Opera 360: The Opera Industry

Opera 360: The Opera Industry

To learn more about the Opera 360 short courses and master’s degree, sign up for an online, exclusive free taster session on Wednesday 21 June from 6 to 7pm.

Content Overview

Opera 360 is a unique, industry-led, digital course that invites both opera lovers and arts professionals alike to gain unrivalled, behind the scenes knowledge of the opera industry. This online-taught offer is a detailed investigation into both the artistic and administrative practices of the industry, with live seminars from illustrious opera insiders.  

'When audiences see and listen to an opera, few are aware what lies behind each performance and learning about this through first-hand experience is a wonderful new offer.'

Maestro Carlo Rizzi


This programme is flexible, with a number of study options to suit your interests: 

  • Individual standalone 15-week online courses (consisting of eight to 10 hours a week) 

  • Three courses, leading to a graduate certificate  

  • Six courses, leading to a graduate diploma 

  • Six courses, plus research skills and a major project to earn a master’s degree.  

Whichever you decide, all of the topics covered in our Opera 360 programme have been driven by consultations with industry leaders.

Who is Opera 360 for?

As well as being suitable for working in the industry, the course is designed for those with a passion for opera, whether it’s to develop a deeper understanding of the subject through the eyes of insiders or wishing to strengthen their knowledge as part of their professional development.


Why study Opera 360?

  • The content is delivered exclusively online allowing for flexible study.
  • All courses are designed by industry insiders who bring a wealth of unrivalled experience.
  • Opera 360 draws on a partnership network from leading opera companies and associations. The seminars will provide platforms for students to discuss pressing issues with leading lights across the industry.
  • Lectures are given by leaders in the opera industry, from senior management to the stage - programme to be announced.
  • Opera 360 offers a unique opportunity to explore the opera industry from a global perspective.
  • Participants receive individual online mentoring support.
  • Opera 360 is run in association with the renowned David Seligman Opera School.


'Opera 360 provides you with privileged behind the scenes access to the opera industry, with the chance to learn directly from those that are both hugely experienced and currently working in the industry for first hand, fascinating insights into the workings of the market not just in the UK but worldwide.'

Abigail Fraser, pilot session participant


How is Opera 360 delivered?

All courses are delivered digitally with a large proportion of live, interactive lectures and Q&As with leading industry professionals and opera insiders. We encourage participants to attend the real-time sessions to maximise interactivity but offer the flexibility of accessing the recorded content at a later, suitable time to ensure accessibility for international students and those with other commitments.  

  • Course Information

    Each of the core courses is 20 credits and takes 15 weeks to complete. 

    Students can take individual in-depth short courses without undertaking the whole degree, or instead take a cluster of courses leading to a Graduate Certificate (60 credits), or a Graduate Diploma (120 credits). Please note that for the Diploma, at least two courses must be taken from each of the clusters: Music & Drama and Industry Practice for completion. 

    These options make it possible for those already in employment, perhaps in the opera industry, to take particular courses that might be especially relevant to their current practice and employer’s needs. 

    Masters students will need to complete a total of six courses from the Music & Drama and Industry Practice clusters (a minimum of two courses from each), along with the 20-credit Research Skills module and the 40-credit Major Project. 

    If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in a module, this may not be offered. If a module will not run, we will advise students as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module. 

    Industry Practice

    Module Credits
    Leadership in Opera (Course starts 27 September 2023) 20
    Producing Opera (Course starts 14 February 2024) 20
    House System (Course starts 28 September 2023) 20
    Writing & Opera* 20

    * Start date TBC

    Music & Drama

    Module Credits
    Contemporary Music in Theatre* 20
    The Director* 20
    The Actor* 20
    The Designer (Course starts 15 February 2024) 20
    Module Credits
    Research Skills 20 (or APL)
    Score Reading (optional) ** 20
    Major Project 40

    * Start date TBC

    ** The optional module included for those students who would like to improve this skill.


    'Fellow opera enthusiasts; Opera 360 is a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable deep dive into the world of international Opera! Perfect for anyone with an interest in Opera culture who is keen to learn more about the intricate workings of marketing, fundraising and programming via flexible short courses.'

    Meriel Barclay, pilot session participant

In-depth short course structure 

A typical 15-week online short course will fall broadly into three sections: introduction, case study and debate. Each course will be delivered on a specific day each week. The online lectures and seminars will be roughly 1.5 hours each on that day. 

We would expect some reading and preparation for classes each week, but including attendance at lectures and seminars the total commitment will probably be between 8 and 10 hours. 

Courses will begin with lectures and readings laying out the scope of the topic to be explored, followed by a series of case studies.  

