About The Royal Opera Academy

About The Royal Opera Academy

The Royal Theatre and The Royal Danish Academy of Music collaborate through The Opera Academy on the educational training in opera. A two-year Master’s degree in opera is being offered as well as a two-year soloist class in opera on the highest level. The Opera Academy is situated at The Opera House on Dokøen, and classes will take place at both The Opera House and at The Royal Danish Academy of Music. Both degrees have been prescribed to 120 ECTS-point.

The Master’s Degree

A completed Bachelor’s degree in music or documentation of an equivalent level is a prerequisite for entering the Master’s programme. The Royal Danish Academy of Music is responsible for the vocal and musical training and The Royal Theatre is responsible for the dramatic training. The diploma will be issued by The Royal Danish Academy of Music.

The Soloist Class

A completed Master’s degree in music or documentation of an equivalent level is a prerequisite for entering the soloist class. This programme is offered to particularly talented young opera singers at the highest level. The course of study is tailored to the individual singer in collaboration between The Opera Academy, The Royal Danish Academy of Music, and the opera department at The Royal Theatre in the form of a Young Artist Programme. A debut project concludes the soloist class. The diploma will be issued by The Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Applicants who already hold a Master’s degree or have completed a soloist class can only be admitted to a new Master’s programme or soloist class if study places are available.

* A transitional agreement will be established for students who already hold a Master’s degree in 2018 and 2019, allowing them to apply on equal terms as applicants who hold a Bachelor’s degree. 


Spring 2019

Main Stage concerts (The Opera House)
Saturday the 26 January at 7:30 pm
Sunday the 27 January at 7:30 pm
Soloists: The Opera academy’s students
Orchestra: The Royal Danish Academy of Music Orchestra
Conductor: Mikael Boder
MC: Anne Margrethe Dahl 

Tickets at kglteater.dk

L'incoronazione di Poppea - Monteverdi on Takkelloftet (The small stage in the Opera House)
18., 20.,22., 24 March at 7:30 pm

Nero: Mia Bergström
Poppea: Margaux de Valensart/Frøy Hovland Holtbakk
Ottavia: Kari Dahl Nielsen
Ottone: Magnus Ingemund Kjelstad
Seneca: NN
Drusilla/Virtu: Cassandra Lemoine
Arnalta: Johan Olsson
Amore: Henrike Henken
Fortuna: Renate Ekerhovd
Soldier 1: Mathias Monrad Møller
Soldier 2: Fredrik Bjellsäter
Liberto: Tomi Punkeri
Lucano: Mathias Monrad Møller
Director: Ebbe Knudsen
Conductor: Maris Kupcs 

Tickets at kglteater.dk

Concerts, 1st year students
28 March: Kongegaarden, Korsør 7:30 pm
29. Marchs: Køge Musikskole 7:30 pm
7 April: Næstved Musikforening 3:30 pm 

Exams and presentations 2019 in Sal A at the Old Stage
June 12th  + 14th o Cosí fan tutte

June 13th and 15th Hänsel und Gretel
+ scenes from Anna Bolena, L'elisir d'amore and Die Verkaufte Braut

12th, 13th, and 14th of June at 7 pm
15th of June at 12 am

For all the Opera Academy's presentations and exams, there is free access, and you get a seat after the first-come-first-served principle.


In the season, 2018/2019 Opera Academy students perform in these Royal Danish Opera performances:
Kari Dahl Nielsen sings Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro.  Mia Bergstrøm is cover for her. Renate Ekerhovd sings Barbarina.

Amanda Larsson, Mathias Monrad Møller and Frederik Bjellsäter have parts in Il Trovatore 

Magnus Kjelstad and Margaux de Valensart have cover parts as Schaunard and Musetta in La Bohéme.

Frøy Hovland Holtbakk and Mia Bergstöm share the part as Sister Ida in Die Fliedermaus

In Drot og Marsk will Mathias Monrad Møller sing the part as Arved.

Martin Vilbrand will sing the part as Sciarrone in Tosca.

Kari Dahl Nielsen sings Mao’s second secretary in Nixon in China

Amanda Larsson, Kari Dahl Nielsen, Margaux de Valensart, Frøy Hovland Holtbakk and Mia Bergstöm will sing Blumenmädchen with the Royal Danish Orchestra at the concert the 2 February when they play act 2 of Wagner’s Parsifal.



