About The Royal Opera Academy

About The Royal Opera Academy

The Royal Danish Opera offers a three-year opera singer program in association with the Royal Danish Theatre and the Royal Danish Academy of Music. The Royal Danish Opera Academy is located at the Opera in Copenhagen and training takes place at the opera house itself and at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

The post-graduate program open to singers who have graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Music as well as young talented singers with a background of private tuition. Vocal and musical training is undertaken by the Royal Danish Academy of Music and training in stage performance is undertaken by the Royal Danish Opera Academy.


Autumn 2016

The Opera House, Takkelloftet October 11th. and 13th. 7 pm. (free admission)
The Opera House, Takkelloftet November 28th. and 29th. 7 pm. (free admission)

Spring 2017

Concerts at The Old Stage, Kgs. Nytorv:
Old Stage January 27th and 29th 7.30 pm.
Soloist: Students from The Royal Danish Opera Academy
Orchestra: The Royal Danish Academy of Music
Conductor: Michael Boder

Concerts, 1st year students
13th of January, Johanneskirken, Greve, 7:30 pm
10th of March, Kongegaarden, Korsør, 7:30 pm
24th of March, Køge Musikskole, 7:30 pm
23th of April, Næstved Musikforening, 3:30 pm

The Rape of Lucretia, opera by Benjamin Britten  
The Opera House, Takkelloftet March 30th , April 1st,  3rd  and 5th. All performances at  8 pm.
Soloists:  Students from The Royal Danish Opera Academy
Orchestra: Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen
Director: Ebbe Knudsen
Conductor: Ian Ryan

Exams 2017 on Takkelloftet, The Opera House.
Monday the 22nd of May, 7pm            Pelléas et Mélisande, Dialogues des Carmélites, La serva padrona
Tuesday the 23rd  of May 7pm           Cosí fan tutte
Wednesday the 24th of May 7 pm      Pelléas et Mélisande,, Dialogues des Carmélites, La serva padrona
Friday the 26th of May 12                      Cosí fan tutte
Free entrance

Pelléas et Mélisande, Les Dialogues des Carmélites, La Serva Padrona
On the production Pelléas et Mélisande, Les Dialogues des Carmélites, La Serva Padrona we have been 3 students from Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze; Gisella Butera, Elena Anna Servidio og Joanna Strutynska to work with props, costumes and set. Gisella, Elena and Joanna here with their teacher, Enrico de Feo, who is our director on this production.

Cosi fan tutte
Since all our graduating students, apart from the role as Despina, perfectly suited all the roles in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, we decided to make the entire opera. As director of the piece, we have chosen the well-known British director Mike Ashman. Mike Ashmann has earlier done a production of L’Elisir d’Amore at The Royal Theatre.

Stage tower project at Den Danske Scenekunstskole:
9th of March, 7 pm
10th of March, 2 pm
11th of March, 5 pm 
13th, 14th and 15th of March, 3 and 7 pm

During the season 2016/2017 opera academy students perform in these Royal Danish Opera performances: 

Daniel Waade - Sparbüchsenbill i Mahagonny

Clara Cecilie Thomsen  - Barbarina i Figaros Bryllup

Frederik Paevatalu Rolin - Schaunard i La Bohème

Lydia Hoen Tjore (Delia), Julia Ojansivu (Delia), Fanny Kempe (Modestina) i Il viaggio a Reims



About the course

About the course

Year 1 teaches fundamental physical and dramatic skills as well as music ranging from ensemble work to the learning of individual roles, mainly in the original language. Gradually, the students are given smaller tasks incorporating singing and acting.

In Year 2 and 3, the musical and dramatic courses expand both in terms of styles and genres. The students will also be given the opportunity to take part in larger and smaller performances and concerts, with either orchestra or piano.

In addition, every endeavour is made to give the students practical stage experience through participation in productions at the Royal Danish Theatre or other opera stages.
Throughout the entire course, classes are held in classical dance, makeup, fencing, languages, acting etc. We also offer Masterclasses and interpretation classes with internationally acclaimed stage artists.

