Building a Career in Opera from School to Stage: Operapreneurship: CMS Emerging Fields in Music, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Building a Career in Opera from School to Stage: Operapreneurship

CMS Emerging Fields in Music, 1st Edition

By James Harrington


151 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367421519
pub: 2020-07-02
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Building a Career in Opera from School to Stage: Operapreneurship provides early-career singers with an overview of the structure of the opera industry and tools for strategically approaching a career within it. Today's voice students leave the conservatory with better training than ever, but often face challenges to managing their own careers after graduation. This book addresses what singers need to know in order to craft a career path in the contemporary landscape of opera.

Readers learn about the opera industry's structure, common pathways and entry points, non-academic training programs, researching and evaluating opportunities, crafting professional documents and media, and what it means to be a professional opera singer. Written by a singer with recent experience in the industry—and particularly the emerging phase—this book is a practical guide for all singers embarking on a career in opera.

The author's website,, hosts additional resources including databases of training programs, guides and templates for creating professional documents, as well as articles addressing current industry issues and interviews with subject matter experts.

Table of Contents


SECTION I : The Industry from 30,000 Feet

CHAPTER 1 : Opera Companies

CHAPTER 2 : Other Performing Arts Organizations

CHAPTER 3 : Management

SECTION II : How a Young Singer Prepares

CHAPTER 4 : Formal Training

CHAPTER 5 : Non-Academic Training Programs

CHAPTER 6 : Your Team

CHAPTER 7 : Research

SECTION III : Nuts and Bolts of Booking Work

CHAPTER 8 : Professional Documents

CHAPTER 9 : Cultivating Your Online Presence

CHAPTER 10 : You, Inc. (Building Your Business)

CHAPTER 11: Auditions

CHAPTER 12 : Beyond #bookedandblessed: Working in an Opera House

EPILOGUE: The Best of All Possible Careers

About the Author

James Harrington is a professional operatic bass and Paul J. Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Fellow at the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he worked for several years in the music industry before deciding to train as an opera singer. He holds the Master of Music in voice performance from Florida State University and is pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts in voice at the University of Wisconsin. As a singer, he has appeared with the Santa Fe Opera, Portland Opera, Nashville Opera, Teatro Nuovo, Sarasota Opera, and Opera Idaho, among others.

About the Series

CMS Emerging Fields in Music

The CMS Emerging Fields in Music series consists of concise monographs that help the profession reimagine how we must prepare twenty-first century musicians. Shifting cultural landscapes, emerging technologies, and a changing profession in and out of the academy demand that we reexamine our relationships with audiences, leverage our art to strengthen the communities in which we live and work, equip our students to think and act as artist-entrepreneurs, explore the limitless (and sometimes limiting) role technology plays in the life of a musician, revisit our very assumptions about what artistic excellence means and how personal creativity must be repositioned at the center of this definition, and share best practices and our own stories of successes and failures when leading institutional change.

These short-form books can be either single-authored works, or contributed volumes comprised of three or four essays on related topics. The books should prove useful for emerging musicians inventing the future they hope to inhabit, faculty rethinking the courses they teach and how they teach them, and administrators guiding curricular innovation and rebranding institutional identity.

Series Editor: Mark Rabideau, DePauw University, USA

Managing Editor: Zoua Sylvia Yang, DePauw University, USA

Series Board:

Elisa Fraser Wilson, University of Texas - El Paso, USA

David Stringham, James Madison University, USA

Reed Spencer, Taylor University, USA

Jessica Usherwood, DePauw University, USA

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Business Aspects
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Opera