Conducting for Opera

The Royal Opera House, the National Opera Studio and the RPS Women Conductors Programme are piloting a week-long conducting course for opera conducting, and applications are NOW OPEN!

We will be looking for UK based participants with an interest in conducting opera and who wish to delve deeper into the specific skills required by a conductor of opera. High-level keyboard skills are desirable, however, professional musicians with a commitment to working within opera, but without keyboard skills will be considered as both participants and observers.

The 5-day course is designed for female musicians who already have a good understanding of how opera works, but may not have had experience conducting professionally or in the opera house; they may have trained as a repetiteur or singer, or have a similar background that has created a familiarity and competence with the art-form from which they feel comfortable to explore it in more detail. The work will include score preparation, approaches to different styles or repertoire, conducting recitative, co-ordinating singers and instrumentalists, and clarity of expression. The course has been inspired by the work of RPS Women Conductors and Alice Farnham, and will be led by senior conductors and musicians from the Royal Opera and the National Opera Studio, together with renowned guests, including Sian Edwards, Jane Glover and Mark Shanahan, who will help develop participants’ conducting skills in a supportive learning environment.

Applications are welcomed from UK residents who are available for the full period of the course whether as full participant or as observers.

The course will be free of cost, and will be held 3-7 September 2018 at the National Opera Studio in South London. 

Applications are to be submitted online via the application form (link below).

Deadline for application is Friday 20 April 2018.

For any questions or queries about the course, please contact

Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera:

“We are very excited to be pioneering this course for aspiring women conductors in partnership with NOS and RPS. We hope that by working together we can encourage and nurture, and eventually start to effect, some long overdue changes within a creative environment”

Emily Gottlieb, Chief Executive of The National Opera studio:

“The NOS is delighted to partner with the ROH and the RPS on this important programme, to encourage and support more talented women into the conducting profession. Our participants will benefit from the skills and expertise of three organisations which all share a deep commitment to talent development”. 

Rosemary Johnson, Executive Director of the Royal Philharmonic Society:

“RPS Women Conductors seeks to redress the gender imbalance in conducting by training and encouraging more women into this profession. We're delighted to work with the ROH and NOS to provide a really tailored opportunity to support talented women wishing to develop their professional skills and capacity for creative leadership in the operatic world.”


Tim Walker, CEO and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra: I value the RPS for supporting what we do and in particular for stimulating an interest in new music.


In 1980 pianist extraordinaire Stephen Hough won the first RPS Julius Isserlis scholarship, enabling him to study abroad at Julliard.