'In Vocal & Opera we foster a supportive environment which encourages individual excellence and artistic self-expression. Our reputation is unsurpassed.'
Vocal & Opera
Vocal and operatic study at the Royal College of Music is designed to cater for your individual talents and aspirations. Our reputation for producing international classical artists is unsurpassed and you will receive training specifically designed for outstanding young singers preparing for a successful performing career
An introduction to the Vocal & Opera Faculty
Head of Vocal & Opera, Nicholas Sears, joins soprano Gemma Summerfield and baritone Huw Montague Rendall to talk about the opportunities RCM students enjoy.
As a student-centric institution we aim to keep the individual’s needs at the core of both our one-to-one and class provision. You will work on developing a secure and flexible vocal technique and our comprehensive range of class provision will enhance all aspects of your craft. Our students graduate being able to present themselves with confidence, authority and autonomy in a professional context.
One-to-one lessons are at the very heart of every RCM student’s learning experience. The Vocal and Opera Faculty boasts an impressive team of internationally acclaimed vocal professors, repertoire and operatic coaches. Our world-class professors offer students, not only first-rate teaching, but also mentorship and networking opportunities. We also have fantastic connections with the wider industry.
There are creative opportunities to explore modern and period works in regular collaborations with the Composition and Historical Performance Faculties. We initiate cross-faculty song, chamber music and thematic-based projects working with distinguished artists both within and outside of the RCM.
The RCM Opera Studio is one of the world’s leading advanced training courses in the world. Based in our purpose-built and fully functioning Britten Theatre, its nurturing environment offers training at the highest level for performers from around the globe and we host three fully-staged operatic productions a year. All our opera productions are attended by international press and agents.
Britten, Albert Herring
Watch the RCM's 2015 production of Britten's classic chamber opera, featuring RCM alumna Janis Kelly
Royal College of Music vocal and opera students perform regularly in choral projects, solo concerts, operatic performance and much more. They also benefit from regular collaborations with English Touring Opera, London Handel Festival and the innovative production company Tête à Tête. Recent projects have also included an open workshop at Snape Maltings and performances in Paris and London with Académie de l’Opéra national de Paris and the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles.
In addition to performances within the RCM, further opportunities exist for external work through our extensive contacts in the music business and the engagements offered by the RCM Creative Careers Centre.
Vocal students benefit from regular masterclasses given by international artists and coaching from the repetiteurs of London's world-renowned opera houses.
Students perform with the RCM Symphony Orchestra
Vocal masterclass with Jonathan Lemalu
Students take part in an open workshop at Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh
Vocal masterclass with Sir Thomas Allen
One of five short opera's from a collaboration with Tête à Tête based on the themes of Crime and Punishment
RCM International Opera School's production of 'La finta giardinera'
Singers performing in the chorus of Les fêtes d’Hébé, a collaboration with the Académie de l’Opéra de Paris and Centre de musique baroque de Versailles
Recent visiting artists
Our students enjoy regular masterclasses with high profile visitors including:
- Sarah Connolly
- Susan Bullock
- Gerald Finley
- Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
- Simon Keenlyside
- Jonathan Lemalu
- Ann Murray
- Sir Thomas Allen
- Sir John Tomlinson
- Roderick Williams
- Roger Vignoles
Recent directors for operatic productions have included:
- Jean-Claude Auvray
- Bill Bankes-Jones
- Lee Blakely
- Iain Burnside
- Tim Carroll
- James Conway
- John Copley CBE
- Paul Curran
- Jo Davies
- David Fielding
- Stephen Fry
- Donald Maxwell
- Liam Steele
- Alessandro Talevi
RCM vocal students enjoy regular collaborations with:
- English Touring Opera
- London Handel Festival
- Tête à Tête
RCM vocal students regularly win prizes at international singing competitions including:
- BBC Cardiff Singer of the World
- Cesti International Singing Competition
- Göttingen Competition
- Kathleen Ferrier Awards
- Maggie Teyte Competition
- Royal Over-Seas League Singing Competition
- Viñes Competition
- Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition
Many progress onto internationally renowned Young Artist Programmes including:
- Bayerische Staatsoper Opera Studio
- English National Orchestra Harewood Young Artists
- Frankfurt Ensemble
- Houston Grand Opera Studio
- Jette Parker Royal Opera House
- Jardin de Voix
- National Opera School
- Opéra National du Rhin
- Theater an der Wien
- Zurich Opera Young Artists Programme
