Vocal Coach

Company overview

Established in 1999 as a non-profit performing arts company, Cape Town Opera is based at the Artscape Theatre Centre in the Foreshore area of Cape Town and is currently the only permanently active opera company on the African continent and one of the largest performing arts institutions in South Africa.

The recipient of two International Opera Awards, annual activities include fully staged opera productions in Cape Town, national music education programs for primary and secondary school learners, and national and international touring of operas and concerts.

The company has a current staff complement of 4 soloists, 19 chorus members, 10 young artists and 24 artistic, administrative and production staff, overseen by an eight-member Board of Directors.

Cape Town Opera serves as a shining example of the best that South Africa has to offer, dedicating itself to excellence, inclusivity, and employment within the arts.

Position Overview

The Vocal Coach will be responsible for coaching Cape Town Opera singers and serving as pianist or répétiteur, as required, for auditions, rehearsals and performances. You will collaborate closely with and operate under the guidance of the Artistic Director, assisting in the development and enhancement of students’ vocal skills, language, diction and musical style.

Applicant requirements

The ideal applicant possesses the following:

1. A bachelor’s degree in piano or vocal coaching;
2. Proficiency in vocal technique, operatic repertoire, and musical styles specific to opera;
3. Ability to effectively communicate vocal concepts and techniques to singers of varying skill levels, fostering a supportive and constructive learning environment;
4. Proficient in multiple languages commonly used in opera, including Italian, French, German, and English, to facilitate accurate language coaching;
5. Ability to work collaboratively with conductors, stage directors, and other artistic team members to ensure the seamless integration of vocal coaching with other aspects of opera production;
6. A genuine passion for teaching and mentoring aspiring opera singers, with the ability to inspire and motivate them to achieve their full vocal potential;
7. Solid musical and technical piano skills, with ability to play for auditions, rehearsals, concerts, masterclasses, lectures/demonstrations or other musical productions;
8. Experience in accompanying singers or instrumentalists;
9. Experience playing conducted rehearsals for opera productions and playing keyboard parts in the orchestra pit or recitatives in performance;
10. Able to adapt teaching methods to accommodate individual learning styles and navigate the unique demands and challenges of opera productions;
11. A track record of experience as a vocal coach would be an advantage.

Additional requirements:

12. Ability and willingness to work nights, weekends and holidays.

Applicant responsibilities

The key responsibilities of the Vocal Coach are:

1. Conduct individual and group coaching sessions to develop and enhance the vocal techniques, range, projection, breath control, and overall vocal quality of opera singers;
2. Collaborate with singers on the interpretation and expression of the music, guiding them to convey the emotional depth and authenticity of the operatic repertoire;
3. Assist in selecting appropriate vocal repertoire for each singer, taking into consideration their vocal abilities, range, and career aspirations;
4. Aid singers in mastering foreign languages commonly used in opera, such as Italian, French, German and others, ensuring accurate pronunciation, diction, and understanding of the text;
5. Prepare singers for auditions, competitions, and performances by refining their vocal technique, coaching them on stage presence, and offering guidance on repertoire selection;
6. Attend rehearsals and work closely with the conductor, stage director, and other members of the artistic team to provide vocal support and address any vocal challenges that may arise;
7. Educate singers on proper vocal health and care, including warm-up exercises and techniques for vocal recovery, minimising the risk of vocal fatigue or injury;
8. Collaborate with singers to refine their stage presence, body language, and acting skills;
9. Serving as pianist or répétiteur, as required, for auditions, rehearsals and performances of operas, concerts, masterclasses, lectures, demonstrations or other musical productions;
10. Act as a musical assistant to the conductor, if necessary.

Application procedure

The position is full-time and is based at the Artscape Theatre Centre, Foreshore, Cape Town, South Africa.

The deadline for applications is Tuesday, 1 April 2024.

Please submit:

1. A covering letter detailing your specific interest in and skills applicable to the position;
2. Your CV;
3. A video, done in one take, of two excerpts, to be played and simultaneously sung in the correct language:

i. Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, Finale of Act II (compulsory)

In addition, one of the following excerpts:

  1. ii. Bizet: Carmen, Quintet from Act II
  2. iii. Puccini: La bohème – Act I until the entrance of Benoît
  3. iv. Puccini: La bohème – Act II Chorus scene and entrance Musetta
  4. v. Strauss: Elektra, Mägdeszene

4. Three contactable references.

Applications should be sent via email to geraldp@capetownopera.co.za; all information will be kept confidential.

Successful applicants might be invited to audition for a second round; details will be made available at the appropriate time, if necessary.

Cape Town Opera celebrates diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive and supportive environment for all employees.

Cape Town Opera reserves the right not to make an appointment.