University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance)

The study of opera within the Masters degree contributes to a comprehensive, research and practice-based opera training for singers who face a highly competitive and dynamic career path. The course recognises the need to connect students to national and international professional practice, and to give them the knowledge, understanding, expertise and personal skills to compete in an increasingly competitive international market. The Sydney Conservatorium of Music has an outstanding record for producing opera singers and is uniquely placed in Australia to produce young singers who find work on national and international opera stages. This course provides excellent training in the four key areas of opera voice and performance, opera repertoire, opera diction/language and stage skills. Each of these is drawn together in two staged, orchestrally-accompanied performances of operas per year, providing students with experience at a professional level which helps to equip them to enter the profession.

Applicants should be at least 21 years old by 1 March of the year in which they intend to enrol.

Language requirements for international candidates

An IELTS level of 7.0 with no component below 6.5 is required for entry to these degrees.

Course structure

The Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance) is designed to meet the needs of advanced graduates and young professional singers who wish to extend their performance skills and knowledge in the context of operatic repertoire and current professional practice. The course aim to develop and refine the technical and interpretive qualities of the student’s voice as an operatic instrument, developing self-sufficiency in repertoire choice and role selection, preparation and performance. There is a strong focus on text-related matters in various kinds of vocal music to foster the development of skills as an interpreter in the major operatic languages, and on the stage skills required for opera. Candidates take weekly lessons and vocal coaching, Italian, French and German, acting, movement and stagecraft. They participate in master classes, ensemble rehearsals and staged performances to develop skills as an operatic performer, with particular emphasis on character (role) building, effective stage presentation, understanding of emotional context and general communication skills. In the Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance) all students will also complete a capstone experience that unites the themes of the course in a major fully-documented, performance-as-research performance portfolio.

All students enrolled in the Opera program will be required to participate in stage productions.

Typical enrolment patterns

The program is normally available only for full-time study. The following table show the normal full-time enrolment pattern for the Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance).

Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance)
Semester 1   Semester 2  

VSAO5603 Advanced Opera Performance Voice 1

6 VSAO5604 Advanced Opera Performance Voice 2 6

VSAO5633 Advanced Opera Repertoire 1

6 VSAO5634 Advanced Opera Repertoire 2 6

VSAO5623 Advanced Opera Performance Stage 1

6 VSAO5624 Advanced Opera Performance Stage 2 6

VSAO5613 Advanced Opera Diction 1

6 VSAO5614 Advanced Opera Diction 2 6
  24   24
Semester 3   Semester 4  

VSAO5605 Advanced Opera Performance Voice  3


VSAO5606 Advanced Opera Performance Voice  4 6

VSAO5635 Advanced Opera Repertoire 3

6 VSAO5636 Advanced Opera Repertoire 4 6

VSAO5625 Advanced Opera Performance Stage 3

6 VSAO5626 Advanced Opera Performance Stage 4 6

VSAO5615 Advanced Opera Diction 3

6 VSAO5616 Advanced Opera Diction 4 6
  24   24


Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance)

These resolutions must be read in conjunction with applicable University By-laws, Rules and policies including (but not limited to) the University of Sydney (Coursework) Rule 2010 (the ‘Coursework Rule’), the Resolutions of the Faculty, the University of Sydney (Student Appeals against Academic Decisions) Rule 2006 (as amended)and the Academic Board policies on Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism.

Course resolutions

1 Course codes


Course and stream title


Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance)

2 Attendance pattern

The attendance pattern for these courses is normally full time. Part time study may be permitted upon successful application.

3 Master's type

This master’s degree is an advanced learning master’s course, as defined by the Coursework Rule.

4 Admission to candidature

Available places will be offered to qualified applicants in the order in which complete applications are received, according to the following admissions criteria.
Admission to candidature requires:
a master’s degree in an appropriate discipline as determined by the faculty; or
a pass bachelor’s degree with a credit average, or an honours bachelor’s degree from the University of Sydney, or an equivalent qualification in an appropriate discipline as determined by the faculty; or
an award of graduate diploma from the University of Sydney, or an equivalent qualification in an appropriate discipline as determined by the faculty; or
completion of the requirements of the embedded graduate diploma in this discipline from the University of Sydney, or an equivalent qualification; and
successful completion of an audition and an interview.

5 Requirements for the award

The units of study that may be taken for the course are set out in the Table for Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance).
To qualify for the award of the Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance) a candidate must complete 96 credit points, including:
Core advanced units of study; and
A capstone experience as described in the handbook.
Candidates may also apply to undertake an optional 12 credit points of research as part of their degree.

6 Examination

For each semester of the degree the Faculty shall appoint an examination panel comprising three members (excluding the Principal Study teacher) to assess the candidate's performance in principal study units.