Welcome to Washington, D.C.

Welcome to Washington, D.C.


The Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland areas offer a wide array of professional opportunities for singers of all abilities, genres, and styles. 

 

OPERA

Washington National Opera 

WNO, a Level-I company (an annual budget over $15,000,000), presents a variety of traditional works alongside world premieres, and boasts an international cast of solo artists. Opportunities for up-and-coming singers include participation in the highly competitive Cafritz Young Artists Program. Geared towards young singers on the cusp of international careers, these artists receive training and performance opportunities with WNO ranging from mainstage to community engagements to taking on leading roles in Washington National’s American Opera Initiative. 

Many D.C. area-based singers perform with the Washington National Opera Chorus. Because WNO is an AGMA (American Guild of Musical Artists) signatory, singers must either be an AGMA member in good standing or join ($1,000 initiation fee and an annual $100 fee) in order to participate. Once in the ensemble, singers perform alongside worldclass artists and receive the negotiated AGMA rate for rehearsals and performances. For many singers, the WNO chorus serves as an excellent financial side hustle. 

Washington Concert Opera

With two productions each year, Washington Concert Opera’s mission is to highlight bel canto singing in a concert format that features worldclass singers. Many of their solo artists are well established professionals, often with international credits. However, there is a chance to join the organization through its 40-voice chorus, which is entirely professional artists. WCO is an AGMA signatory and posts auditions through their own website as well as AGMA’s. 

INSERIES

Featuring a diverse, adventurous repertoire, many D.C. area-based performers enjoy a fruitful collaboration with INSERIES. The company hires up-and-coming singers as well as established veterans like Met artist Kevin Short. With a reputation for engagement, accessibility, and theatricality, INSERIES is a unique company that is artist and production focused.

Opera Baltimore

Formerly Baltimore Concert Opera, the newly named Opera Baltimore continues to carve out a unique space in the Baltimore-D.C. operatic scene. Opera Baltimore offers multiple performance opportunities ranging from leading roles and chorus in mainstage concert and fully staged operas, soloist performances in recital, their Thirsty Thursday concerts, and a multitude of community events. Artists range from those singing leading roles internationally to thrilling up-and-coming singers on the brink of exciting careers.

Maryland Opera

Also located in Baltimore, Maryland Opera offers a series of concerts with chamber orchestra and features a roster of singers with credits at the Met, San Francisco Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Additionally, Maryland Opera offers an Opera Camp for young singers interested in opera. Often the graduates of the Opera Camp get to perform alongside established artists in the opera company’s concert performances.

Bel Cantanti Opera

This D.C.-based opera company is the little engine that could. Each season, Bel Cantanti offers singers an opportunity to sing full roles in staged productions as well as concerts ranging from operetta to Russian art song. Singers in as well as outside the D.C. area often sing with Bel Cantanti.

Annapolis Opera

Half an hour outside of D.C. sits Annapolis Opera. Like many D.C.-area opera companies, its budget size does not prevent it from securing high-level artists who have national and international credits. It balances this out by employing many regional artists as well. Each season, artists are offered lead, supporting, and cover opportunities and are selected through auditions held in Philadelphia and Annapolis.


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Wolf Trap Opera

Nestled in Vienna, Virginia, Wolf Trap Opera assembles highly skilled young singers to serve as Filene Artists. Among some of the best singers in major U.S. programs (Met, AVA, Lyric Opera, Houston, Santa Fe), Filene Artists are hired through competitive auditions. What makes Wolf Trap unique is that the repertoire is chosen after the artists are selected. Supporting the Filene Artists are Wolf Trap’s Studio Artists, who are usually still in school but show a high level of promise.

Opera Lafayette

Opera Lafayette has gained a reputation for performing lesser known operatic works from the 17th to 19th centuries. Combining rising stars, intimate staging, and musicians playing on period instruments, its mission is to educate its audience through scholarship into the works it presents as well as to entertain its audience with fresh, unique modern takes on the classical gems. Opera Lafayette offers a Young Artist Program for singers interested in performance of operas from this time period.

 

SOLO RECITAL/SONG 

DC Strings

Now in its eighth season, DC Strings invites preprofessional (ages 18–24) and professional (25+) artists to participate in their annual concerto competition that is open to singers and instrumentalists. The group has been praised for its open and equitable audition process as well as a great deal of artistic freedom for those auditioning, allowing them to present themselves in their best light. 

Baltimore Musicales

Dedicated to the preservation of art song, Baltimore Musicales presents a series of themed concerts that provide performance opportunities for outstanding regional artists. Many of the singers range from young professionals to established artists who are members of the collegiate faculty at nearby universities. “Committed to building community through shared musical experiences,” this year’s recitals offer takes on phenomenal women, spirituals, songs composed by living artists in Maryland, and musical theatre. Founder and Executive Director Thea Tullman Moore curates concert performances in D.C., Baltimore, and Silver Spring, Maryland.

 

CHORAL

Washington Bach Consort

This D.C.-based ensemble is committed to the performance and sharing of Bach and his contemporaries, performed with period instruments within the broader Washington D.C. area. Made up of professional singers who specialize in Baroque performance, this auditioned group serves as chorus and soloists in three different concert series (the Director’s Series, the Chambers Series, and the Noontime Cantatas Series). Artists interested should submit themselves singing two contrasting Baroque works (one must be Bach) and their résumé to their artistic director, Dana Marsh.

