Master of Music (Opera Performance)

Course MC-MUSOP (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Year and Campus: 2016 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 076225K
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 200 credit points taken over 24 months full time.


Prof. Gary McPherson


Currently enrolled students:

Future students:

Course Overview:

The Master of Music (Opera Performance) is a practice based graduate coursework degree. The course consists of 200 points of study in three study areas: Performance Practicum (100 points), Supporting Studies (50 points) and Language and Diction Studies (50 points). This course includes specialist training with partner companies, specifically the Victorian Opera Company.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this course, graduates will have acquired advanced knowledge and skills and be able to apply them to:

  • achieve a professional level standard in their vocal performance or repetiteur skills, acting, movement and other stagecraft skills as well as language and diction skills that are required of an elite professional vocalist or repetiteur undertaking major operatic roles or professional repetiteur activities;
  • become highly-skilled operatic vocalists or repetiteurs, with a knowledge of and ability to critically evaluate past and present performance practices and with highly developed stage communication skills to ensure world-class operatic performances;
  • expand their knowledge, skills and abilities in operatic vocal performance as well as in a range of relevant practical areas including operatic repertoire, role development, concert work including education outreach, stylistic analysis and interpretation, languages and diction, covering of main-stage roles and performing of main-stage roles;
  • be both personally autonomous and publicly accountable for authentically- and artistically-interpreted stage-role performances through an informed and critically reflective awareness of relevant operatic styles, characterization and interpretation of specific operatic roles;
  • utilise a range of operatic or repetiteur skills—vocal, acting, stagecraft and movement for singers or keyboard and vocal coaching skills for repetiteurs—that will serve to contribute to the successful realisation of opera performances;
  • have acquired a knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to performing arts research as well as skills in critical reflection, writing and artistic communication;
  • plan and execute a series of capstone experiences—such as a major role—in a full-scale operatic performance or coaching of a major role for repetiteurs;
  • value and participate in operatic performances that demonstrate team-work and collaborative music making;
  • have developed the capacity to apply the knowledge and experience gained in their operatic training to the needs of society as represented by a variety of culturally-and socio-economically diverse audiences;
  • demonstrate leadership as professional opera performers that relates to both specialist and non-specialist audiences; and
  • be engaged intelligently and passionately in promoting an appreciation of opera as an art form.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

This course is only offered as a Full Time course over 2 consecutive years.

Subject Options:

First Year

All students take the following subjects in the first year.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Students in the Master of Music (Opera Performance) take one elective subject in Semester 2.

Second Year

All students will take the following subjects in second year.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Students in the Master of Music (Opera Performance) take two elective subjects in the second year.

Elective Subjects

Elective subjects available to students in this course:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2

Other elective subjects from MCM’s Graduate Studies Program may be available with the approval of the Director.

Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:
• an undergraduate degree in any discipline; and
• an audition.
Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:
• prior academic performance; and
• the audition.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Academic Board rules on the use of selection instruments.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

Core Participation Requirements:

All students of music must possess intellectual, ethical, physical and emotional capabilities required to participate in the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.
a) Musical skills, including well developed vocal proficiency, musical literacy, and aural discrimination skills;

b) Cognitive skills, including the ability to comprehend complex music information and material independently;

c) Communication skills, including the ability to write and speak clearly and effectively. Communication with fellow students, academic and professional staff, and the wider public about their knowledge and application of music performance is essential.

Students must possess the physical and emotional health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all responsibilities required by the course. All students need to be aware of their personal limitations and when and where to seek professional advice or supervision. Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing musical practice and to function effectively under stress and isolation in musical preparation. They must also be able to function effectively as part of a musical ensemble, to adapt to changing environments and to display flexibility.

d) Behavioural and Social Attributes, so as to enable students to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University policy to make reasonable adjustments so as to enable a student’s participation in the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music’s programs. Students who have a disability which may prevent them from participating in tasks involving these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit: Adjustments can be provided to minimise the impact of a disability; however, students will need to participate in the course in an independent manner.

Further Study:

After successful completion of the degree with appropriate research training subjects, students will be eligible to apply for a research Masters degree.

Graduate Attributes: None
Generic Skills:

The graduates from the MMus (OperaPerf) course will be:

• academically excellent and musically skilled as opera performers as a result of intensive and rigorous one-to-one and studio-based tuition in chorus, ensemble and solo vocal performance, acting, stagecraft and movement skills for singers; and keyboard, vocal coaching and repertoire and language skills for repetiteurs;
• artistically sophisticated with a high level of understanding of the aesthetic of their discipline, honed through learning, practice, critical reflection and performance, with high levels of personal autonomy and accountability;
• familiar and competent with written, spoken and vocal communication, the ethics associated with collaborative operatic performance, and basic performance research protocols gained through a program of performance practicum subjects, language and diction subjects in languages commonly encountered in opera, and professional experience in operatic performances and vocal coaching;
• creative and critical music performers and thinkers with highly developed skills for on-going, self-directed professional learning;
• knowledgeable across the disciplines of operatic performance, acting, stagecraft, movement, and language and diction;
• accepting of the responsibility to move towards artistic independence and towards accountability in terms of both specialist and non-specialist audiences;
• able to execute one or more capstone projects in operatic performance;
• leaders in the operatic performance communities with knowledge developed through:

  • a program of professional performance practicum; and
  • high level development of teamwork and group dynamic skills through participation in group activities in operatic performance settings.

• attuned to cultural diversity through:

  • the opportunities provided that involve thinking about a variety of notions of musicality as well as participating in operatic performances from different times and places;
  • familiarity with culturally-diverse ways of conceptualizing, discussing and performing the operative repertoire; and
  • performing for audiences from varied cultural, socio-economic and musical backgrounds.

• active global citizens through participation throughout the course in the inherently international nature of opera in all its manifestations.

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