RCM singers have gone on to perform with renowned companies across the globe, many performing principal roles on the world's greatest operatic stages. Such destinations include:
- Bayerische Staatsoper
- Deutsche Opera
- English National Opera
- Garsington Opera
- Glyndebourne Festival Opera
- Grange Park Opera
- Houston Grand Opera
- La Scala, Milan
- Liceu, Barcelona
- Lyric Opera of Chicago
- Metropolitan Opera, New York
- Oper Frankfurt
- Opéra Bastille
- Opera North
- Royal Albert Hall Scottish Opera
- Royal Festival Hall
- Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
- Theater an der Wien
- Théâtre des Champs-Elysées
- Théâtre du Châtelet
- Vienna State Opera
- Welsh National Opera
- Wigmore Hall
- Sir Thomas Allen
- Sophie Bevan
- Alfie Boe
- Sarah-Jane Brandon
- Sally Burgess
- Paul Charles Clarke
- Sarah Connolly
- Roderick Earle
- Gerald English
- Dame Anne Evans
- Helen Field
- Gerald Finley
- Michael George
- Martyn Hill
- Jason Howard
- Ruby Hughes
- Jacques Imbrailo
- Neil Jenkins
- Ben Johnson
- Della Jones
- Dame Gwyneth Jones
- Rosemary Joshua
- Janis Kelly
- Andrew Kennedy
- Jonathan Lemalu
- Jenny Lind
- Valerie Masterson
- Pumeza Matshikiza
- Vuyani Mlinde
- Robert Murray
- Anna Maria Panzarella
- Ian Partridge
- Sir Peter Pears
- Catherine Pope
- Dame Joan Sutherland
- Camilla Tilling
- Tomas Tomasson
- Sarah Walker
- Elizabeth Watts
- Catherine Wyn-Rogers
- Lawrence Zazzo
The RCM’s Creative Careers Centre, which is recognised internationally for its innovative approach to supporting young musicians, provides an unparalleled service to current students and recent alumni. The dedicated team partners with leading consultants, reputable arts organisations and local communities, delivering unique career-building opportunities and a direct route to the music industry.
The work of the Creative Careers Centre allows students to discover their professional identity, gain hands-on experience and new skills, develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and build a fulfilling professional portfolio.
Extensive performance and teaching opportunities are available, as well as valuable guidance on CV and biography writing, concert programming, communication skills, project management, marketing and publicity, online promotion, financial matters and how to develop a business idea.
We continually invest in our facilities to ensure RCM students have the very best opportunities. Our impressive performance spaces are matched by top-quality academic and technical provisions, such as our historic library and professional grade studios. The Royal College of Music is proud to offer some of the finest facilities anywhere in the world.
The RCM’s largest performance spaces are the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, which has an illustrious history, and the 400-seat Britten Theatre, which boasts excellent technical facilities for the RCM’s thriving International Opera School. In addition, more intimate spaces include The Parry Rooms, which have unparalleled views of the Royal Albert Hall, and our 100-seat Recital Hall.
As well as practice rooms and space for one-to-one and group teaching, the RCM contains dedicated opera rehearsal spaces, 11 Amadeus Music Pods and organ rooms. We have over 140 pianos, including 60 grand pianos and 20 early keyboards, instrument storage with special facilities for harps and double basses, plus in-house instrument workshops.
RCM Studios is a top commercial-grade facility, equipped with the latest audio, video and composition technologies, supporting the RCM’s recording needs and enabling live broadcast of performances around the world.
The RCM Library contains more than 400,000 items of printed music, 9,000 CD recordings, extensive music literature, more than 400 music journals, plus an internationally renowned collection of original manuscripts (including examples from Mozart and Elgar) and early printed editions.
The RCM Museum holds more than 1,000 instruments dating from the late 15th century to the present day, some of which are the earliest known examples of their kind. The collection is a unique resource and many of the instruments can be studied or played by RCM students.
The public museum is currently closed for refurbishment, but its vital resources are still available to our students.
Latest from the Vocal & Opera Faculty
Esteemed RCM alumnus Sir Thomas Allen returns this autumn to direct Mozart’s beloved comic opera The Marriage of Figaro.
The Royal College of Music is to become the first conservatoire to partner with international opera streaming platform OperaVision.
Announcing the remarkable musicians who will be piano accompaniment and junior fellows for the 2018/19 academic year.
Internationally renowned musicians welcomed to the RCM for the 2018 Autumn Season.
Acclaimed theatre director Stephen Unwin is joining forces with Michael Rosewell for a thrilling opera double-bill this summer.
Contact the Vocal & Opera Faculty
If you have any general queries about vocal at the RCM please contact our Vocal & Opera Faculty Administration team. If you have any queries about auditions or the admissions process, please contact our Admissions team.
Vocal & Opera Faculty administration
General enquiries about the operation of the faculty and consultation lessons
Admissions and general audition enquiries