training programs


Mary Ragland Emerging Artist Program

In 1995, Nashville Opera established the Mary Ragland Emerging Artist Program, named for Nashville Opera’s founder Mary Cortner Ragland, a Juilliard-trained soprano.  The program provides four or more developing professional singers and one coach/accompanist valuable performances opportunities.

Selected from some 400 applicants that audition each season, the Mary Ragland Emerging Artists are in residence for four months.  During this time they receive coachings, participate in master classes, and attend workshops that explore the business side of opera.

Singers gain valuable performance experience by appearing in leading roles for the spring education tour production and various recital and concert appearances, as well as performing lead and comprimario roles in the mainstage productions.  The coach/accompanist serves as the music director for the education tour production, performs at various recitals and concert appearances, and provides coaching for singers during the residency.

All artists are provided with weekly salary, round-trip transportation from their city of origin, and housing during the residence.

Nashville Opera Fellows Program

In 2006, Nashville Opera established the Nashville Opera Fellows program in conjunction with Belmont University.  This program is designed to provide singers who are pursuing master’s degrees in vocal performance valuable experience with a professional opera company.

Fellows gain performance experience by performing in Nashville Opera’s chorus and covering roles in the touring production, as well as being part of the University’s opera productions.  They also participate in masterclasses and career development workshops alongside the Mary Ragland Emerging Artists.

Fellows will receive scholarship funds with the possibility of further compensation for additional performances.

For more information, please email Anna Young.


Be part of the largest opera company in Tennessee and look behind the scenes at a non-profit arts organization by exploring the internship opportunities available at Nashville Opera.  Our internship program will challenge students both personally and professionally.  The staff strives to ensure that an internship serves to enhance the student’s educational experience and career development.  All interns become integral members of the department(s) they work in and gain valuable experience while making professional contacts. 

All internships are unpaid positions, although all interns will receive two season tickets to Nashville Opera.  Housing is not included in the internship.

Nashville Opera will work with the student’s schedule and requirements to determine the length and hours of the internship.


•  Cover letter indicating why you have an interest in working in the arts and specific areas you would like to learn more about (general arts administration, education, marketing and PR, etc.)
•  Résumé including present and permanent addresses, education, and work experience
•  Writing sample of no more than three pages (class paper, newspaper article, etc.) that you believe represents your writing ability well. 

•  One letter of recommendation from a professor, past intern supervisor, or other person with knowledge of your work ethic. 

Submit application materials to:

To apply, please email Anna Young.


Auditions for Emerging Artist Program

Applications are accepted each fall through  Auditions are held by invitation only in New York City each December.

Emerging artists take roles in Nashville Opera's mainstage productions.  Above, Katherine Sanford and Lacy Sauter star in  Così fan tutte,  2016.

Emerging artists take roles in Nashville Opera's mainstage productions.  Above, Katherine Sanford and Lacy Sauter star in Così fan tutte, 2016.