RCM Opera Studio

Two students performing in an opera, the man dressed as a fly sitting on a sofa, with a female student dressed in a light green, frilly dress, standing next to him, singing towards the audience, with a dark background.

The Royal College of Music Opera Studio (RCMOS) is one of the leading advanced training courses in the world. It offers operatic training at the highest level for performers from around the globe. Many of the world’s leading singers have passed through our doors.

As part of an elite and carefully constituted group of exceptionally talented young singers, each student will benefit from rigorous training, sensitive to their individual needs and responsive to the demands of the profession. Our students regularly work with a team of coaches, musicians and theatre professionals drawn from the senior ranks of the country’s leading opera companies, and perform in acclaimed productions in the first-class Britten Theatre.

The RCM’s approach to operatic training focuses on replicating professional conditions, to ensure a seamless transition into the working world. There are a number of RCMOS opera productions each year and sets of fully staged opera scenes in the Britten Theatre. Students will have the benefit of rehearsing and performing with highly experienced, influential industry professionals, who occupy key posts at the great opera houses of Europe and beyond.

In addition to receiving regular core training you will gain unique artistic and professional insights through mentorship by internationally renowned artists including Sir Thomas Allen, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Angela Gheorghiu and Edith Wiens.

Career development and support is an integral part of your studies, and we have recently held a series of virtual mentorship sessions with the eminent baritone Gerald Finley, Sophie Joyce of l'Opéra national de Paris, Richard Hetherington of the Royal Opera House, Michelle Williams of English National Opera, as well as with leading classical music agents.

The Creative Careers Centre will also assist you in taking full responsibility for the development of your professional career.

The RCM Opera Studio presents three fully staged operatic productions a year, along with opera scenes and special projects.

Recent productions

Ravel and Respighi Double Bill (Spring 2023)

Ravel L'enfant et les sortilèges
Respighi La bella dormente nel bosco

Michael Rosewell conductor
Liam Steel designer

Journey through enigmatic fantasy worlds in a sensational double bill of Ravel and Respighi.

Ravel's one-act opera, L'enfant et les sortilèges, follows an unruly child leaving a trail of broken furniture and disgruntled animals in his wake. This turbulent tantrum is only halted when something strange starts to happen to the collection of objects around him… but will the child see the error of his ways?

Also part of this double bill is a rare performance of Respighi's retelling of Sleeping Beauty. The timeless fairytale inspired the Italian composer to create an imaginative opera filled with familiar characters, whimsical storytelling and, originally, a cast of memorable puppets.

With its themes of growing up, rescuing those in need, and true love triumphing over all, this production promises to be an evening of nostalgia and musical escapism.


Orpheus in the Underworld (Autumn 2022)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Louise Bakker director

Mistaken identities, quick-witted satire – and of course, the infamous can-can! Embark on a farcical journey to hell and back with Offenbach's colourful comic opera production.

Eurydice is led into the depths of purgatory by her lover, revealed to be Pluton, ruler of the underworld in disguise. Orpheus rejoices at the disappearance of his estranged wife, but is reprimanded by Public Opinion personified – and so begins his riotous journey to bring her back from the underworld.

Flight (Summer 2022)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Jeremy Sams director
Nicky Shaw designer

A new production of Jonathan Dove's breakthrough opera – a portrait of the human experience in the least likely of operatic settings.

A refugee and an immigration officer, a diplomat and his pregnant wife, an older woman awaiting her younger fiancé, and a married couple in a rut – this somewhat motley crew are brought together as they wait for a delayed flight. As a storm rages overhead, the passengers' stories unfold around the refugee who is stranded there. This poignant story is based on the experiences of Iranian refugee Mehran Nasseri, who would also inspire Steven Spielberg's The Terminal six years later.

This production of Jonathan Dove's Flight provides episodes to make you laugh and moments for serious reflection, underscoring the differences between us – and the sense of humanity that connects us all.

Hansel and Gretel (Spring 2022)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Stephen Barlow director
Yannis Thavoris designer
Rory Beaton lighting designer

Brother and sister relationships in opera veer to the dysfunctional – most often murderous, sometimes even incestuous.

So, hurrah to Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel, a dynamic double act of sibling support who go into the woods hand in hand to find their dreams and face their demons. Though poor in means, they are rich in resourcefulness, and demonstrate that by working together in a union they are stronger than standing alone.

This new production of Humperdinck’s humdinger of an opera is set in a divided world where wishes are walled in, and witches wait for you in the west. But ultimately this story ends happily with a family reunification.

Past productions

The Magic Flute (November 2021)

Polly Graham director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Louise Bakker assistant director
Rosie Elnile designer
Hazel Low co-designer
Tim Mitchell lighting designer

Rodelinda (Filmed in July 2021)

Jo Davies director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Thomas Henderson assistant director
Joanna Parker designer
Colin Grenfell lighting designer

Trouble in Tahiti & A Dinner Engagement (Summer 2019)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Stephen Unwin director
Nicky Shaw designer
Ralph Stockeld lighting designer

Robinson Crusoe (Spring 2019)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Bill Bankes-Jones director
Sarah Jones designer

Le nozze di Figaro (August 2018)

Sir Thomas Allen director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Lottie Higlett designer
Rory Beaton lighting designer

The Lighthouse & In the Locked Room (Summer 2018)

Stephen Unwin director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Hannah Wolfe designer

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Spring 2018)

Liam Steel director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Michael Pavelka designer
Andy Purves lighting designer

The Cunning Little Vixen (Autumn 2017)

Daniel Slater director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Alex Berry designer
Hannah Wolfe costume designer

Une éducation manquée & Les mamelles de Tirésias (Summer 2017)

Stephen Unwin director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Neil Warmington designer
Ben Ormerod lighting designer

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