The Foundation supports exceptionally talented young professional opera singers who are still taking early steps and show promise for significant careers. Prizes are awarded through live auditions; singers are selected for auditions through an online application process.
Sullivan Award winners receive $10,000 for career-related expenses and are eligible to apply for additional role preparation grants for the next five years, a unique aspect of the Foundation's commitment to early career singers. These grants are typically designated to assist with musical, dramatic, vocal, and language preparation for new professional roles, or for learning roles in new languages. The judges may also decide to award Career Development Grants at the auditions ($2,500 each in 2021).
2022 auditions will be held on November 6 and 7 in New York City. Singers must be available on at least one of these dates; there are no callbacks or finals. Limited travel reimbursement assistance is available for singers coming from outside the New York metro area.
Audition applications are due on August 29, 2022; the application will close at 11:59 pm EDT. Since audition slots are limited, the online application process is selective. Please see the guidelines below, including the specific contract, letter, and video requirements. Any COVID protocols will be updated later; proof of vaccination may be required.
1Applicants must have completed their academic training.
2They should have sung at least one professional engagement with an opera company, orchestra, or other organization using full orchestral accompaniment.
3They must submit a copy of a contract or letter of intent for a professional, paid, solo engagement with full orchestra (not a cover) either after the audition date or in the six months prior to the auditions.
4Singers coming to the end of full-year Young Artist Programs may be chosen to audition for Sullivan awards; if they are winners, their eligibility for role preparation grants can be deferred until they have graduated from those programs.
2One-page chronological resume
4Professional Solo Contract or Letter of Intent – For a paid, professional solo engagement (no covers) with full orchestral accompaniment that opens after the audition dates or in the six months prior to the auditions (after May 5, 2022). Given the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the time for qualifying contracts for professional engagements has been extended again this year.
5Endorsement Letter – Written specifically for the Sullivan application by a music professional who is well-acquainted with the singer’s qualifications and – ideally – has engaged them as a performer. Current or former personal voice teachers, coaches, managers, and Sullivan trustees are not eligible to write endorsement letters. (Please contact the Foundation with any questions about who qualifies. Teachers and coaches who have worked with applicants in a professional setting such as a Young Artist Program are acceptable.) Endorsers will receive a link to upload a confidential letter to the online application program.
6Videos – Two arias in contrasting styles and languages performed with piano accompaniment Videos must be recorded within 12 months of the application deadline and must be made without acoustical enhancement or amplification. Each selection should be filmed in a single take. Videos should show the singer in full view from the audience’s perspective, and the singer’s face should be completely visible. The name of the singer and the title and composer of each aria must be included in the video (title, caption, or announcement). The combined length of the two arias may not exceed 10 minutes.
Sullivan Audition judges have always been distinguished artists and professionals, including: