The acclaimed Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program at Kentucky Opera brings young professional opera singers to Louisville to train and expand their performance experiences. With over 400 young singers auditioning for limited positions, the program features some of the most talented upcoming voices to be heard nation-wide.

The Sandford Studio Artist Program provides unique training experiences and career guidance for emerging opera singers at multiple stages in their career. Studio Artists have typically completed their graduate studies in voice and are looking to cultivate their training through MainStage experiences, comprimario and study cover roles as well as access to guest artists, conductors, directors, coaches and other professional development opportunities.

Kentucky Opera Sandford Studio Artists participate in MainStage productions covering roles, performing comprimario roles, and singing in the chorus. In addition, Studio Artists will have the opportunity to sing in recitals, concerts, participate in master and studio classes, and represent KO in various community and patron cultivation programs. Previous projects have featured Studio Artists as principals in collaborative semi-staged concert operas with regional partner orchestras and arts partners; education and family audience programming; and The Composer Workshop, a composer in residence project with the University of Louisville School of Music. Composers in Residence in the Composer Workshop have included Jake Heggie, Ben Moore, Daron Hagen and Paul Moravec. Professional development opportunities include coachings, lessons and masterclasses with industry professionals.

Auditions for Studio Artist positions with Kentucky Opera are held in Cincinnati,  Louisville and New York City. Artists are paid a stipend and provided with patron housing while on contract. Artists are responsible for their own transportation to, from and around Louisville during their residency.

Apprentice Artist Partnership with the University of Louisville School of Music

The Apprentice Artist program is a partnership with the University of Louisville School of Music. Apprentice Artists are still in the process of completing their graduate training in voice and are given an opportunity to train with Kentucky Opera during the MainStage season. Apprentice Artists may have comprimario, cover and chorus roles for MainStage productions, and participate in education and outreach events throughout the community, including donor events, community concerts, and school programs. They are included in professional development opportunities, master classes, and coachings.

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