Cantate

Located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Cantate boasts two volunteered choirs: the 32-voiced Chamber Singers and the larger Concert Choir. However, Cantate does offer a paid opportunity called Lift Every Voice (LEV), a paid fellowship for a quartet of pre-professional (those at the beginning stages of pursuing a career in music) BIPOC artists who sing as part of the Concert Choir. Evolved from Cantate’s 2021 initiative, Cantate’s Young Artists of Color, the LEV program aims to “address the widespread racial inequality in the field of classical music by providing mentoring and performance opportunities to exceptional young BIPOC artists.”

New Dominion Chorale

Located in McLean, Virginia, each season the nonauditioned chorale presents a series of masterworks. Led by Artistic Director Thomas Beveridge, solo artists range from professionals on the cusp of major careers to recent finalists in the 2023 Washington International Competition for Voice. Each concert is performed with orchestra.

Washington Master Chorale

This chorale is a combination of half professional choral artists and half highly skilled volunteer singers. The professional artists must audition with a selection from Handel’s Messiah as well as a lyrical art song from the 19th or 20th century. Additionally, a strong vocal range and ear- and sight-singing abilities are required. Thomas Colohan, artistic director of the chorale, employs professional soloists for a variety of programs ranging from this season’s “Bel Canto Salon” to last season’s “Poetry in Song” concert.

Bach in Baltimore

Bach in Baltimore is another company that specializes in presenting Bach and his contemporaries. It features two levels of engagement for professional singers. Featured artists serve as soloists for their main concerts, and the Emerging Artist program identifies talented artists at the beginning of their career and provides them with solo performance and networking opportunities.


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City Choir of Washington

The City Choir of Washington offers opportunities for solo artists, particularly those based in the D.C. area. Selected artists are hired through other local arts groups (DC Strings and Wolf Trap Opera are recent collaborators), and sometimes word of mouth about a singer reaches the ears of Artistic Director Erin Freeman. Additionally, City Choir of Washington accepts materials from solo artists and often reviews those materials when looking for soloists for programs.

Cathedral Choral Society

While the Cathedral Choral Society is primarily a high-level auditioned group of volunteer singers, it does employ professional artists in each voice part for its subscription concerts. Many of these performers come from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas, although occasionally it even brings in choral artists from New York City.

Baltimore Choral Arts Society

Baltimore Choral Arts Society offers a Vocal Fellows Program geared toward Baltimore regional singers looking to gain valuable professional experience as a contracted member of the chorus, as a soloist with the chorus, as an arts educator in their CoroLAB program, and in masterclasses with visiting artists.

Chantry

Specializing in early music, Chantry employs 8–16 professional singers dedicated to “fresh, vibrant, historically informed performance of neglected masterpieces of Renaissance polyphony and music of the Baroque era.” Contact Artistic Director and Founder Dr. David Taylor for audition information.

The Thirteen

The Thirteen is a professional choir based in the D.C. area that performs choral music from many periods. Originally conceived as 12 singers and one conductor, the Thirteen has grown not only in numbers but through its artistry, ranging from tours to recordings to their Vocal Fellows program that aims to cultivate diversity in the fields of vocal ensemble and oratorio music. Vocal Fellows member receive training and a stipend and perform as members of The Thirteen. Auditions for both The Thirteen and its Vocal Fellow program are done through the submission of materials to  info@TheThirteenChoir.org.

 

MILITARY

The Soldier’s Chorus

A branch of the U.S. Army Field Band, the Soldier’s Chorus serves as the musical ambassador of the Army. The mixed ensemble performs a rigorous schedule that includes local D.C. area performances as well as tours throughout the U.S. and the globe. The artists come from the worlds of opera, musical theatre, music education, and vocal coaching. This mixture of abilities allows the Soldier’s Chorus to perform a breadth of material both alone and in conjunction with the U.S. Army Field Band. Auditions are competitive and the chorus offer stable pay, vacation, and benefits.

U.S. Army Chorus

The U.S. Army Chorus, founded in 1956, is a vocal companion to the U.S. Army’s “Pershing’s Own.” Considered the premiere vocal ensemble of the U.S. Army, this highly trained, select group performs for presidents and heads of state as well as at high-level functions throughout the D.C. area. Artists age in range from 17–34, are masters of their instruments, and have an elevated level of musicianship, allowing them to flourish as soloists and ensemble members. Like the Soldier’s Chorus, these artists receive full-time pay, vacation, and benefits.

Singing Sergeants

Stationed in D.C., the Singing Sergeants is the official chorus of the United States Airforce. This select group of 24 vocalists are highly trained musicians with backgrounds ranging from choral to musical theatre to opera. Versatility is key, as the Singing Sergeants perform a wide range of material including rock, pop, R&B, and anthems. Each singer must be between 18 and 39 years old and be able to meet weight and physical fitness requirements as laid out by the Air Force. 

U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters Chorus

The Navy Band Sea Chanters are the official chorus of the United States Navy. Regularly performing in public, the Sea Chanters perform a broad range of repertoire, ranging from pop to opera to sea chanties. The members of the ensembles are as diverse as the repertoire they perform, with its members coming from the worlds of choral music, opera, musical theatre, and even pop. Auditioning artists must present three selections, one from the Golden Age of musical theatre, opera, oratorio, or art song and two contrasting selections within the R&B, gospel, pop, jazz, Latin, or contemporary musical theatre genres.

Eric McKeever

Eric McKeever is a New York-based opera singer whose 2022–23 season includes performances with Opera Columbus, On Site Opera, Opera Delaware, the Penn Square Music Festival, and the Casals Festival of Puerto Rico. He is also a passionate arts educator having worked as a teaching artist for the Met Opera Guild and served as the manager of education programs for Kentucky Opera. He holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from The Ohio State University and obtained his bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Capital University.