Ends in 9 hours, 59 minutes

$25.00 USD

Deadline Extension:  January 19

Thank you for your interest in the 2017-2018 WNO Opera Institute at American University! 

Please read the full instructions and program information below, as well as the information on the application form, carefully.

You may save and close your application at any time before submitting.  Once you submit your application, you may no longer make changes.  

The Kennedy Center welcomes all applicants.

All audition and program spaces are wheelchair accessible.

If you have questions about accessibility or accommodations, you may contact the Office of Accessibility directly at (202) 416-8727 (voice) or access@kennedy-center.org.

WNO Education staff is here to assist you.  Detailed instructions and information have been provided to help you prepare a strong application and audition--please read all available materials carefully.  If, after reading the website and this application, you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at (202) 416-8846 or operainstitute@kennedy-center.org.


  • All applications must be submitted online on or before 11:59 PM (EST) on January 19, 2018.
  • Applicants must schedule a live audition OR submit a video audition.
  • Live auditions can be scheduled at https://operainstitute18.youcanbook.me.  Audition times are limited; scheduling early is recommended.
  • Video auditions must be uploaded as part of this online application by January 19, 2018.
  • You will receive a confirmation email when your application has been submitted.  You may need to whitelist Submittable.com to receive this email.  If you don't receive an email, please check your spam folder.
  • You may save your application at any time and return to it later. However, once you submit your application, you may not make changes.
  • Payment:  The application fee is $25. Payment via credit card, debit card, or PayPal is strongly preferred. If these options are not possible for you, please contact operainstitute@kennedy-center.org to discuss alternative payment options.  We will be happy to work with you.

Application Requirements


Applicants must be high school students ages 15-18 who are currently in grades 9-12 and have experience as classical singers.


Please prepare two art songs; one must be in Italian.
Arias from the standard opera and operetta repertoire, as well as musical theater selections, are not permitted and will not be heard. Art songs such as those in the 24 Italian Songs and Arias and similar are suggested.  
Selections must be memorized.

Live Auditions

Live auditions are preferred for students within driving distance of Washington, DC.  (We understand that occasionally this is not possible; if you live within a four-hour drive of the Kennedy Center and cannot audition live, please contact us. You will be welcome to submit a video audition.)  An accompanist will be provided for live auditions; students may not bring their own accompanist. Students will not be able to rehearse with the accompanist ahead of time, but will be able to briefly discuss tempo and any other markings. Audition dates are Saturday, January 20 and Sunday, February 4. Schedule your audition early; availability is limited.  Live audition spaces are wheelchair accessible.  See https://operainstitute18.youcanbook.me for instructions and to book your audition.

Video Auditions

Students should only submit a video audition if they are not able to attend a live audition. The video must be uploaded as part of this application.


Required for All Applicants

  • Online application form
  • Essay
    • Essays must be one page in length
    • Documents may be uploaded as PDF or Word documents.  Pages files will not be accepted
  • Application fee of $25
  • Letter of recommendation (1) 
    • Letters of recommendation must be received within three days after the application deadline
    • Students are responsible for communicating with their referrer to ensure that the recommendation is received. Prior to submitting the application, students should confirm that the teacher is willing to provide a reference and that they enter the correct email address for the teacher.
    • Students will enter the referrer's email address into the online application form. Once the application is submitted, the teacher will receive an automatically generated email with instructions on how to upload a letter of recommendation. The student should ask the teacher to whitelist Submittable.com to ensure that this email is received.  
    • Letters of reference can be uploaded as PDF or Word documents. Pages files will not be accepted.
    • If your teacher has technical issues submitting a letter, you ore your teacher may contact Submittable's help options through the application site. If this does not work or if your issues are not technical, please contact operainstitute@kennedy-center.org and we will be happy to assist you.
  • Photo The photo does not have to be a professional headshot, although you may use a headshot if you have one. Photos are only used to identify students in review. A photo showing the applicant from the shoulders up is preferred; no hats or sunglasses may be worn.

Required for Live Applicants

Required for Video Applicants

  • Two audition selections as described above, which may be submitted as one video or as two separate videos.
  • Students should announce their name, the name of their selection, and the composer of their selection at the beginning of the video; be dressed for an audition; and have the camera set to show a full-length shot of them for the entirety of their performance.
  • Selections that do not fit requirements (arias, musical theater selections, etc.) will not be reviewed. 

Optional for all applicants

  • Résumé (may not exceed one single-sided page)
  • Scholarship Application (see below)

Scholarship Applications

WNO Opera Institute has partial and full tuition scholarships available for students with financial need. However, all students are encouraged to find additional funding through businesses in their community, their schools, and local music societies.

Scholarship applications are separate from the online application, and must be received by February 5, 2018, by mail, or turned in at the live audition. Scholarship applications and instructions can be downloaded via the link found at http://education.kennedy-center.org/education/wno/operainstitute/admissions.cfm. Supporting documentation must be included with the scholarship application form to be considered for financial assistance.  Contact us with questions at operainstitute@kennedy-center.org with questions.

Students should not wait to hear of their acceptance to the program to submit requests for financial assistance.  Please be sure to submit the application along with full documentation by February 5. 

Questions or Concerns

If you have technical issues with the application, please use Submittable's help options through the application website.  For all other questions or concerns, please contact operainstitute@kennedy-center.org or (202) 416-8846.
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