Tulsa Youth Opera

Tulsa Youth Opera is a tuition-free training program for singers in grades 3-12. TYO’s Music Director is Aaron Beck, Tulsa Opera’s Artistic Administrator and Director of Education.

Auditions for 2021-2022 will take place Saturday, August 14. Click here to schedule an audition for your student. Please note that starting in 2021-2022, high school seniors will be permitted to participate in the first semester of TYO only, and seniors must have been in TYO for at least one full year before their senior year.

For more information, please contact Aaron Beck at abeck@tulsaopera.com.

What does Tulsa Youth Opera do?
Tulsa Youth Opera provides weekly training (Tuesdays 4:15-6:00pm, starting September 14) from music professionals, which includes vocal technique, foreign language, acting, movement, and performance skills. Performances are scheduled throughout the year. Students are not required to have previous vocal training – we judge applicants on potential, not necessarily current ability – but a live audition is required.

In 2020-2021, TYO continued despite the pandemic, presenting outreach performances at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center and virtually for the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, as well as a video production of Amahl and the Night Visitors, premiering July 9 at TulsaOpera.com.

The 2021-2022 season will feature an expanded schedule with community outreach performances, a traditional annual production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Tobias Picker’s Emmeline, and a new TYO production of Aaron Copland’s The Second Hurricane. One TYO student will also be featured in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at ONEOK Field this fall.

In addition to performances like these, TYO students will also attend Pizza Night at the Opera. At Pizza Night, we’ll have a TYO pizza party before opening night of an opera, and each TYO student will be given two tickets to the opera free of charge!

Who can be in Tulsa Youth Opera?
Eligible students for TYO are entering grades three through twelve in the 2021-2022 school year. There are no geographic or demographic restrictions, and we are open to public, private, and home-schooled students.

Beginning in 2021-2022, high school seniors will be permitted to join TYO for the first semester only, and these seniors must have been in TYO for at least one year prior.

ALL students MUST be able to attend in-person rehearsals every Tuesday during the school year from 4:15pm to 6:00pm, with additional rehearsals and performances scheduled during the year TBD.

We accept all levels of students, from beginners to those with years of experience. We do not require previous vocal training!

How many students do you accept?
The short answer: as many as we feel will benefit from the program.

The long answer: Tulsa Youth Opera has varied in size from as few as 15 students to as many as 75. We generally have 80-120 students audition for the program, though this varies as well.

We do not have a set number of students we take each year. Many variables enter into the equation, including season repertoire needs, how many qualified students we hear, etc.

What is the audition process?
Parents of interested students should register for an audition at tyoauditions.as.me. There is no fee to audition or to participate in the program.

You will be asked to arrive for your audition 10 minutes early. When you arrive, you will complete an audition form. All students under 18 must have a parent present to complete the audition form.

Before or after your audition, you’ll be brought into a room for costume measurements. We measure all students at auditions, even those students who might not be admitted to the program, as this makes it much easier for our costume staff to have measurements on hand from the beginning of the season. Measurements are taken over your clothing and parents are welcome to be present for costume measurements if desired.

When you are called into the audition room, the first thing you will do is sing your three-minute prepared song. A pianist will be provided, but please make sure you bring music for the pianist! Recorded music and a cappella performances are not permitted at Tulsa Youth Opera auditions. For more information on what to sing, check out “What should I sing for my audition?” below.

After you sing your song, you may be asked to sing some scales or vocal exercises so we can get a better idea of your vocal ability. Don’t worry — we’ll walk you through these, and they should be stress-free!

Current Tulsa Youth Opera students’ auditions will be “blind” – that is to say the judge will be behind a screen and unable to see the student. We do this to keep auditions fair and anonymous so current students all start on the same footing.

Students who are not currently in Tulsa Youth Opera will have a more traditional audition where the judge can be seen. We do this so our new students will have a friendly face to put with the program, and so we can get to know our new students better before we make admissions decisions.

Parents, we don’t allow you in the audition room. Although it can seem helpful, we’ve found that the presence of parents tends to make students even more nervous than they already are!

The full audition takes no more than 5-6 minutes, and as soon as you have completed your audition form, the audition itself, and the costume measurements, you’re free to go. Students will be notified of their acceptance status within a week after auditions.

What should I sing for my audition?
All students auditioning for Tulsa Youth Opera must bring one prepared solo in a classical style for their audition. The piece should be 3 minutes or less if possible.

If your junior high or high school student has competed in district or state solo contests, the piece he/she performed at contest would be an excellent choice.

If your student is in elementary school or has not participated in district or state contests, some other good choices would be: traditional folk songs, classical-style Broadway songs (e.g. My Fair Lady or The Music Man), hymns, and patriotic songs.

Students should NOT bring: country, pop, or rock songs, or contemporary Broadway belt music.

If you don’t have a song to bring, please feel free to prepare any sort of song which shows your vocal ability. Simple songs like “America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)”, “Happy Birthday”, and “Scarborough Fair” are actually excellent choices! If you need help finding printed music for these songs (most are pretty easily available on the internet), please e-mail abeck@tulsaopera.com and we’ll be glad to help you out.

If you’ve selected a song and aren’t quite sure if it’s right for your audition, please write abeck@tulsaopera.com and we’ll let you know if what you’ve chosen will work!