The application process is now open for the 2018 Mildred Miller International Voice Competition. Young professionals aged 18–35 are encouraged to compete for cash prizes and solo roles in the 2019 Summer Season.
The Mildred Miller International Voice Competition was founded in 2012 to identify and nurture talented young singers. The competition is named for Pittsburgh Festival Opera founder Mildred Miller Posvar, who sang for 26 illustrious seasons at the Metropolitan Opera and other world capitals. Miller's acclaimed recordings include Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with conductor Bruno Walter, Mozart's Le Nozze de Figaro with Erich Leinsdorf, and the commemorative concert and album celebrating the Boston Pops Orchestra 100th anniversary with Arthur Fiedler.
Interested in the 2018 Mildred Miller International Voice Competition? The application process is now open.
Learn more about enjoying the 2018 Competition as an audience member.
Saturday 20 October 2018 from 11:00 am–1:00 pm and 3:00–6:00 pm
Mellon Institute Auditorium, Carnegie Mellon University, 4400 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213
[Entrance on Bellefield Avenue.]
Sunday 21 October 2018 from 2:00–5:00 pm
Frick Art & Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15208
Contestants must be 35 or younger on Saturday 20 October 2018.
Applications are accepted through YAPTracker only.
The application fee is $50, paid through YAPTracker.
Deadline to Apply
The application closes on Monday 1 October at 11:59 pm.
2017 Competition Finals
Three prizes will be awarded:
- 1st Prize, $6,000 which includes a $3,000 contract to sing an appropriate substantial role in a Pittsburgh Festival Opera production and a guaranteed place in the Resident Artists Program during the 2019 summer festival.
- 2nd Prize: $5,000 which includes a $3,000 contract to sing an appropriate role in a Pittsburgh Festival Opera production and a guaranteed place in the Resident Artists Program during the 2019 summer festival.
- 3rd Prize: $4,000 which includes a $3,000 contract to sing an appropriate role in a Pittsburgh Festival Opera production and a guaranteed place in the Resident Artists Program during the 2019 summer festival.
- Audience Favorite Prize: $1,000
- Finalists who don't receive a prize will receive a small travel honorarium.
Wednesday 22 August 2018
Applications become available on YAPTracker—available through 1 October 2018.
Monday 1 October 2018
Applications process closes at 11:59 pm.
Monday 8 October 2018
Notification to all semi-finalists.
Saturday 20 October 2018
Semi-final rounds begin in Pittsburgh at Mellon Institute Auditorium. The morning session will occur from 11:00 am–1:00 pm, and then will resume from 3:00–6:00 pm. (The semi-final round is open to the public free-of-charge.) At the end of the evening, all semi-finalists will be notified as to whether they have been selected to continue in the final round.
Sunday 21 October 2018
Final rounds will begin at the Frick Art & Historical Center at 2:00 pm, in a session open to the public as a ticketed event. Singers participating in the final round will be assigned a warm-up time and location. All singers in the final round (approximately 7–10 singers) will perform their selections on the first half of the program, and the judges will convene during the intermission to make their final selections. Awarding of prizes will occur at the conclusion of the event.
Immediately following the competition, all finalists will be invited to a private reception held in a nearby historic home.
Candidates must be available at the time of the competition to accept appropriate roles in the 2019 Summer Season, which runs from June 10 to July 20, 2019. Lead roles will be offered to winners in the several productions—please see YAPTracker for a list of specific operas.
What the judges look for
The Mildred Miller International Voice Competition celebrates singers who, like Ms. Miller in her stellar career, excel in singing and performing opera as drama. The competition focuses on artists who can communicate through song and word, demonstrating not only the contestant’s vocal talent and musicianship, but also making a strong dramatic impression through the synthesis of singing and acting.
Candidates are encouraged in their audition arias to create a character and both sing and act it out as fully as possible in an audition context.
Comments from past winners
Andrey Nemzer, Countertenor
Competition winner 2011, Met Finalist 2012, Operalia Awardee 2014.
Roles with PFO have included Ramiro, La Finta Giardiniera; Old Lady, Candide; Monostatos, The Magic Flute; Caesar, Julius Caesar
"I am so pleased to write to you, expressing the wonderful experiences I had at Summerfest 2012. You are all extremely talented and SummerFest is an amazing organization. Everyone was truly devoted to the great art of Opera and all involved worked from the heart.”
Juan José De León, Tenor
Competition Winner 2012, now at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Paris
Roles with PFO have included Tamino, The Magic Flute
“Performing with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh was a wonderful experience. I had the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite characters, Tamino, and breathe new life into him in a colorful and imaginative production.”
Elizabeth Baldwin, Soprano
Competition Winner 2013, San Francisco Symphony, Virginia Opera, Chautauqua Institution
Roles with PFO have included Ariadne, Ariadne on Naxos
“Thank you so much for this incredible experience of getting to work on some of my favorite music and characters! This company is truly THE BEST and I have loved every minute of it!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is Mildred Miller?
A: Mildred Miller, internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano, founded Pittsburgh Festival Opera in 1978 after twenty-three seasons at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Read the full bio of Ms. Posvar’s accomplishments.
Q: What do the prize packages include?
A: All winners are awarded a base cash prize. In addition, winners are offered an optional contract to sing an appropriate solo role and half recital during Pittsburgh Festival Opera's 2019 summer season festival for an additional payment. As part of that contract, winners who choose to join us for the summer festival may participate in the Resident Artist Program on a full scholarship. The winner may choose to decline the solo contract and Resident Artist Program, retaining the monetary prize. The winners' cash prizes are issued shortly after the competition and checks for the contract payment are received on completion of role assignments after the summer festival.
Q: I’m not available for the Summer Festival but still want to be considered for the competition’s base prizes. Is that possible?
A: No; applications will only be accepted from those who at the time of the competition (20 October 2018) are available to accept contracts for the summer season, which runs from 10 June to 21 July 2019.
Q: Can I decline a role if I feel it is not appropriate for me and still retain a base prize?
A: Yes, you may discuss role suitability with the Artistic Director, Jonathan Eaton.
Q: Do I have to make up my mind whether or not to accept a role on the same evening I am awarded the base prize?
A: No, you will be given ten days to decide whether you would like to accept the contract and role.
Q: Does Pittsburgh Festival Opera assist international applicants in securing proper passports/visas?
A: No, contestants traveling from outside the United States will be responsible for acquiring their own passports and visas. Pittsburgh Festival Opera cannot pay prize money or role contract monies to any foreign nationals who do not have proper documentation. Contestants should consult the nearest American Embassy or Consulate for advice immediately upon notification of acceptance into the competition. Pittsburgh Festival Opera will mail two formal letters of invitation to you by regular mail within one week of your acceptance that you may attach to your passport or visa application. Pittsburgh Festival Opera will not be responsible for any further facilitation of your application.
Note: Pittsburgh Festival Opera reserves the right to extend the deadline for application submissions.