While this guide is mainly pointed towards what to do after graduation, summers during school are also hard to figure out for many students. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of programs that CMU students have done in the past and the student reviews of each place after they attended the program. Of course there are many programs not listed. Feel free to comment about a program you attended, especially if it’s not on the list!
Program: CCM Opera Studio
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Recommended: Yes. Expensive for 3 weeks, but with 2 lessons and 2 coachings per week, the price evens out. There’s a Masterclass every day, Italian class, plus a recital and opera scenes. It’s a great chance to check out the conservatory and work with high demand teachers like Bill McGraw.
Program: AIMS in Graz
Location: Graz, Austria
Program: Oberlin in Italy
Location: Arezzo, Italy
Recommended: Yes, but would be more beneficial if were placed in the opera program.
Program: Amalfi Coast Music Festival
Location: Maiori, Italia
Recommended: Yes. Expensive for 2 weeks, but offers lots of performance experience, networking opportunities, and the chance to live on the Amalfi Coast.
Program: Vancouver International Song Institute
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Recommended: Yes! Amazing if you want to have extensive art song/lieder/mélodie training. Sort of expensive but good financial aid. Many different programs to choose from. They always bring in a special guest and recently it was Jake Heggie.
Program: Academie Internationale d’ete de Nice
Location: Nice, France
Recommended: Yes. Typically a 3 week program but you sign up by the week and there are different programs within voice as well. Expensive, but good aid available, especially if you the student are paying and they know that. Masterclasses, recitals, lessons, coachings, scene work, and the south of France, it is just wonderful.
Program: Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Apprentice Artist
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Recommended: No (well, not yet). This is a paid summer festival where the median age of the young artists is 27. Down the road, it would be a great opportunity but being so young you feel a bit out of your league. You perform in 2 shows, one opera and one classic musical, performing small roles and covering the lead roles. You take the opera on tour where the covers get to sing the leads and get to work with some pretty legit conductors and directors.
Program: Tyrolean Opera Program aka TOP
Location: Maurach am Achensee, Tirol, Austria
Recommended: Definitely not. Elizabeth Bachman (the woman who runs it) is an awful human being. The German classes are taught by a man who teaches at an actual German elementary school, and while I’m sure he’s a great teacher for native german speakers, he is terrible at explaining anything to someone who isn’t fluent; second language instruction is not something that any german speaker can do. Dance classes were terrible and they were every morning at 8:30 am.
Program: Baroque Vocal Programme at the Vancouver Early Music Festival
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Recommended: Yes! If you’re into early music it is an awesome experience, and for two weeks at $1300 with only 12 participants, you really get your money’s worth. You will learn a ton and have a great time.
Program: Amherst Early Music Festival
Location: New London, CT
Recommended: Yes. There are two main programs for singers: the Baroque Academy and the Baroque Opera. The Academy focuses mostly on chamber music. You get to work with early music genius Julianne Baird. It’s only a week long but it’s pretty cheap.