About the training

The Master’s degree

During the course of study continuous work is focused on technical and artistic development. Consecutively the students are offered training in physical and dramatic skills. Through coaching the musical training focuses on ensemble singing and role study, with a special focus on stylistic awareness, diction, and interpretation. During the two years of study the many subjects and skills are combined in dramatic assignments, either in the form of workshops, productions of various size or concerts.

At the final exam, the student is expected to have acquired sufficient tools during the individual study to support the ability to carry out and express his/her own artistic concept – alone or in collaboration with other artists on a high level.

The curriculum is currently being developed and will comply with the formal demands of a Master’s degree at The Royal Danish Academy of Music.


The soloist class

In the Young Artist Programme The Royal Theatre, The Royal Danish Academy of Music and The Opera Academy collaborate on an individual course of study with a special focus on practical experience in the work as an opera soloist. There will be continual training in voice, dramatic technique and coaching. Furthermore vocal and musical development of relevant audition repertoire as well as professional audio/video recordings of this repertoire are prepared and will be presented at the completion of the studies. At the final exam the student is expected to appear as a mature, artistic personalty, who is able to create, realize, and express his/her own artistic concepts on the highest professional level.

The curriculum is currently being developed



The Syllabus – The Master’s degree

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 two-year Master’s programme: The entrance exam takes place in February/March every year. In 2019 the entrance exam for the two-year Master’s programme will take place March 8th, 9th and 10th. The application deadline is February 1st 2019 at noon.

The two-year soloist class programme: The first entrance exam takes place in the autumn of 2019. The entrance exam procedure is currently being prepared.

Information on application and admission can be found on the website of The Royal Danish Academy of Music here or be acquired by calling The Royal Danish Academy of Music: +45 72 26 72 26.

Information on how to apply as well as the application form can be found here.

Entrance exam procedure for the Master’s programme: The entrance exam for the Master’s programme at The Opera Academy takes place once a year. The entrance exam is judged by a committee of examiners, which is made up of the following:

  • the principal of The Opera Academy
  • an examiner appointed among the teachers at The Royal Theatre or The Opera Academy
  • an examiner appointed among the teachers at The Royal Danish Academy of Music who are associated with The Opera Academy
  • two external examiners officially appointed by The Danish Ministry of Culture and recommended by The Opera Academy Council
  • an assessor officially appointed by The Danish Ministry of Culture and recommended by The Opera Academy Council

The committee of examiners recommend qualified applicants to The Opera Academy Council. The admission is carried out by The Royal Danish Academy of Music based on the decision of The Opera Academy Council.  

If an examiner is disqualified in relation to an applicant, the examiner neither has the right to speak or to vote in relation to this applicant. The assessor will function as examiner with regard to this applicant, while the disqualified examiner functions as assessor.

Admission requirements: A completed Bachelor’s degree in music or documentation of an equivalent level as well as a passed entrance exam is a prerequisite for entering the Master’s programme. The decision about admission is made by The Royal Danish Academy of Music and The Opera Academy on the basis of a concrete evaluation of the abilities and skills of the applicant carried out by The Royal Danish Academy of Music and The Opera Academy together with one or more examiners, who are officially appointed by The Danish Ministry of Culture.

Total admission: Every year6 students are admitted in the Master’s programme and 3 in the soloist class.

Application and admission procedure: Enrollment in the entrance exam takes place via the following link: https://dkdm.mynetworkglobal.com/en/what:registrations/

You must sign up no later than February 1st at noon.

Prior to the entrance exam the applicant will receive an induction indicating time and place of the entrance exam and information about the content and sequence of events. Immediately after the last round of the entrance exam the applicant will be notified about a possible recommendation for admission. However, final notification about admission can only be given after a hearing in The Opera Academy Council and at The Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Procedure of complaints: Complaints on the entrance exam are treated according to the executive order of The Danish Ministry of Culture

Assessment: The judgment is based on a compiledassessment of the applicant’s prospect of being able to work as an opera singer on the highest artistic level after graduation.

