Opera Performance and Creation : Masterclasses for Singers with Opera Creation for Composers and Writers

Program (22 August 2021 - 4 September 2021)

The Masterclasses for Singers with Opera Creation for Composers and Writers is one of the few summer school programmes that offers such a fusion of creative energy. Co-directors Dušan Bavdeck, composer, University of Ljubljana Academy of Music/Stephen McNeff, composer, Guildhall School of Music and Drama 

It invites singers to work on standard repertoire and scene development with world-class singers such as Bernarda Fink and Susan Bickley and stage directors such as András Almási Tóth (Hungarian State Opera and Liszt Academy Budapest), Rocc (Slovenian National Opera and Ljubljana Academy of Music) etc, and at the same time develop their skill in performing contemporary opera with conductors like Dominic Wheeler (English National Opera and Guildhall School of Music) and Simon Dvoršak (Ljubljana Academy of Music). Alongside the singers' activity, composers and writer/librettists work with composer mentors Stephen McNeff (Guildhall School of Music, Performance Arts Lab) and Dušan Bavdeck (Ljubljana Academy of Music) and also resident writer and poet Aoife Mannix to create short scenes created from scratch tailored to the participant singers.

The two week programme is fully integrated, with - as well as individual one to one lessons and group activities - the composers and writers learning from the singers' development activities, while the performers participate in and help to shape the new works through improvisation and workshopping. The two strands come together in the final few days when entirely new scenes are blended with existing repertoire and, under the guidance of the resident teachers and mentors, we give a short public presentation in the bustling heart of beautiful Ljubljana. The programme is ideal for singers already at university or music college (graduate or post-graduate level and beyond) who will benefit from advanced masterclasses and coaching. Composers and writers will also generally be at graduate/post-graduate level or beyond, but as acceptance to the programme is by the submission of a portfolio of work, exceptions may be made.

There may also be opportunities for more informal music-making with a series of ‘courtyard concerts’ at the historic Academy of Music in the old city. Singers can present a suggested short programme for approval and composers may also have the opportunity to present their work informally. There will also be a chance to visit some of the sights of Slovenia in organised trips, while the opportunity to enjoy all that the city has to offer in the way of hospitality is there to be enjoyed.

Max No. of Participants:

25 Active Participants:

     10 Singers

     6 Composers

     4 Librettists

     3 Conductors

     2 Director interns

     and 10 Passive Participants


  • Singers: university or music college (graduate or post-graduate level and beyond)
  • Composers, conductors and writers: university or music college (graduate or post-graduate level, and in the case of composers, this would also suit early and mid-career composers and more established composers who might like to explore opera) 
  • possible exceptions by the submission of a portfolio of work


Active Participants:

1400 €

1000 € (Students of Partner Institutions)

700 € (Students of the University of Ljubljana Academy of Music)

200 € (Students of Conducting; obligatory répétition and work with ensembles)

As CMC-represented composer Stephen McNeff is co-director of this opera creation programme in Ljubljana, CMC is considered a partner institution for these purposes and a discount is available to CMC-represented composers (i.e. €500 per week), together with the possibility of a bursary for one composer.  While accommodation is extra, Ljubljana is relatively inexpensive.  Stephen is very happy to be contacted by fellow CMC composers who would like to know more.  He can be contacted here: https://www.stephenmcneff.co.uk/contact 

Passive Participants: 

200 € per course

The Music school teachers who will passively participate in the festival will receive the certificate of participation, which can be used when applying for promotion.

For further information and enrolment please see more info