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Jette Parker Young Artists Programme

The Jette Parker Young Artists Programme is run by Artistic Director David Gowland and Administrator Siri Fischer Hansen, with Assistant Georgina Wheatley.

‘Young’ Artist is in a way a misnomer. They may be at the start of their careers, but they are neither fresh out of school nor inexperienced. All have worked with professional companies and have completed a college degree. They could easily make their way in a career outside of the Programme, but have come to the Royal Opera House in order to refine their skills over a period of up to two years. The Programme normally includes ten singers, a conductor, a répétiteur and a stage director, although the configuration may be different during some seasons.

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The Jette Parker Young Artists for the 2013/14 season are:

Dušica Bijelić – soprano
David Butt Philip – tenor
Michel de Souza – baritone
Luis Gomes – tenor
Anush Hovhannisyan – soprano
Kiandra Howarth – soprano
Nadezhda Karyazina – mezzo-soprano
Rachel Kelly – mezzo-soprano
Ashley Riches – baritone

Michele Gamba
Paul Wingfield

Stage Director
Greg Eldridge 

Jette Parker Principal
Jihoon Kim – bass

Find out more about the Jette Parker Young Artists starting in September 2014.

Programme Content

The Young Artists are salaried company members and work at the Royal Opera House on a full-time basis. The singers receive daily coaching in all opera disciplines, including musical style and interpretation, languages and stage technique, as well as guidance in related issues and career development. The work of the Programme is tailored to meet the individual needs and development rates of the artists. To ensure that the Young Artists gain the full benefit of the Programme’s training, outside engagements may only be taken with the approval of The Royal Opera.

Programme Coaches

A wide range of freelance coaches work for the Programme on a regular basis, teaching movement, stage fighting and stagecraft as well as music. Language is very important, including both conversational and sung Italian, French, German and Russian, as well as Czech, Spanish and, for Young Artists from abroad, English. The Programme also funds private voice lessons with approved teachers. Workshops and individual coaching with leading international singers, conductors, directors, composers and other opera professionals are organised on a regular basis.

The Programme is extremely grateful to the Royal Opera Music Department for its generous support in the form of free coaching whenever Royal Opera music staff are available.

Work with The Royal Opera

Each singer studies major roles with the Programme’s Artistic Director, David Gowland, and with the music staff and language coaches of The Royal Opera. Young Artists sing small roles in productions on the Royal Opera House’s main stage and cover larger roles. They also have the opportunity to observe every phase of the rehearsal and production of operas for the main stage. Every facility of the company is made available to them so that their talents can be nurtured through total immersion in the life of the Royal Opera House.

Other activities at the Royal Opera House

Concert work is another important part of their training and regular performance opportunities for the Young Artists include lunchtime recitals in the Linbury Studio Theatre and the Crush Room. They also participate in the Royal Opera House’s education work in schools and at the Royal Opera House.

Young Artists Performances

The Young Artists participate in opera productions, fully-staged and with orchestra, in the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre. In addition, they give a performance each year on the main stage of the Royal Opera House.

Music Staff

The opera répétiteurs and conductors on the Programme join the music staff of The Royal Opera for rehearsals and stage duties of new and revived productions. In addition, they coach the Programme members and play for language, stagecraft and movement sessions as well as auditions. They also benefit from the language, movement and other general coaching offered by the Programme and receive mentoring from the Music Director of The Royal Opera and other conductors working with The Royal Opera.

In September 2008, the Programme was expanded to include a répétiteur and/or conductor associated mainly with The Royal Ballet. They join the music staff of The Royal Ballet for rehearsals and performance duties of new and revived ballets. They receive mentoring from the Music Director of The Royal Ballet, but are also integrated in the Programme by playing for the singers’ stagecraft and movement sessions and benefiting from the language, movement and other general coaching on offer.

Stage Director

The stage directors act as assistant directors on Royal Opera productions, stage their own production in the Linbury Studio Theatre as part of the annual Meet the Young Artists week and are responsible for the staging of the annual main stage performance. They benefit from the language, movement and other general coaching offered by the Programme, work with the other Young Artists in workshops and are assigned a mentor from the Royal Opera House’s permanent stage director staff.

Jette Parker Principal

In the 2006/7 season, a new position, Jette Parker Principal, was created, aimed at fostering a continuing association with former Young Artists while supporting their further development. Recipients are offered a one-year contract allowing them to perform roles for The Royal Opera, while retaining access to all the coaching facilities of the Programme. The position is an occasional one, only offered when a suitable balance of Royal Opera roles is available and it is believed a singer will benefit from the continuing support of the Programme and the resources of the Royal Opera House. In addition, the Programme offers music and language coaching to former members who are preparing new roles.

The Royal Opera House is extremely grateful to Oak Foundation for their generous support of this programme.

Click here to find out more about auditions.

For further information about auditions, contact the Auditions Coordinator at

For other information about the Programme, contact Siri Fischer Hansen at

or write to:
Jette Parker Young Artists Programme
Royal Opera House,
Covent Garden,
London WC2E 9DD