The Young Artists Program (YAP), newly restructured for 2020 and beyond, has been an integral part of the Pittsburgh Festival Opera educational mission since its inception. The program provides training and performance experience for talented singers at the beginning of their professional careers. This program accepts opera singers, coach/accompanists and stage directors.

Snuggery Farm performance

The Young Artists Program is no longer a tuition-based program. Instead, singers are selected through national auditions to be invited to participate in the Pittsburgh Festival Opera summer season and paid a stipend and provided housing for the festival’s duration.

The variety of nurturing experiences, an intensified performance period, and exposure to professional artists in the field allows YAPs to focus on education through performance. Young Artists will perform and cover appropriate roles in all mainstage productions and receive special attention in the preparation of audition, recital and art song repertoire with renowned artists including Jane Eaglen who returns to the Pittsburgh Festival Opera young artists faculty in 2020.


During the 5-week intensive period, YAPs are selected to perform in private masterclasses. Prior masterclasses have been led by such esteemed artists as Jane Eaglen, Marianne Cornetti, Mildred Miller Posvar, Maria Spacagna, Raymond Very, Danielle Pastin, Brian Kontes and Mark Trawka.
The 2020 Young Artists Program will be held from June 22 - July 26, 2020.

 Applications now open


Young Artists are cast in as many appropriate roles as possible, as well as in all cover roles. 

This is an excellent program for young directors interested in learning the craft of opera directing. Not only did it teach me how to direct, it taught me the skill set I needed to be an assistant director for a large company.
David Toro, former stage director

This is the first time I have felt completely supported as an artist and human being simultaneously. Bravi tutti to everyone for treating us as colleagues, but also nurturing us in the areas we need to grow.
Young Artist


Pittsburgh Festival Opera is able to provide housing, however all YAPs must pay a $150 housing deposit which is refunded after move-out of company-provided housing. All YAPs may also choose to supply their own housing. No deposit required for self-managed housing.

Food and transportation

Each artist is responsible for his/her own food and for transportation to and from Pittsburgh - no travel stipend is available at this time. When necessary, once in Pittsburgh, very limited local transportation will be supplied by Pittsburgh Festival Opera. Therefore, all Artists are very strongly encouraged to bring their own cars and parking. Application information

The application fee of $40 guarantees an audition or interview for Pittsburgh Festival Opera until audition slots are filled and the respective audition time and location are crossed out on the YapTracker application. You can schedule your audition time yourself through YapTracker; check back periodically to see if additional slots open up. Auditions submitted via recording will be equally considered.


Audition Cities

For the 2020 season, we expect to audition in Pittsburgh, Boston, Detroit and New York City, mostly over weekends, from November 9 - December 7th, 2019. (See dates below.)

What a marvelous experience this has been. I must extend my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude… you have assembled a fine, fine group of musicians here, an excellent staff, and an overall amazing performance and learning experience. Thank you so much for everything. I have had a most memorable experience, and I hope to work with you again in the future.
Jesse Leong, Pianist


Roles and Casting Policy

2020 Season Repertoire* includes

TBD TBD Some roles and all understudies available to Young Artists
TBD TBD      Some roles and all understudies available to Young Artists
TBD TBD All roles and all understudies available to Young Artists
TBD TBD Some roles and all understudies available to Young Artists


All productions are sung in English with English projected English titles.

We expect a significant number of roles—including lead roles— to be cast with Young Artists. Additional opportunities expected to include recitals, weekly masterclasses, and more!

*Note: Repertoire subject to change.

PFO takes great pleasure in casting Young Artists in solo activities as much as possible. 

Thank you for seeing my potential and taking a chance on me, It has been such an honor to work on this magnificent Strauss project and it has been such a gift to get to grow as an artist over three summers with the festival.
Julia Fox, former Young Artist



Past Voice Faculty

  • Mildred Miller Posvar, (company founder), mezzo, 23 years at the Metropolitan Opera
  • Robert Chafin, tenor, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Salzburg Festival, Deutsche Oper Berlin
  • Demareus Cooper, soprano, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Long Beach Opera
  • Jeremy Galyon, bass, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera
  • Dimitrie Lazich, baritone, Opera Philadelphia, Staatsoper Stuttgart
  • Milutin Lazich, bass-baritone, Pittsburgh Festival Opera; Professor, Clarion University
  • Craig Priebe, baritone, New York City Opera, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
  • Anna Singer, soprano, New York City Opera, Virginia Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, New Bulgarian Opera
  • Laura Knoop Very, soprano, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera
  • Daniel Teadt, baritone, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Arizona Opera, Pittsburgh Opera
  • Raymond Very, tenor, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Hamburg State Opera, Bavarian State Opera
  • Blythe Walker, soprano, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera
  • Andrew Cummings, baritone, Atlanta Opera, Opera in the Heights

Past Repertoire coaches

  • Brent McMunn, conductor, New York City Opera, Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Music Director Thornton School of Music USC
  • Bernard McDonald, conductor, Glyndebourne, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera
  • Hyery Hwang, Principal Coach, Pittsburgh Festival Opera
  • Doug Levine, conductor, Musical Theater coach

Past Stagecraft coaches

  • Daniel Rigazzi, Metropolitan Opera directing staff
  • Tome' Cousin, Broadway veteran, choreographer, director
  • Scott Wise, Pittsburgh Playhouse

Past Master Classes

  • Marianne Cornetti
  • Robert Croan
  • Jane Eaglen
  • Timothy LeFebvre
  • Mildred Miller Posvar
  • Eugene Perry
  • Melanie Sonnenberg
  • Maria Spacagna
  • Brian Kontes
  • Raymond Very
  • Hope Koehler
  • Danielle Pastin


Application Process

All applications must be submitted online (electronic applications only) at and deadlines are listed, varying by audition location. Please note that the application process varies somewhat for singers, pianists and directors.