Teaching staff

Head of Academy: Anne Margrethe Dahl
Singing teachers (main subject): Professor Helene Gjerris, Kirsten Buhl Møller, Susanna Eken, Opera singer/Head of Academy Anne Margrethe Dahl
Head of Music: Fiona MacSherry
Head of Drama: Ebbe Knudsen

Every academic year, other drama teachers, stage directors, coaches, conductors, movement teachers, language coaches and dramatic advisors will be associated with the Opera Academy.



The syllabus

Musical subjects

Singing lessons (main subject): Lessons take the form of regular, one-to-one singing lessons throughout the course. Our aim is for each student to reach levels of vocal and musical ability that make them qualified to undertake professionally on stage medium large/large roles within the relevant vocal repertoire.

Musical coaching: One-to-one coaching is offered regularly throughout the course, rehearsing the music used on the rest of the course, plus basic repertoire knowledge. In addition, each student is supported throughout the studies with the course "Learning a role with a coach" (see this).

Declamation/Speech: A Year 1 course combining work on text and voice as the foundation for acting skills. If a student has basic technical issues with speech, this course may, where needed, be given as a supplementary subject to the singing lessons. Upon recommendation, this course may be passed after Year 1.

Languages: Our requirements are the same as for Voice study at The Royal Danish Academy of Music (see this). The teaching underpins the learning of repertoire in foreign languages, and may, if necessary, take place as regular courses and/or consultation lessons in connection with performance tasks.

Ensemble singing / recitative / rehearsal with coach/conductor: This subject is taught throughout the course and provides training in ensemble disciplines, in particular those that are relevant for the stage. The teaching takes place in small groups.

Dramatic subjects

Acting: Year 1, group teaching. Provides basic acting technique (e.g. improvisation, group exercises and non-sung texts). This training is gradually integrated with musical drama.

Musical acting: Musical acting will gradually supplant 'Acting' as the basic acting course. The teaching is based on scenic work using excerpts from or complete works of opera, individually or in groups depending on the project. Each project will normally end with a performance. This performance forms the main basis for the evaluation of both the development and level of each student.

Musical interpretation, including Learning a role with a coach: One-to-one teaching throughout the course. This course supplements the music-dramatic work. It gives the opportunity to learn repertoire and assists in the preparation for auditions.




Body work

Warming up, strength, improvisation and dance: Taught regularly in groups throughout the course. Includes modern dance, classical dance, fencing and stunt work. Teaching of scenic body awareness. Upon recommendation from the singing teacher (main subject), a student may be given supplementary classes in e.g. relaxation techniques, Alexander Technique, Pilates etc.

The above subjects constitute the basic course. In addition, other course modules and study trips may be arranged.

Course modules: Course modules in musical/scenic skills, e.g. Masterclasses, mime, fencing, working with an orchestra, makeup, cultural information etc.

Study trips: We seek to arrange one trip per year to opera houses and/or academies abroad.

Scope, content and progression for each subject

We endeavour to have a flexible structure to the course in order to achieve:

  • A course that is structured personally taking into consideration the individual development of each student.
  • Integration of the subjects, both between and within the main groups of subjects. The music-dramatic development will e.g. be assessed by the singing teacher (individual singing) and the language teaching may be co-ordinated with specific projects.
  • A combination of immersive work on specific projects (e.g. courses, musical acting and practical experience) with regular subjects (such as e.g. singing lessons)
  • The course




An annual admission exam is held in February/March where six students are admitted. Admission exam 2017 is held February 24th, 25th and 26th at The Opera House

The application deadline is: February 1st at noon.

Information about application can be found at the official website of the  Royal Danish Academy of Music (download PDF) or be acquired by calling +45 72 26 72 26.

