The application for Joyce DiDonato’s 2018 Master Class series, which will take place April 21–23, is now available. The deadline to apply is January 24, 2018. We offer the following suggestions for getting your application materials into the best possible shape for submission: 

Résumé & Biography

Your résumé should be a single page in length and should include:

  • Your name and contact information.
  • Your voice type.
  • Performance experience, including company/location and year. 
  • Awards and competitions.
  • Education and training. 
  • Teachers, coaches, conductors and directors with whom you have worked. 
  • Relevant special skills. 

Your biography should be about 100 words for these applications and should briefly tell your story in narrative form. Highlight significant performances and other accomplishments. 

For additional guidance, please see our Singer’s Audition Handbook post on creating effective print materials


Headshot photography has become increasingly varied and creative in recent years. Full-color is now standard, but your headshot can have vertical or horizontal orientation and can be more of a full-body photo than a just a close-up of your face if you wish. Choose the photo that best expresses your personality. 

If you are planning to create some new headshots for the coming season, you’ll find some great advice in our post, How to Take a Great Headshot

Audition Video

Please submit unedited video performances of two opera arias. One should be in Italian and the other in a language of your choice. Please note that audio-only files will not be accepted

Demos and live performances can both demonstrate your artistry effectively when presented well. Here are recommended guidelines for each:

Video Audition Demos

  1. Consider lighting, framing, and camera placement. Film in a well-lit space and be sure that there is more lighting in front than from behind. Place the camera so that your entire body and your full range of motion are in the frame at all times, and so we can see both you and your pianist. Choose a medium distance that shows as much detail as possible while still allowing the image to be framed as described above. 
  2. Place the camera on a tripod or flat surface when shooting. 
  3. Test the audio level so that there is no distortion during the loudest passages of your selections, and so the softest portions can be heard. If possible, consider using an external microphone connected to your camera. 
  4. Choose repertoire that you can execute well in a single take.
  5. Position your camera horizontally in order to film in the same orientation that is the standard for movies and television. 
  6. Perform with live accompaniment – never use a pre-recorded track for a recorded audition. 
  7. Dress more or less as you would for a live audition, but you can change clothes between takes and make some wardrobe adjustments to help define your character (e.g. mezzos can don pants for pants roles, but nothing too costumy).

Videos of Live Performances

  1. As with a video audition demo, only use performances recorded on a mounted camera, filmed with horizontal orientation. 
  2. Use performances where your face can be seen clearly. If the camera is too far back or you are not well-framed, the video will not serve you well in auditions.
  3. Use performances of repertoire that shows off your superpowers. If an opera role does not represent your range or best abilities well, it may be better to make a demo recording with piano of an aria that does.
  4. Edit selections excerpted from performances of larger works so that they begin and end with the aria you wish to share with us. 
  5. Be respectful of permissions issues. Make sure that whoever made this video, the producing organization, and the other singers involved agree to your sharing it for audition purposes.

You will upload your video files using the Weill Music Institute’s online application tool (DecisionDesk). The following common digital formats are accepted: AVI, M4V, MP4, MOV, MPG, WMV. File sizes up to 5 GB are accepted. We recommend using a format and resolution that is consistent with high quality internet video. 

A number of singers who participated in master classes at Carnegie Hall in previous seasons have kindly agreed to let us share their audition videos to serve as examples.

Natalie Conte, soprano, 2014 participant in The Song Continues

Giuseppe Verdi: Stornello

Brennan Hall, countertenor, 2014 participant in The Song Continues

Ernest Chausson: Le temps des lilas

Kayleigh Decker, mezzo-soprano, participant in the 2015 Joyce DiDonato Master Classes

Gioacchino Rossini, Una voce poco fa from Il barbiere di Siviglia

Gerard Schneider, tenor, participant in the 2015 Joyce DiDonato Master Classes

Francesco Cilea: Lamento di Federico from L’arlesiana

Bear in mind that there are many recording environments and a wide range of equipment that will produce a successful video. For additional guidance on creating and submitting video demos, please see our post on How to Make a Great Demo Recording


Applicants to Joyce DiDonato’s Master Classes must submit a short essay of 250 words or less answering the question “Why do you sing?” Joyce would like to get a sense of your personality and your relationship to singing. As she has put it, at the heart of a singer’s artistry is “the voice that is your soul / spirit / heart ~ however you may choose to define it. It is the inner ‘thing’ inside of you that needs to be shared… so we can begin to have a glimpse of who we are, and therefore begin to discover exactly what it is we desire to say.”


As part of the application, you will be asked to enter e-mail addresses for your recommenders—two are required and a third is optional. They will receive a link to an online recommendation form after you submit your completed application. Please note that this e-mail will be sent directly from DecisionDesk (not Carnegie Hall). Your references will have until January 31, 2018 to complete and submit their confidential recommendations.

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