Our programme offers fully-funded places to eight singers and two répétiteurs. Attention to detail is at the core of all training offered at Mascarade Opera Studio. Our teaching approach is based on four core pillars: technical mastery, artistry, acting and performance psychology. Each of these areas is developed intensely in the nine-month programme and is tailored to every studio artist’s individual needs. The programme is accompanied by extensive career management and career coaching provided by a team of internal and external industry experts.
We firmly embrace the tradition of bel canto, which we understand as an approach to singing that fosters the most expressive and uniquely personal qualities in the human voice. The principles of sostenuto, legato, messa di voce, clear diction, warm vibrato, unified registration are taken as broad objectives that must be actualised and made anew in the body, mind and voice of every studio artist. We believe that at its best, beautiful singing is that which fully embodies the inner life of a given character and happens at the point at which the imagination of the dramatist, the composer and the performing artist meet, and when the potential of each is actualised in sound.
Our programme strikes a fine balance between selected performance opportunities, in the form of recitals, masterclasses, competitions, auditions and orchestral showcases, and continuing professional development, providing enhanced opera skills training for both singers and répétiteurs.
The development of our répétiteurs is a vital aspect of our programme. Répétiteurs receive regular coaching and technique classes as well as masterclasses designed to support their development as players, coaches and conductors. Special emphasis is given to musical perception and projection, expressive detail and textual accuracy, phrasing with understanding of breathing, working knowledge of principal operatic languages, understanding of orchestral scores, the ability to replicate orchestral colour and scale on the keyboard and the ability to offer leadership and support in working with directors and conductors.
A unique component of the Mascarade programme is the support offered to our singers and répétiteurs in preparing for and entering international competitions and auditions with major opera houses and agencies. Aptitude and attitude training helps our artists to conceptualise these challenges as opportunities to be musically expressive and to display their craft without succumbing to pressure.
With its detailed nine month programme, international outlook and studio enrichment programme, Mascarade offers a distinctively different approach to opera training.
Our programme runs from September to June and is divided into three terms (autumn, spring, summer). Its content divides into the following components:
Enhanced skills training for opera is designed to further develop our singers’ and répétiteurs’ skillset ensuring personal and professional growth. It is offered in form of:
Repertoire Coaching (Opera and Lied) for singers and répétiteurs
Technique classes for répétiteurs
Language courses in Italian and German
Psychological Skills Training
Acting and Stagecraft
In addition to weekly coachings from our in-house staff, there are regular visits by industry leading voice consultants, vocal coaches and representatives from major European opera houses and music conservatoires . The aim of these visits is manifold including securing vocal technique for consistency and reliability, use of imagination and expression, understanding of drama in the text, understanding of use of language in different styles and periods, communication and rapport with the audience, ability to project ideas and to be responsive in ensemble partnerships.
Psychological performance skills training constitutes a core pillar of Mascarades’ training provision, particularly performance profiling, performance tracking, performance evaluation, resilience and assertiveness training. Our aim is to increase psychological flexibility through structured risk-taking and through establishing an open mind-set. We will design, implement and monitor individual psychological skills training programmes in discussion with each of our studio artists.
‘Scenes Showcases with Orchestra’ and orchestral concerts in Italy, Germany and Switzerland constitute core performance opportunities for our studio artists. We believe that scenes provide flexibility and can be best geared toward the strengths of our studio artists. They also allow the demonstration of a wider skill-set. Each showcase is public and has a target audience of country specific agencies and industry professionals. Internationally renowned conductors and directors are responsible for the artistic direction of these showcases.
The programme includes a number of intensive two-day masterclasses from established, high profile master teachers. The aim of the masterclasses is to offer our studio artists the opportunity to be inspired and taught by world-renowned performers and to further establish Florence as a centre for visiting world-class artists.
At the beginning of the year, each singer of the studio will be given a role to study throughout the year with their allocated répétiteur. The role may be taken from New Generation Festival’s upcoming main summer production and the studio artist will be given the opportunity to turn the role study into a cover. Role study is based on skills acquisition with regard to approaching and learning a major role in a structured and efficient way. Feedback will be provided throughout from in-house staff and visiting coaches and teachers.
This is an intensive week where our singers and répétiteurs deepen their practical knowledge of working with conductors using repertoire of different musical styles and epochs. Conducting and following a conductor is initiated in preparation for the showcases.
Regular Recitals in various locations in Florence and week-long residencies at Villa Medici Giulini Milan provide excellent performance opportunities for our artists and aim to embed Mascarade Opera Studio more fully in the fabric of Florence’s and Italy’s cultural life.
Throughout the year studio artists will enter and be prepared for auditions with major opera studios, agencies, European opera houses and international singing competitions.
The Studio Enrichment Programme is a medium term project in its initial design stages and will include education and community outreach programmes.
Mascarade offers extensive career management training covering areas such as presentation and communication, time management, influencing skills, conflict resolution, networking and social media. In addition, there will be visits by agencies, casting directors and other industry experts.
Mascarade Opera Studio welcomes artists from all backgrounds and nations. We recognise the benefits that a variety of experience and cultural contexts brings to both an individual’s performances and the group’s interactions as a whole. In addition to programme places being fully funded, we are also able to support studio artists with caring commitments through helping secure couple- and family-friendly accommodation, and advice on moving to Italy. We always ask that an artist interested in applying for the programme but concerned about any barrier they may face in taking up a position get in touch with us as early as possible to discuss how we can help – we firmly believe that exceptional talent should be developed, wherever it is found.
Applications are welcomed from artists of exceptional talent at the initial stages of their career. It is expected that most applicants will have completed post-graduate conservatoire or equivalent training, and have significant performance experience. We welcome applications from artists of all backgrounds, and are available to discuss any questions or requirements to support you in applying.
Due to the number of places available, there is an upper limit of 32 years of age for applicants to the 2020/21 programme. In exceptional circumstances we will consider applications for voices up to 34 years of age.
The 2022/22 Opera Studio programme will run from September 2021 to June 2022.
For further details please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.
First round online applications for Mascarade OS 2021/22 are now open. You can apply by clicking here. Second round live auditions will be held in Florence and London in spring 2021.
Applications should normally be made online.
Large print and spoken versions of the application form will also available and can be requested from [email protected]. If you have any access requirements around completing the application form please get in touch via [email protected]
If shortlisted, you will be contacted to arrange an audition. Venues tbc.