Application for the Opera Academy at www.musikuddannelser.dk 

Should you experience problems with your application at www.musikuddannelser.dk please contact admission@dkdm.dk

Information about Danish translations: Please send an email stating that you are an applicant for the Opera Academy and the aria or recitative you have chosen to sing in Danish (composer, title, role, aria or rec. number, beginning of text in original language) to musikarkiv@kglteater.dk and the translation will be mailed to you if possible.

Rules of admission

The annual admission exam is presided over by a committee consisting of:

  • The Principal of the Opera Academy
  • An internal examiner appointed among teachers at the Royal Danish Theatre or the Opera Academy
  • An external examiner appointed among the teachers at the Royal Danish Academy of Music who are associated with the Opera Academy
  • Two external examiners serving a three-year term, appointed by the Danish Ministry of Cultural Affairs following recommendations by the Opera Academy

Students are nominated for admission by the committee. However, the final decision of admission is made by the Opera Academy Council following recommendation by the Principle.

If an examiner is disqualified related to one of the applicants, this examiner has neither right to talk nor to vote concerning this applicant. When the qualifications of the applicant in such a situation are being discussed, the assessor will then instead alt as examiner.

Admission qualifications

An applicant is qualified if deemed by the committee to have demonstrated a potential in achieving the highest standards of the art of opera within the timeframe of the three-year study program, or in special cases a four-year program.

General musical skills are required on par with the requirements of a Masters degree from the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Applicants are required to be able to follow tuition given in Danish.

Total admission

A total of 6 students are admitted annually.

Application and admission procedure

Admission for the Opera Academy at www.musikuddannelser.dk. The procedure at musikuddannelser.dk must be followed, printed and signed and sent by normal mail to the Royal Danish Academy of Music and registered no later than 1st February at noon. The site is open for application from around mid December.

Applicants will receive instructions prior to examination as to where and when the examination will take place in addition to information on the nature and procedure of the examination.

Applicants will receive notice of their nomination shortly after their completed tests. Final notification of admission to the Opera Academy is subject to the approval by the Opera Academy Council.

Complaints procedure

Complaints over the admission examination are subject to the procedures stipulated by Executive Order No 328 of 22 May 1995, issued by the Danish Ministry of Cultural Affairs.


Applicants will be judged on the basis of an assessment of their potential to achieve the highest standards of the art of opera.

Guidelines for the admission examination are issued by the management of the Opera Academy.

Grades are given on the basis of the national grading system issued by the Danish Ministry of Education.

Admission is limited to the number of student places offered by the Opera Academy and may also be subject to the Academy’s priority of achieving an overall balance between the different types of singing voices.

Examination requirements

Two opera arias and a major opera recitative of which at least one must be performed in Danish. The presentation should not last more than 12 minutes.

The board of examiners reserves the right to shorten the time allocated to individual applicants or presentations and to require additional testing, which may include the following presentations:

The performance of one song or ballad of the applicant’s own choice in the applicant’s mother tongue with piano accompaniment or unaccompanied. Duration: max 3 minutes.

One monologue (or similar presentation) from a play or a piece of prose or a poem of own choice – in the mother tongue of the applicant. Duration: max 3 minutes.

An improvisation conducted with an appointed drama teacher with whom the session is planned and executed immediately.

Musical work with a coach on an aria or recitative.

All presentations must be made from memory.

Applicant may in special circumstances be admitted to the Opera Academy on the basis of their vocal skills if they are considered to be on par with those of Master students at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, even if the applicant’s general musical standing is less well developed.

In such circumstances applicants are required to follow a special program developed by the management of the Opera Academy.

Applicants to the Opera Academy, who wish to apply for entry to the Royal Danish Academy of Music as a secondary choice, must submit their application to the Royal Danish Academy of Music by 1st December at noon.



Postboks 2185
1017 København K

Head of Academy

Anne Margrethe Dahl
33 69 37 81


Susanne Rolin
33 69 37 91

Helena Schulstad
33 69 37 92

Cecilie Engen Winton
33 69 37 93