London, ON Audition Times added for Tuesday October 29!

We are now scheduling auditions for our 2020 Summer Opera Festival program for London ON. Auditions will be at the Faculty of Music on Tuesday October 29 from 2 pm to 5:30 pm.

Our 2020 Season will feature Poulenc’s Les dialogues des carmélites, Kurt Weill’s The Three Penny Opera and a double bill of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Blow’s Venus and Adonis, plus an Art Song Intensive.

Learn more about How to Apply

Application form online

Auditions, applications and next season — coming soon!

We’re just putting the finishing touches on the application form for the 2019 Halifax Summer Opera Festival — marking our 15th year!

Our 2019 season will feature Die Zauberflöte, Les contes d’Hoffmann and either Alcina or Turn of the Screw.

The audition tour at the moment includes the following dates:


Toronto, November 3 and 10
London, ON, November 4
Montreal, November 12 and 13
Halifax and Wolfville TBC

If you’d like to be notified when the application form goes live, then please join our Audition mailing list here:

Second round of applications invited for HSOF 2018! We need men and mezzos :)

We have a great range of roles still available for singers interested in spending four weeks in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada this summer!  The Festival runs from July 14 to August 12, and features three MainStage productions:  Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Unfortunately, as of this date, we have no soprano roles left.

But we have good roles for mezzos, countertenors, tenors, baritones and bass baritones.

We’ll keep a constantly updated list of available roles here: Currently Available Roles for HSOF 2018.

To apply, fill in the Application Form. You’ll then be given details about how to upload your audition materials. There’s more information about what you should prepare HERE.

Applications will be accepted until all roles are cast.

If you have questions, send them to Artistic Director Nina Scott-Stoddart at 


We’ve started making offers for the 14th Halifax Summer Opera Festival!

We’d like to thank the over 150 singers who sang for Nina and David in person or for Nina by distance application. We started to make offers today. It’s an exciting time,  but can be quite a slow process, depending on how many offers a singer is juggling. We have about 60 offers to make, so it can take a while!

If you haven’t heard from us and need to know where you stand in terms of an offer because you’ve got an offer from another program, then please drop Nina a line at

Thank you again!


Auditioning for opera, from a pianist’s perspective

As the audition period for the upcoming Halifax Summer Opera Festival has begun, it is my pleasure to share some of my thoughts on auditioning as a singer from a pianist’s perspective. Having been at the piano or at the jury table for countless auditions, I find that one of the most (if not THE most) important aspect of the whole audition process is choosing the right repertoire.

Sing what best represents your voice. This seems like a very obvious statement but how many times have I sat there convinced that the singer could have made a much better impression had she or he sang something else! Bring a few selections that feel good to you and consult your teachers or coaches. If you know something from the role of the opera you are auditioning for, including it is great but if a standard Mozart, Puccini or Verdi aria suits you better, do not be scared to sing that instead. Keep in mind that judges know if they are interested from the first 30 seconds, so pick strategically what you really think is best from start to end.

Besides the quality of singing, also choose something that shows who you are as an actor. I have played many French and German operetta auditions and these usually include a spoken monologue or dialogue since there is quite a bit of text in these works. I’ll admit that opera doesn’t always involve these long spoken bits and many auditions don’t even ask for a text. However, opera is a staged art form and a beautiful voice that doesn’t bring to life their character on stage only offers half of the package. Choose an aria that lets you really dive into the character and convey clear emotions. You don’t need to run around the stage or audition space but you can do more than simply stand at the piano and sing. Give as much as you judge necessary but always remember that singing an opera is not only about singing.

Regarding the pianist playing your audition, if the company provides a pianist this pianist should be (and is probably) familiar with vocal repertoire. The operatic repertoire is huge though so it is impossible that the pianist has played every single aria out there. My advice would be to try and bring selections from the standard repertoire and also pieces that are not very demanding pianistically. Pieces from the anthologies are a pretty good bet but there are many more other “standard” pieces as well. Certain pieces like Largo al factotum, l’Air des Bijoux and the Composer’s aria are standard but since you don’t always know the pianist who is playing, it would be best to generally avoid them. Think of it this way, try to increase all the chances of a successful audition. If the pianist plays well, you are supported and will sing better. Try to make his or her life easier and your life will automatically be easier as well. I also encourage that you have a short conversation with the pianist regarding tempi before singing rather than marking metronomic numbers on the score. Panels will understand that you may have never performed with the pianist present so it is much better to have that conversation prior to starting rather then regret not having it halfway through your audition.

Auditions can be stressful so making good choices beforehand can only help. Best of luck!

Giancarlo Scalia
Pianist Composer
Collaborative pianist for Don Giovanni 2018