University of Sydney Handbooks - 2017 Archive

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Graduate Diploma in Music (Opera Performance)

The study of opera within the Graduate Diploma 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. The 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 Graduate Diploma in Music (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 aims 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.

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

Typical enrolment pattern

This program is normally available only for full-time study. The following table show the normal full-time enrolment pattern for the Graduate Diploma in Music (Opera Performance).

Graduate Diploma in Music (Opera Performance)
Semester 1   Semester 2  

VSAO5601 Opera Performance Voice 1

6 VSAO5602 Opera Performance Voice 2 6

VSAO5631 Opera Repertoire 1

6 VSAO5632 Opera Repertoire 2 6

VSAO5621 Opera Performance Stage 1

6 VSAO5622 Opera Performance Stage 2 6

VSAO5611 Opera Language 1

6 VSAO5612 Opera Language 2 6
  24   24

Course Rules


Graduate Diploma in Music (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 2014 (the 'Coursework Rule'), the Coursework Policy 2014, 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. Up to date versions of all such documents are available from the Policy Register:

Course resolutions

1 Course codes


Course title


Graduate Diploma in Music (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 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 the graduate diploma requires:
a bachelor’s degree of higher award from the University of Sydney, or an equivalent qualification, in an appropriate discipline as determined by the faculty; or
a graduate certificate from the University of Sydney, or an equivalent qualification, in an appropriate discipline as determined by the faculty; or
completion of the requirements of an embedded graduate certificate in an appropriate discipline, as determined by the faculty, from the University of Sydney, or an equivalent qualification; or
in exceptional circumstances the Dean may admit applicants without these qualifications but whose evidence of experience and achievement is deemed by the Dean to be equivalent, and
successful completion of an audition and an interview.

4 Requirements for award

The units of study that may be taken for the course are set out in the Table for Graduate Diploma in Music (Opera Performance).
To qualify for the award of the Graduate Diploma in Music (Opera Production) a candidate must complete 48 credit points of prescribed core units of study.

5 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.

6 Transitional provisions

These resolutions apply to students who commenced their candidature after 1 January, 2013.