Mikael Eliasen Voice Program

Discover the Music Within You

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Mikael Eliasen Voice Program has been cancelled. "Stay tuned for more information"

Learn what it really takes to embark on an opera career. This program, led by the former artistic director of the Curtis Opera Theatre, Mikael Eliasen, is designed primarily for young singers who are considering entering conservatory, and is open to students of high school and undergraduate age.

Summer 2020 Updates for Participants and Applicants

The difficult decision to cancel was not made lightly, as this program and the opportunity to create music with young singers is very dear to Curtis Summerfest. While it is a great disappointment to not meet our students in person, the safety and health of our students, faculty, and staff are our foremost concern.

For those students already confirmed or in the process of enrolling, the following is offered:

  1. We do hope to still come together in community. In June we will host remote discussion sessions with the students and the faculty in order to introduce them to one another. More information on the topics of discussion and session structure will be e-mailed to students in advance of the sessions.
  1. Accepted applicants who were either confirmed to attend or in the process of enrolling have the opportunity to defer their enrollment to next year’s program. We expect the details for the 2021 program to be announced in October. At that time, we will ask them to confirm whether they would like to attend in 2021. Students should all be proud of their accomplishment in being accepted to the program, and the faculty is looking forward to a time when it will be safe to meet and work together!
  1. Those who have already paid for the program have the option to receive their refund on tuition and housing payments now, or to apply the payment towards 2021 enrollment. Receiving the refund now does not affect their ability to defer enrollment; payment may simply be made again later.

Again, we regret the necessity of this decision, but look forward to a time when we can all be back together.

About the Program

This program continues the pedagogical legacy of Mikael Eliasen, who served for more than three decades as chair of the Curtis vocal studies department and artistic director of the Curtis Opera Theatre.

Singers in this select program pursue activities focused on vocal artistry:.

  • Study privately in voice lessons and private coachings
  • Benefit from daily master classes
  • Perform for peers at the Sing-In, and for family and friends at the Sing-Out
  • Learn basic wellness techniques for singers
  • Practice in studios with Steinway pianos
  • Learn from professionals working in the opera field

Through the course of the program, singers will delve more deeply into their existing repertoire, with the space and time to follow their curiosity. Participants are largely self-directed, coming together as a group midday to observe those selected to perform in a daily master class. Faculty offer immense insight in each private session, and are looking for marked improvement between sessions. All participants should bring songs and/or arias they have already prepared as well as music they would like to learn during the program; and should be open to additional repertoire suggestions from faculty.


You’ll have the opportunity for personal instruction through the following:

  • two private voice lessons;
  • private coachings; assigned from vocal coaches, including Mikael Eliasen.

On the first day, you’ll begin your musical exchange by performing for one another and the faculty in a Sing-In. Prepare at least one song or aria for this introductory performance. (You will have scheduled preparation time with a pianist beforehand.)

Sing in a master class led by Summerfest faculty members or guest artists. All participants attend every master class to benefit from training on a range of repertoire. The faculty will select participants to sing in each master class after the Sing-In. Be prepared to sing in a master class on any given day, since your master class date is determined once the program has started.

On the last day of the program, you’ll perform in a culminating Sing-Out to share your growth and artistry with your fellow students, family, and friends. With guidance from the faculty, each singer selects one song or aria to perform. Please refer to the program schedule for details of time and location.

All performance repertoire, which you select with your private instructor before arrival, must be memorized. Faculty may also suggest additional repertoire for you to learn while at the program.

Enjoy an inspiring faculty recital, an informal private performance just for participants.

Evening panel discussions bring you together with faculty and Curtis alumni in frank conversation. Ask questions and gain exclusive insight on auditions, life as a Curtis student, professional singing careers in voice, and the field of opera today.

In 2019, panelists included:

  • Jonathan Beyer, (Opera ’07) national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition
  • Emily Damasco, Summerfest alumna and second-year voice student at the Curtis Institute of Music
  • Mikael Eliasen, former artistic director of the Curtis Opera Theatre
  • Lisa Keller, master opera coach at the Curtis Institute of Music
  • Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, adjunct voice faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music and voice faculty at the Manhattan School of Music
  • Patrick Wilhelm, fifth-year voice student at the Curtis Institute of Music

Join your new friends for two screenings of fully staged productions by the Curtis Opera Theatre in HD video. When not practicing or in lessons, many participants also enjoy watching operas together in Lenfest Hall’s student lounge.

Introductory wellness sessions will expose participants to methods including Alexander technique, yoga, and more, that can improve your sound and help prevent injury.


  • October 2019: Applications available
  • January 19, 2020, 11:59 p.m. EST: Applications due. An additional $60 late fee will be assessed on applications submitted after this date.
  • February: Notification of admission and financial aid status provided to all who submitted by January 19. Tuition and housing payment will be due shortly after notification, with the option for accepted applicants to inquire about installment plans.
  • March 6, noon EST: Final deadline for all applications. Applications submitted between January 19 and March 6 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Application Fee: $90 / $150*

Tuition: $3,010

Housing and Dining: $1,560

*Application fee: $90 before January 17, 2020 at noon EST; $150 (January 17–March 6).

Applications close Friday, March 6, 2020 at noon EST.

Acceptance to the Mikael Eliasen Voice Program is need-blind. Limited financial assistance from Curtis Summerfest may be available, but is not guaranteed. Notice of financial assistance awards will be included in the acceptance status e-mail.

Students and parents are also urged to seek financial assistance from local sources: self-organized fundraisers; school music organizations; county, state, or national music education organizations; music clubs; service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanas, etc.); businesses; local churches; and foundations.


Merit-based financial assistance

To apply for merit-based financial assistance, see section 4 (Scholarship) of the online application. Answer “Yes” to the first question in this section (“Are you applying for merit-based financial assistance?”).

No further action is required to be considered for merit-based financial assistance.


Need-based financial assistance

To apply for need-based financial assistance, upload the following to section 4 (Scholarship) of the online application.

U.S. citizens:

  • The Mikael Eliasen Voice Program 2020 Financial Assistance Application, on section 4 of the online application (Scholarship).
  • All parent/guardian 2018 tax returns
  • All parent/guardian 2019 W2 forms (2018 W2 if 2019 not available)

International applicants:

  • The Mikael Eliasen Voice Program 2020 Financial Assistance Application, on section 4 of the online application (Scholarship).
  • Copies of all parent/guardians’ most recent bank statements, in English or with translation provided
  • Letters, in English or with translation provided, from all parent/guardian employers stating total wages earned from January 2018–December 2017.

The majority of applicants are dependent upon parent or guardians. If you are an older applicant and are financially independent, income documentation should be your own.