The management of The Opera Academy determines the guidelines for the entrance exam procedure. After the 3rd round a mark on the currently applicable marking scale is given. In the decision on who to admit, not only the limited number of study places, but also the voice type of the applicant may be taken into concideration, since this is crucial to the function of The Opera Academy.

The content of the entrance exam: 

The audition takes place in 3 rounds, for which you must prepare 2 arias and a longer recitativo, 1 song or romance in your mother tongue, and a monologue.

  1. Round – one aria of your own choice. Total duration max 4 minutes.
  2. Round – the rest of the repertoire is performed, ie. one aria, one longer recitativo, a song, and a monologue. Total duration max 12 minutes.
  3. An improvisational sequence during which you work with music and interpretation with an appointed coach and Head of Drama at The Opera Academy. Finally there will be a short conversation with the examinators.

All prepared pieces must be performed by memory

Entrance exam procedure for the two-year soloist class/Young Artist Programme:
The entrance exam procedure is currently being developed. The first entrance exam will take place in the autumn of 2019.


Postboks 2185
1017 København K

Head of Academy

Anne Margrethe Dahl
33 69 37 81


Helena Schulstad
33 69 37 92

Cecilie Engen Winton
33 69 37 93



Anne Margrethe Dahl

Head of Academy and part time teacher Voice

Debut 1989 as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Aarhus Summer Opera.

Ithefollowing years Anne Margrethe Dahl sang numerous parts and oratorios in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Switzerland, Poland, France, Germany, Brazil, Canada og Singapore.

From 1999 and until her pension in 2016 Anne Margrethe Dahl has been assigned to The Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen as soloist in the ensemble.
The repertoire has been very varied:

Mozart performances as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro and Elektra in Mozart’s Idomeneo. Puccini performances as Manon in Manon Lescaut, Musetta in La Bohème, Cho-Cho San in Madama Butterfly. Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. Aunt Lydia in Poul Ruders’ The Handmaid’s Tale. Countess Folleville in Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims. The Spirit of Mystery in Langgaard’s Antichrist. Adda Bloch in Frandsen’s I-K-O-N™. Freja in Wagner’s Das Rheingold. Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Elisabeth in Tannhäuser. Feltmarschalin in Der Rosenkavalier. And latest Lady Macbeth from Mzinsk.

Featured on several CD productions.

In 2005 Anne Margrethe Dahl took a Master’s degree in Elite Pedagogy. This became the beginning of her educational careers: From 2006-2008 - Head assistant at The Opera Academy, The Royal Theater. And from 2008 she has been the Head of Academy.

Anne Margrethe Dahl is vocal teacher at The Royal Academy of Music and The Opera Academy. Anne Margrethe Dahl is also directing opera at The Opera Academy.
She has given several master classes at the Biennales in Stockholm (2009) and Helsinki (2011) for the Nordic opera schools as well in Olavs Festdagene in Trondheim.

Prizes and scholarships
Edith Allers Mindelegat 1995, Frederiksborg Kulturcenters Kunstnerpris 1998, Axel Schiøtz Prisen 1999, Elisabeth Dons’ Mindelegat 2000 and Ole Haslunds Kunstnerlegat (2016).  Honoured with a Danish knighthood, Ridder af Dannebrog in 2000 and of 1st degree in 2009. 

Ann Thayer Crosset

Dancer and teacher under the physical/dramatic department

An award-winning graduate of the Juilliard School  of Performing Arts in New York, dancer, choreographer,  artistic director, Ann Crosset has created over 100 works for dance, theater, film and opera. Known on stage, in film and in rehearsal rooms for her “vitality, humor, and breaktaking honesty”, Ann’s solo performance credits include:  The Future May be Bright but not Necessaciarly Orange: A co- production with Robyn Orlin; Search Hamlet directed by Ong keng Sen; The Stockmarket Road Show with Åben Dance Productions; and in the film Dancer in the Dark directed by Lars Von Trier.

Her choreographic credits include: the modern opera, Den Stundenløse by Ludvig Holberg, the musical The Good God Girls, the opera Night with Guests by Peter Wiess,  Moliére's play Tartuffe, for Malmø State Theater; Der Wildschütz or The Poacher directed by William Relton for Darmstadt State Theater, and Line Knudsen's The Work Men for Göteburg State Theater.

