Singers : General Information



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British Youth Opera is the UK's premier company for training new and emerging operatic talent.

It offers valuable opportunities for young singers to receive professional training in all aspects of opera through workshops and master classes, and to take part in rehearsals and performances in its annual Summer Season.

BYO's primary purpose is to offer operatic experience to singers who have a serious aim of pursuing careers in opera performance.

In the Summer Season productions, singers participate as principalscoverschorus or a combination of these.


Each opera has a single cast of principals who sing at all performances. Rehearsals start with a week of music preparation, working with the conductor, vocal coach, and language coach if appropriate. Production rehearsals then follow for several weeks during which the director, movement director and designer create a production around the company, with continued coaching.

In the final days of rehearsals, the company moves into the theatre for a series of rehearsals on stage with both piano and orchestra, followed by a dress rehearsal in preparation for the first night. There are three performances of each production.

Covers (Understudies)

Each opera has a full cast of covers who sing if a principal is sick and who perform a cover showing of 60 to 75 minutes duration on stage with orchestra. The cover cast is thoroughly rehearsed by the Assistant Conductor and Assistant Director as well as having coaching. Watching the rehearsals with the principal cast during the day, covers have their own rehearsals in the evening, and their own stage rehearsals in the theatre.


Rehearsals start with music sessions after which the chorus will work with the production team to create the chorus scenes in the rehearsal room before moving to the theatre.

Opera Workshops

BYO’s Opera Workshop programme gives singers an opportunity in an intimate and closed environment to explore roles, character, the relationships between text and music, creativity and interpretation without the pressure of performance. These usually last for five days and numbers are limited so as to ensure the best experience for those involved.

Who should apply?

It is not necessary for singers to have previous stage experience, but they should be receiving regular singing lessons and have a serious interest in pursuing a career in opera.

  • To that end, in selecting singers for audition, BYO will give preference to applications from singers of any nationality who are studying full-time at a music college in the United Kingdom.
  • BYO will also consider applications from singers who are about to start, or who have recently finished, such study in the United Kingdom.
  • BYO may, at its discretion, consider applications from other singers resident in the UK, where such applications contain evidence that the applicant has a serious aim of pursuing a career in opera performance, is at the start of his or her career, and is new to the profession.
  • All applications must be counter-signed by the applicant's singing teacher or vocal coach, confirming that the applicant would benefit from and is suitable for a training place with BYO.

British Youth Opera is a training organisation; successful candidates do not pay to participate in the Summer Season (for which a contribution towards subsistence will be given) or the Opera Workshops.

Accommodation in London can be provided for a limited number of successful applicants who would otherwise be unable to participate.

British Youth Opera regrets that it is unable to provide feedback on auditions and reserves the right to alter the proposed programme.