Courses will then culminate with panel discussions and critical debates on the topics raised during the 15 weeks.  

If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in a course, we may have to cancel it. If this happens, we will let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative course. 

The four short courses offered for academic year 2023/24 will be:


Leadership in Opera 

This course will focus on the ways in which leaders of opera companies are exploring innovative practices in an ever-changing world.  

You will hear keynote lectures from outstanding leaders who have occupied the top roles in opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York, the Royal Opera Covent Garden and a major European house.  

You will learn how global issues such as human rights, climate emergency and economic turmoil impact the decisions that leaders within opera need to take, as well as hearing presentations from those who are driving change within the industry.  

In class discussion with people who have spent much of their lives working in the industry, you will explore in more depth how opera leaders are navigating complex issues – from how to keep the art form culturally relevant to anticipating changing audience tastes to keeping pace with technological advances.  

The course will help you to develop an advanced critical perspective on contemporary debates in the world of opera. 

Course start date: 27 September 2023 (online)

Lectures: Every Wednesday morning, except for 13 December 2023; 20 December 2023; 27 December 2023; 3 January 2024 
Seminars: Every Wednesday afternoon, except for 13 December 2023; 20 December 2023; 27 December 2023; 3 January 2024

The House System

This course will provide you with an understanding of the many ways that different international houses have shaped the history of opera.  

You will hear from senior leaders at some of the world’s flagship opera houses, such as the Vienna State Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, who will share insights as to what drives the programming and operational models of these iconic institutions.  

Through class discussion and analysis with a range of experts who have spent their lives working with the art form, including those who are developing innovative new approaches today, you will build a view of the diversity of practice in opera across the world both in this moment, and throughout its history.  

You will then use this knowledge to consider the future of the art form, and how opera can survive and thrive into the mid-21st century. 

Course start date: 28 September 2023 (online)
Lectures: Every Thursday morning, except for 14 December 2023; 21 December 2023; 28 December 2023; 4 January 2024 
Seminars: Every Thursday afternoon, except for 14 December 2023; 21 December 2023; 28 December 2023; 4 January 2024 

Producing Opera 

This course will take an in-depth look at the various roles in an opera company, both on and off the stage, with case studies and presentations from working professionals.  

It will also explore the skills, challenges and career paths that are unique to these roles within the opera world, so that you are either better placed to move immediately into that professional environment or simply understand in much greater detail how the productions are put on.  

You will be able to see how the various layers of management work together to bring productions to the stage and you will be taken on an in-depth chronological journey through the creation of a production. 

Course start date: 14 February 2024 (online)
Lectures: Every Wednesday morning, except for 3 April 2024, 10 April 2024 and 17 April 2024 
Seminars: Every Wednesday afternoon, except for 3 April 2024, 10 April 2024 and 17 April 2024 


The Designer 

This course will focus on the work of designers, from both historical and contemporary perspectives. It will be led by designers who will show how their work fits into the production process, and how those processes are different at various houses.  

A historical perspective will also be elucidated so that you may see how the role has developed over time. In addition, you will examine case studies to explore how the introduction of newer technologies is changing the ways in which opera may be presented. 

Course start date: 15 February 2024 (online)
Lectures: Every Thursday morning, except for 4 April 2024, 11 April 2024 and 18 April 2024 
Seminars: Every Thursday afternoon, except for 4 April 2024, 11 April 2024 and 18 April 2024 

Download a detailed overview of this course (PDF)


Entry Requirements

For those studying individual short courses, you'll be expected to be able to demonstrate a good understanding of opera. Selection for the short courses is made on the basis of an informal online interview. 

For the Master's programme entry requirements include a 2:2 degree in any subject. The College also considers applications from people who have been working in the opera industry, usually with at least two years’ relevant experience. For those not in the industry, equivalent professional experience will also be considered. 

Applicants, including those wishing to study a short course, are expected to be able to demonstrate a good understanding of the opera field.

Final selection for the full Master's programme and the short course is made on the basis of an interview. 

Email admissions@rwcmd.ac.uk if you require further information.

For information about how to apply please follow this link.


International Applicants studying for the Master's programme

Opera 360 short courses  

There is no English language requirement for a standalone Opera 360 course.


MA Opera 360

International applicants whose first language is not English will need to demonstrate that their English language ability meets the College’s minimum requirements. Please refer to our English Language Requirements page for details of accepted English language tests and required scores.


Tuition Fees for 2023-2024

Programme Students from the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man Overseas Students
Full time Master's £9,500  £9,500 
In-depth short course £1,250  £1,250

Further information on the funding available towards the cost of tuition fees.

Read more