At present Ann is artistic director of  Kompagni B, a unique childrens ballet company here at The Royal Danish Theater. She is honored to have taught movement classes, designed and developed programs for Opera Academy for over 20 years. 

Christen Stubbe Teglbjærg

Associate professor

Works as a rehearser and accompanist, especially for singers.

Educated in piano at the RDAM (début 1987) and at the University of Copenhagen in musicology and mathematics/physics. 

Has an extensive career as an accompanist for leading Danish singers. 

Has recorded several CDs and participated in numerous radio and TV productions.

Ebbe Knudsen

Head of Drama

Ebbe Knudsen freelances as a stage director, and has worked for many theatres in Denmark, both large and small, creating performances of children’s theatre, comedy, revue, musical theatre and plays.

Since 2000, he has also worked as a drama instructor for the Royal Opera Academy. In 2010, he was appointed as its Head of Drama. He has also worked as a guest director at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, staging several opera performances.

During his time at the Royal Opera Academy, he has created a drama training program designed especially for classical singers, giving each singer a host of professional tools, both physical and related to text.

During the first year, the students work regularly with text and/or movement without singing, in order for the singers to develop their ability to express themselves freely and in a direct manner within the context of musical drama.

The aim of the drama work is to train independent and discerning singers, enabling them to relate actively and in a creative way to both the music and text of an opera.

Each singer is trained to be able to meet the demands of the modern opera world through working on all aspects of opera: voice, music, stage presence, linguistic awareness, a nuanced shaping of character and understanding of dramatic situations.

Helene Gjerris

Professor and head of voice department

“The ever brilliant Helene Gjerris” – Guy Rickards, Gramophone

Described as “perhaps Danish music’s greatest find for a long time”, mezzo soprano Helene Gjerris emerged as a unique figure on the Danish music scene even before she made her official debut in 1997. With an all- encompassing talent and a warm clear voice, Helene commands an intensive and passionate presence on stage.

Trained at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and at École Philippe Gaulier, a London- based school of Dramatic Arts, Helene Gjerris began her career singing Renaissance music in the vocal ensemble Ars Nova Copenhagen. By the age of 24 she was already co-founder of the contemporary music ensemble FIGURA.

She has since appeared in European baroque stage productions in operas by Händel, Monteverdi and Cavalli. In the standard repertoire, she has performed parts such as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro and Maddelena in Rigoletto, and been lauded for her title roles in, for example, Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Bizet’s Carmen at The Danish National Opera and The Royal Opera in Copenhagen. In addition, she has sung as a soloist with all the Danish symphony orchestras in concert and oratorios by Bach, Händel and Mozart, and is regularly heard in concerts performing a wide repertoire from the Berlin cabaret scene of the 1930’s.

Her charismatic performance style comes into its own particularly in contemporary music. She has performed an extensive amount of contemporary music throughout her career and several works have been composed especially for her.

Recordings for the Dacapo label include Danish composer Per Nørgård’s opera Nuit des Hommes, his cantata The Will-o’-the Wisps Have Gone to Town, and the anthology of chamber music Songs from Evening Land as well as Rued Langgaard’s late-Romantic mystery play Antichrist and new works by Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen, Niels Rosing-Schow and Sunleif Rasmussen.

The numerous accomplishments in her wide-ranging repertoire have earned her many awards, notably the Aksel Schiøtz Prize, the honorary prize of the Danish Composers' Society, and the Reumert Prize.

In addition to her career on stage, Helene holds a Master’s Degree in Elite Voice Pedagogy. She has been a member of staff at The Danish National Academy of Music in Odense since 2003, in a professorship from 2009 to 2016. From 2009, she furthermore taught at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and was here appointed professor and Head of Voice Department in 2016. She teaches vocal technique, interpretation and performance skills, and her repertoire that includes a large variety of Lied, oratorio, opera and vocal chamber music.

In the field of education, she has also excelled with artistic and pedagogical research in the fields of interpretation, in performance skills and improvisation for instrumentalists and singers, and has developed a drama training program for young singers at The Danish National Academy of Music in Odense. Lastly, she has given concert lectures on the performance of works for solo voice with graphic scores including improvisation.