Auditions are self-scheduled on YAPTracker. Recorded auditions are also accepted.

The application fee of $40 guarantees a live audition or interview as long as audition slots are available. Recorded auditions are also accepted with a $40 fee.

Should slots appear full, check back periodically on YAPTracker to see whether additional slots have been opened up. When all of the slots for a particular location are filled, the audition time and location are crossed out on the YAPTracker application. 


One of my favorite musical summers ever was spent this past summer in Pittsburgh with Pittsburgh Festival Opera!
Katie Beck, 2016 Featured Artist


Auditions and Interviews

You may request an audition or interview at any of the following locations, depending on demand. Photo ID is required for entry at all auditions and interviews.

Please note that some audition dates and/or times may become available at a later date. Recorded auditions will also be accepted.

  • Boston, MA
    Saturday, November 10th, 2019
    Room 118, Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115 
  • New York, NY
    Wednesday, November 13th through Friday, November 15th
    The American Opera Center, 330 7th Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10001

  • Detroit, MI
    Saturday, November 16th
    Christ Church Detroit
  • Pittsburgh
, PA
    Friday, December 6th and 7th
    School of Music, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
  • Recorded Auditions
    For singers only: follow repertoire requirements below, and submit via YAPTracker
    DEADLINE TO APPLY: Monday, December 8th


Pianists Auditions
Pianists: Two opera excerpts and one performance piece of your own choosing.  Be prepared to sing singers' lines from one of your prepared opera excerpts. You will also be asked to sight-read.
Pianists, please plan to audition on: 
November 15th: New York City, NY
November 16th: Detroit, MI
December 6th and 7th: Pittsburgh, PA

Assistant Directors Interviews
Please Submit a short video introducing yourself and your approach to working with young singers and outlining your approach on directing, including handling text, and director-designer relationship and a video excerpt of a production or scene that you have directed (maximum 15 minutes). 

You will be notified separately to schedule a video conference interview with Artistic Administrator, Lindsay Lehman.

Singers Audition Repertoire
Each singer should bring 3 contrasting arias, one of which must be in English. Each candidate will begin with the aria of his/her choice. The next selection(s) will be chosen by the PFO representative. An accompanist will be provided at each audition, although candidates are free to bring their own. All audition slots will be 8-10 minutes. Singers are encouraged to act out and perform as fully as possible all of their choices: please feel free to move about the room, not stay rooted to the piano, and convince us of your acting ability as much as of your singing ability and musicianship! Repertoire requirements for recorded auditions are the same as live auditions.



Meet Rob Frankenberry, Director, Young Artists Program

Rob leads a multifaceted career as a vocalist, pianist, educator, actor, and conductor. As music director for Pittsburgh Festival Opera, he has collaborated on critically-praised new productions of a wide-range of works, including “reimaginings”of works by Offenbach (The Tales of Hoffmann - Retold) and Bizet (Carmen: the Gypsy) and site-specific productions of Orpheus & Eurydice by both Gluck and Ricky Ian Gordon (presented as Euridice and Orpheus), Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow-Fallingwater version, and Montemezzi’s L’Incantesimo (The Love Spell); and has led the premieres of the Night Caps- also contributing as a composer- and Night Caps International projects, Roger Zahab’s Happy Hour, Gilda Lyons’ A New Kind of Fallout, and Dwayne Fulton’s A Gathering of Sons. Since joining the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Theatre Arts in 2015, Robert has provided vocal direction and musical support for Pitt Stages’ productions of Nine, Peter & the Starcatcher, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; musical direction for Hair and Little Shop of Horrors; and direction for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Parade. On stage, he has performed a wide range of roles including Mozart (Amadeus), John Adams (1776), Carl-Magnus (A Little Night Music), Bacchus (Ariadne auf Naxos), and the title roles in Don Carlo, The Tales of Hoffmann, Faust, and Willy Wonka. A charter member of the New Mercury Collective, he originated the role of Orson Welles in Daron Hagen’s Orson Rehearsed in collaboration with Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble in September 2018. At the piano, he performs regularly as an active member of numerous ensembles including Pittsburgh’s IonSound and AnimeBOP; New York City’s The Phoenix Players and PRISM Players; and multi-city entelechron and Chrysalis Duo. He can be heard singing and playing on the Naxos, Albany, New World Records, Roven Records, New Dynamic Records, and Innova labels.