OperaFest NJ 2015

June 29 – July 12, 2015

OperaFest New Jersey is an intensive, performance oriented 14 day opera training workshop in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
  • Learn from professional artists who have performed these roles with major opera companies around the world.
  • Work with faculty from The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, The Mannes School of Music.
  • Perform fully staged scenes and arias with sets, costumes, and props.

OperaFest 2015 Program: 

 Final Repertory Selection is based on each student's individual vocal and acting capabilities.

  • Two Performances of fully staged and costumed arias, duets and scenes from classic opera repertoire.
    Final Repertory Selection is based on each student’s vocal and acting capabilities.
  • Individual voice lessons and repertory coaching, acting classes, and staging rehearsals.
  • Master Classes in vocal technique, vocal projection, diction, IPA and pronunciation of Italian, French, German & English, acting, opera stage technique, improvisation, stage make-up, and career development.
  • Our Art Song Program is a whole new way to look at recital performance.
  • An Evening of Arias is a showcase for each singer to shine in an individual moment.
  • Class size limited to insure individual attention.
  • We videotape all of the students’ performances for further study and analysis.  
    Students receive a copy for their archival purposes and/or for electronic audition submissions.


OperaFest Faculty, a partial list:

  • Founder and Artistic Director Claudette Peterson – Internationally acclaimed leading soprano, has sung over 15 leading roles with New York City Opera.  She has also starred in productions with The Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington Opera, Opera Company of Boston, Virginia Opera, among others.  Internationally, she won rave reviews in Toronto with Canadian Opera, and in Europe at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, and at Opera de Nice as title role in The Merry Widow
  • David Kline – Renowned Columbia Artists Management bass-baritone, has sung over 1,000 performances in 49 states, including 67 operatic roles and 7 world Premieres.  He has sung with Seattle Opera, Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, and opera companies in Indianapolis, Detroit, Orlando, Arizona, Columbus, Syracuse, among others
  • David Maiullo – Music Director, is on the faculty at The Juilliard School, Nyack College, New Jersey City University.  Maestro Maiullo is one of the most active accompanists in the Tri-State area, with over 3,000 performances to his credit.
  • David Ostwald – Stage Director / Acting Teacher literally wrote the book on acting.  He is the author of Acting for Singers, published by Oxford University Press, which is a standard text in colleges and conservatories around the country.  David has directed over 170 productions of plays and operas in the US and abroad. He also specializes in teaching acting to singers of all levels.  His teaching credits include 4 years at Juilliard where he directed all productions for undergrad Opera Program and taught acting for singers, 15 years as head of the Opera Program at SUNY Purchase, The Aspen Music Festival, and UC Berkeley where he taught Directing and Modern Drama.
  • Arlene Shrut – Guest Coach / Collaborative Pianist, was chosen as the inaugural “Coach of the Year” by Classical Singer Magazine.  Dr. Shrut is on the faculty at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music. She has performed in major venues in America, Canada and Europe, and recorded for Dorian, Albany, Summit, Centaur and Orion.  She has presented Art Song Master Classes and Residences at festivals and universities across the US and Canada.
  • Susan Woodruff Versage – Coach / Pianist – is Assistant Professor and Opera Coach at the Mannes School of Music in NYC.  Susan was Assistant Conductor at New York City Opera. She has worked with opera companies in Zurich, Lucerne, and Neuchatel, Switzerland, and as coach/accompanist for Houston Grand Opera, Spoleto Festival, Kennedy Center, Minnesota Opera, Tulsa Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera. Teaching credits include the Konservatorium und Musikhochschule in Zurich, Switzerland. In 1998, she recorded Menotti's The Consul with the Berkshire Opera.
  • Mary Ann Gebhardt – Yoga Instructor, has studied and taught Yoga for 25 years, and is a registered member of the Yoga Alliance 500 Hours.  She teaches yoga based on the principle from Deepak Chopra's Seven Spiritual Laws, and has been certified by the Chopra Center.
  • Kevin Rawlings - Makeup Artist, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music with a degree in vocal performance, has been a make-up artist for the past twenty-six years.  While changing voice types from baritone to tenor, he was offered a position as a make-up artist at New York City Opera.  The security in this technical field proved too alluring to leave behind in order to pursue a singing career.  Mr. Rawlings worked for five years at New York City Opera and in 1991 moved to the Metropolitan Opera where he continues to work as make-up artist for principal artists today.

Applications / Auditions:

  • Applicants may complete their application online, or download the application, and submit by mail.
  • All applications must include a NON-REFUNDABLE Application Processing Fee of $50.  
    Please make checks payable to OperaFest, LLC.  Mail them to OperaFest, LLC, 325 Ivy Pl, Paramus, NJ  07652
  • All applicants must audition for Miss Peterson in person.
    If a live audition is not possible, applicants may audition by sending a tape, CD, DVD, or YouTube link. 
  • Audition should include 2 contrasting classical pieces showing range, size and vocal ability.
  • Applications & recordings are due by February 15, 2015.
  • Participants will be notified by February 22, 2015.

  • $1,900 includes individual voice lessons and coachings, master classes, and performance costumes and props.
  • $500 NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT, due by March 1, 2015 guarantees your place in OperaFest NJ 2015.
  • $1,400 NON-REFUNDABLE BALANCE is due by April 1, 2015.

  • EARLY REGISTRATION DISCOUNT - Tuition will be reduced by $100 to $1,800 if you apply to OperaFest NJ, are accepted, and pay your $500 Registration Deposit by January 1, 2015.


Class sizes are limited to
insure individual attention

download an application below



I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for all of your hard work and dedication that was so obvious as I watched the Operafest 2010! It was truly marvelous! The kids are so talented and so well prepared. They are a wonderful testament to their teachers! It was a pleasure

Sue Vitale