“Helene Gjerris inspires with a record achievement of vocal and interpretative powers.” 

Jens Søndergaard

Part time teacher

Jens Søndergaard graduated in 2003 from the Royal Opera Academy in Copenhagen, and had his debut in 2005 from The Royal Danish Academy of Music. From 2004-2007 he was a member of the ensemble at Das Deutsche Nationaltheater Weimar. 

Since 2007 Jens Søndergaard has been working as a freelance singer at theatres like The Royal Danish Theater in Copenhagen, The National Opera in Aarhus and Aarhus Summeropera.

As a concert singer Jens Søndergaard is frequently engaged with the major orchestras in Denmark performing The Passion of St. John, The Passion of St. Matthew, B-minor mass, Messiah and Weihnachtsoratorium. Furthermore he has performed with the Swedish conductor Eric Ericsson in Ein Deutsches Requiem.

Read more on On Stage Artists website

Kirsten Buhl Møller

Part time teacher, Voice

Kirsten Buhl Møller har været ansat ved DKDM siden 1980, fra 1995 som professor. Hun har uddannet en lang række sangere, der siden er slået igennem på de internationale scener. Hun har desuden været gæstelærer ved Musikhögskolan i Stockholm, Conservatoire Nationale Supériore, Paris, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester og Estonian Academy of Music and Theater, Tallin, ligesom hun via distance learning samarbejder med Sibelius Akademiet, Helsinki, Manhattan School of Music, New York og Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland. Derudover er hun medlem af juryer ved sangkonkurrencer nationalt og internationalt.

Marlene Smith


Marlene Smith was in 1996 graduated from Iwanson International School for contemporary Dance. She has since then worked as a dancer, teacher and choreographer both at home and abroad.

During the latest years, she has choreographed and directed many music-dramatic performances and projects.

Marlene Smith has sine 2005 been attached to The Opera Academy at The Royal Theatre in Copenhagen as a teacher. Here she has worked with the students in several different disciplines including physical coaching and training, workshops, choreography and direction.

Sofia Wilkman

Pianist, accompanist and coach

In 2012, the Finnish-Swedish pianist Sofia Wilkman completed her Master of Music degree at the Sibelius Academy with top marks. She studied with piano professors Teppo Koivisto and Ilmo Ranta. In September 2014, she gave her debut concert upon completing her studies at the soloist class at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Her main subjects were accompaniment and chamber music under the tutorship of piano professors Niklas Sivelöv and Friedrich Gürtler.

Sofia Wilkman is in great demand both for chamber music and as an accompanist for song recitals. She has given concerts in all the Nordic countries, as well as in Estonia, Latvia, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal and USA, and she is collaborating with some of the finest young singers from the Nordic countries. Sofia Wilkman has won many prizes both for chamber music and as a song recital accompanist. In September 2017, she won both the 2nd prize and a special price for the best performance of a Danish song at the Copenhagen Lied-Duo Competition together with the baritone Aleksander Nohr.

Since 2013, Wilkman has worked as an accompanist at The Royal Opera Academy in Copenhagen. She has also worked for NordicOpera, Cumulusteatret and Den Jyske Opera.

Susanna Eken

Part Time Teacher, Voice

Teacher of song at the RDAM and the Opera Academy. Music Teacher Diploma in the aesthetics of speaking and in the minor subject rhetoric at the University of Copenhagen. Educated as a singer at the RDAM. Master of Arts in Communication Studies at Emerson College, Boston, USA. Gives lectures and courses at Danish and international master classes. Attached to the Study of Opera at the Opera de la Monnaie, Brussels. 

In 1998 she published the book "The Human Voice" (pdf).

Thomas Kenneth Darelius

Associate professor 

Since 1990 employed as repetiteur and accompanist at The Royal Academy of Music.

Thomas Darelius was educated at The Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus from 1979 – 1987 (graduated with diploma in 1985 and debut in 1987).  Exchangestudent at The Moscow Conservatory with Professor Tajana Nikolajeva in 1988 – 1989.

Employed at The Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus from 1987 – 1988.

Coach in Russian language at The Royal Theatre in Copenhagen and The Opera Academy.