The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition returns -- By popular demand!

Talented young singers compete for prestige and prize money in pursuit of successful opera careers.  

The deadline has passed for the 2016 Vocal Competition and applications are no longer being accepted. Semi-finalists will be notified in January 2016. 

Read the full press release here 

Talented singers compete for prestige and financial support to pursue their operatic careers.  

The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition returns for its 28th year in a re-envisioned and expanded format.  The Guild is accepting applications from residents of all 50 states and U.S. Territories.  Finalists will perform with The Dallas Opera Orchestra under the baton of renowned Music Director Emmanuel Villaume. Full details on who is eligible to apply for the competition are addressed in our “Frequently Asked Questions.” 

Plan to attend and support these talented young artists as they compete live, on stage for thousands of dollars in front of a blue-ribbon panel of judges—and music lovers just like you!  Be among the first to experience these future stars of the opera world performing in a world-class venue — and vote for your favorite to be honored with the coveted “People’s Choice Award!”

Acclaimed pianist, arts administrator, adjudicator and educator Brian Zeger will be returning as Chair of the Judges Panel for the 2016 Vocal Competition. On the faculty of The Juilliard School since 1993 and Artistic Director of Vocal Arts at Juilliard since 2004, Dr. Zeger is also the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Commented Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, “The Dallas Opera is delighted to be working once more with Dr. Zeger and partnering closely with The Dallas Opera Guild to build on the success we had last season. Dr. Zeger brings an enviable reputation as a pianist, coach, and arts administrator, and we are honored to work with him, side-by-side, to elevate this competition to exciting new heights of artistry and entertainment.” Dr. Zeger will work closely with a judge’s panel that will include Mr. Cerny, acclaimed Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and Artistic Administrator Ian Derrer.  Also returning in 2016 will be Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition Chair Ketty Fitzgerald, who expects this year’s competition “to do even more to advance the careers of the best young singers in opera. That is our ultimate goal, in taking this event to the next level.”

Judges list for the 2016 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition currently includes

Brian Zeger, Chair
Artistic Director of Juilliard’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and Executive Director for the  Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera

Keith Cerny
General Director and CEO of The Dallas Opera

Emmanuel Villaume
Music Director, The Dallas Opera

Ian Derrer
Artistic Administrator, The Dallas Opera

Aidan Lang
General Director, Seattle Opera

Leonore Rosenberg
Associate Artistic Administrator, The Metropolitan Opera

Joshua Winograde
Senior Director of Artistic Planning, Los Angeles Opera

Diane Zola
Director of Artistic Administration, Houston Grand Opera 

About the Vocal Competition

The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition has helped launch the careers of singers including Clifton Forbis, Mary Dunleavy, Latonia Moore, Jesus Garcia, Scott Scully, Jennifer Black, Weston Hurt, Takesha Meshé Kizart, Steven LaBrie, Valerie Vinzant, Juan José Deléon, and John Holiday, Jr. Past winners have used the encouragement and financial support received throught the Guild Vocal Competition in a variety of ways:

  • advanced study at leading vocal institutes,
  • acceptance into young artists’ programs,
  • solid careers in opera,
  • acclaimed Metropolitan Opera débuts,
  • stellar international careers,
  • award-winning roles on Broadway, and
  • music faculty positions with leading universities.

Founded in 1957, the non-profit Dallas Opera Guild first established a formal program to support young singers in 1987, originally known as The Career Development Grant for Singers. That program evolved into The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. Today, classically-trained U.S. singers between the ages of 21 and 32 compete once a year for industry recognition, career encouragement, the chance to perform on a world-class stage with Maestro Emmanuel Villaume and The Dallas Opera Orchestra, and significant cash awards—all before a live audience and a panel of judges representing some of the most prestigious opera companies in North America.


At the judges’ discretion (contingent on available funding), cash awards may be given to First, Second, and Third place winners; Encouragement Awards may also be given. The annual People’s Choice Award is bestowed on the audience favorite, determined by a Secret Ballot vote following the final contestant’s performance. Each year, funding must be raised anew to cover operating expenses and cash awards. Preparing for the annual event is a year-long process, organized and managed by Guild volunteers who donate hundreds of hours of their time, their talents, and their financial resources to help offset the costs. Loyal individuals and businesses in the community also underwrite many of the services, thereby increasing the amount of funding available to directly support these young singers. 

For only the second time in its history, the competition will be accepting applications from across the United States and its territories for the semi-final round; ultimately, up to six finalists will be chosen to sing with the full orchestra while competing for top prizes.

Cynthia Wildridge

Save the Date

April 29, 2016 

April 30, 2016

and we’ll see you at the
Winspear Opera House for the
28th Annual Dallas Opera Guild
Vocal Competition


Sep 15   Applications Open

Nov 21   Applications Close

Feb 2     Semi-finalists announced

Feb 15   Last day for semi-finalists to submit change requests to repertoire

Apr 28  Semi-finalists expected to arrive in Dallas

Apr 29  Semi-finals

Apr 30  Finals 

Many questions may be answered by reviewing our Frequently asked Questions.

Terms and Conditions. When you submitted your application via YAP Tracker these are the terms and conditions to which you agreed. 

2016 Dallas Opera Vocal Competition honorees will be announced at a later date.