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The Chicago Opera Theater Young Artists Program is a performance-based training program for young singers. The participants have the opportunity to work with the innovative artistic teams which are the hallmark of Chicago Opera Theater under General Director Andreas Mitisek. The intention is to provide an artistic benchmark for young artists as they commence their careers, recognizing performance experience in fresh stagings of both standard and new repertoire as an essential training element.
Members of Young Artists Program are engaged for an intensive program during which each performs in the Season as a soloist or member of the ensemble. Young Artists are regularly engaged to cover principal roles. A covering artist is coached on his or her respective role with music staff, and will have the opportunity to perform portions of the role for an invited audience.
Young Artists receive individual coaching from COT Director of Musical Studies Scott Gilmore, and take part in master classes with coaches, conductors and teachers. Featured guests have included James Maddalena, Craig Rutenberg, Jane Glover, Samuel Ramey, Nancy Gustafson, Timothy Noble, Suzanne Mentzer, and Robin Leggate. Career development seminars have been offered in audition techniques and in the non-performance aspects of a career in singing.
Members of the Young Artist Program perform with the company's Education and Outreach program in a wide range of events for adults and children, and several Young Artists participate in the Recital Series of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, presented at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Chicago Opera Theater provides Young Artists with housing and travel to Chicago for those who do not live locally.
(Director of Musical Studies for the Young Artists Program)
Scott Gilmore's operatic credits as coach, assistant conductor and chorus master include the San Francisco Opera, Salzburg Festival, Cologne Opera, Opéra de Lyon and Opera Australia. He has worked with major international conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, James Conlon, Charles Mackerras, Michelangelo Veltri, Carlo Felice Cillario and Kent Nagano. His work in the training and development of singers has taken him to positions with the Opéra national de Paris, London's Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the San Francisco Opera Center and the young artist programs of Cologne Opera, Opera Australia, and Florida Grand Opera. He is currently Head of Music Staff and Director of Musical Studies at Chicago Opera Theater, and Assistant Professor of Opera and Vocal Coaching at Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, where he studied piano with Dr Ludmila Lazar. He is a guest coach at the Santa Fe Opera, an adjudicator for The Metropolitan Opera Competition, and a contributing editor to Boosey & Hawkes' series of operatic choral octavo editions. An active vocal recital accompanist, he has been heard live, on recording, and in both television and radio broadcasts. The San Francisco Chronicle dubbed him "a singer's colleague and best artistic friend."
Chicago Opera Theater has partnered with Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) to offer a two-year Professional Diploma Program which couples advanced training and full scholarship support at CCPA with professional experience as a Young Artist at COT.
Under the guidance of the program's director, Scott Gilmore, singers and pianists selected for the program receive full scholarships from the college, and an AGMA Young Artist contract from COT during its season. The program is designed for post-graduate students specializing in opera, but may include some post-undergraduate students of exceptional ability. The program runs concurrently with the fall and spring semesters at CCPA, extending into the COT season.
Singers admitted to the program will receive four semesters of weekly individual voice lessons and twice-weekly coaching with CCPA's professional faculty. Pianists will accompany lessons and rehearsals, and also receive weekly coaching. Additional seminars on various topics concerning the profession are conducted throughout the year, and both master classes and performance classes are scheduled to help singers prepare for auditions. On-campus performance opportunities include roles in fully-staged CCPA operas with orchestra. Contract performances with COT may also include recitals, outreach and concert events throughout the year.
At the end of the spring semester, participants become Young Artists at COT. They will cover roles, sing in the mainstage ensemble, participate in performances with piano of each opera, master classes, recitals, and outreach presentations. Pianists will play some rehearsals, master classes, and assist in various capacities.
Members of the Joint Diploma Program typically comprise one-quarter to one-half of COT's Young Artists each season. The rest of the program is cast separately by Chicago Opera Theater through separate audition arranged by General Manager, Jerry Tietz, each fall.
Find more information about the COT/CCPA Diploma Program here.