Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Degree level: Postgraduate
UCAS Conservatoires

Master of Music (Opera) (Taught)

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

The RCS MMus Opera course has, over the last twenty years, established an enviable record in training and preparing singers for a career, and continues to serve as an effective platform to launch young artists on to the first steps of their professional career pathway. The Opera School is led by Head of Opera, Philip White. The school is also supported by Professor Stephen Robertson, a vocal pedagogue, and Opera lecturer Mark Hathaway. The department is a relatively small one, with 20-25 students over the two year course, so all students receive a great deal of individual attention. The RCS vocal staff is made up of experienced and distinguished teachers and practitioners, and a wide range of visiting coaches, directors and guest artists provide a constant source of external stimulus. A varied programme of performance takes place throughout the year. Opera Scenes allow students to experience different repertoire and style, and to discover their own strengths and weaknesses. The second-year productions explore chamber opera repertoire and along with the full-scale productions in the New Athenaeum Theatre, they provide opportunities to perform and collaborate with artists from across the RCS and with external visiting directors and conductors. Additionally, there are performance opportunities with Scottish Opera and regular concert series within RCS. Professional agents and opera companies are frequent visitors, ensuring the Opera School is a busy and vibrant place to learn.

Course details

Principal study options

During the application and audition process, you must select which instrument(s) you wish to specialise in for the duration of your course. On this course, you can choose from the following options:

Single specialism

Only one instrument is studied. It may be possible to study a further instrument formatively, but this will not contribute towards the qualification.


For all courses, you must select at least one specialism from the 'primary' list. For those studying primary/secondary pathways, two instruments may be selected – one from the 'primary' list and one from the 'secondary' list. Joint pathway students may select any two instruments from either list.

Primary instrument/specialism

  • Voice (Baritone)
  • Voice (Bass)
  • Voice (Bass-Baritone)
  • Voice (Contralto)
  • Voice (Counter-Tenor)
  • Voice (Mezzo-Soprano)


In addition to singing lessons, coaching and performance opportunities, a range of core skills in acting, movement, languages, French, German and Italian repertoire, audition technique are taught. These are assessed on an ongoing basis as part of ‘Supporting Studies’, while the principal assessments are, of course, focussed on the performances themselves. Opera scenes allow students to experience different repertoire and style, and to discover their own strengths and weaknesses. There have been also been recent collaborations with Scottish Opera in a variety of outfits. Professional agents and opera companies are frequent visitors. The RCS shares a close relationship with Scottish Opera and has collaborated on a project or production annually since 2004, with performances in professional external venues in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. Repertoire is very wide-ranging. Repertoire is chosen around the strengths of the students and seeks to engage the students with its content in seeking to expand their vocabulary in terms of vocal technique and stagecraft ability. Its suitability for that purpose has explored the very early (Monteverdi, Cavalli), mainstream (Rossini, Donizetti, Massenet, Bizet, Puccini, Tchaikovsky), a rich vein of 20th century repertoire (Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Britten) to contemporary works by Jonathan Dove and Judith Weir and a new commission by Rory Boyle. We regularly invite guests to RCS to work with students to advise on current industry requirements, with students participating in mock auditions and receiving feedback on their performance and CVs. Recent guests include Christian Curnyn and David Roblou (Baroque specialists), Matthew Waldren, Lionel Friend, Anthony Kraus and directors James Bonas, Jack Furness, Caroline Clegg, Jamie Manton, Maxine Braham, Olivia Fuchs, William Relton, Ashley Dean, Harry Fehr, Matthew Eberhardt, Stephen Lawless, Keith Warner and Julia Hollander. There are many opportunities to participate in masterclasses. Recent masterclasses include Susan Bullock CBE, Karen Cargill, Simon Keenlyside, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Dame Felicity Lott, Sir Thomas Allen, John Treleaven, Malcolm Martineau, Rosalind Plowright, Barbara Bonney, Roderick Williams, Jane Eaglen and Christine Brewer. Several of these are regular visitors, and not only work in the ‘traditional’ masterclass format, but also work with students in private sessions.

How to apply

This course is closed for the 2021 academic cycle. Please contact the provider or view the 2022 courses.

*If you are an international applicant, or you are applying for a postgraduate course, or are choosing certain assessment locations, the 'on time' deadline may be later in the year - please contact the conservatoire directly.

Application codes

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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

International applicants

Currently around 20% of our students come from outside the UK. Between them, they represent over 64 different nationalities and add a rich diversity to the Conservatoire.

Entry requirements

Candidates for both the MMus and MA are normally expected to hold a good honours (at least 2:2) degree, or its overseas equivalent, in a subject area relevant to the demands of the programme.

Additional entry requirements


Please refer to our Guide for Applicants for what to prepare for audition -

Assessment locations

In the event of a successful assessment, applicants may be invited for a further interview prior to being made an offer.

Remote assessment recordings may be accepted in the event that you cannot attend an assessment in person.

Single specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee

Joint principal specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee
RecordingNot available at this location

Additional information

For more information on what to prepare for audition, please see our website -

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £10050 Year 1
Scotland £10050 Year 1
Wales £10050 Year 1
Northern Ireland £10050 Year 1
EU £21612 Year 1
International £21612 Year 1

Additional fee information

For more information on fees and funding, please see our website -

Sponsorship information

The Royal Conservatoire is able to offer a number of entrance scholarships which are awarded as part of the audition/selection process on the basis of merit and financial need. Please see our website for more information -

Master of Music (Opera) at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - UCAS