com/clients/sydneymusic/account/create

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Faculty Handbook and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Applications are made directly to the University and assessed by the Faculty. On-time applications for the March Semester close on the last working day of October. On-time applications for the July Semester close on the last working day in April. Please note: not all courses are offered in the July semester intake.

International students

How to apply

Overseas applicants may apply (i) directly to the University, or (ii) through a University overseas representative (education agent).

Important Fee Information

Domestic students

Indicative Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee

The tuition fee for a domestic postgraduate student is an indication only of the 2017 fees payable in Year 1 for a standard full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). Depending on the calendar year in which you undertake your study, and if your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL, your tuition fee will differ from the indicative amount.

Annual review and fee increases

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review by the University, and will increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental costs

For some courses there are incidental costs additional to the student contribution and/or course fee. Some of these incidental costs are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing and equipment. Further information about these costs is available from your faculty.

Credit card surcharge

Please note that a surcharge of 0.8% will apply for payments made by Visa or MasterCard. The surcharge is subject to review and may change. Information about payment methods and the surcharge is set out at: http://sydney.edu.au/study/finances-fees-costs/fees-and-loans/paying-your-fees.html.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about fees.

International students

Indicative International Tuition Fees for Postgraduate Students

The tuition fee for international postgraduate students is an indication only of the 2017 fees payable in Year 1 for a standard full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). Depending on the calendar year in which you undertake your study, and if your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL, your tuition fee will differ from the indicative amount.

Annual review and fee increases

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and will increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental costs additional to the tuition fees. Some of these incidental costs are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. Further information about these costs is available from your faculty.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Credit card surcharge

Please note that a surcharge of 0.8% will apply for payments made by Visa or MasterCard. The surcharge is subject to review and may change. Information about payment methods and the surcharge is set out at: http://sydney.edu.au/study/finances-fees-costs/fees-and-loans/paying-your-fees.html.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about fees.

Student profiles