Summer Opera Course 2018
June 9th - 16th
Chicago, IL

Summer Opera Course
June 9th - 16th, 2018

Now in its third year, Haymarket’s Summer Opera Course offers students a unique opportunity to study early Italian operatic literature and performance practice with leading artists in the field of early music. Participants receive daily exploratory lessons in Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® as well as Viewpoints® Acting, with an emphasis in gesture of the 17th century. Additionally, each student receives one-on-one vocal coaching and Italian diction coaching. The week culminates in a staged public performance of Cavalli’s La Didone accompanied by members of the Haymarket Opera Orchestra which will be recorded for future use by participants.

Cavalli’s La Didone premiered at Venice’s Teatro San Cassiano in 1640. Librettist Giovanni Francesco Busenello (author of the libretto for Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea) based the story on Virgil’s Aeneid.


Daily Schedule:

9-10 Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement®

10-11 Viewpoints® acting and baroque gesture

11-12:00 Master class and/or lecture

1:30-5:00 Stage rehearsals for Cavalli’s La Didone; concurrent Italian diction coaching and musical coaching


Full 8-day course tuition: $850

*Tuition includes an Architectural Foundation of Chicago riverboat tour.


2018 Summer Opera Course Faculty

Drew Minter, Stage Director
Craig Trompeter, Program Director, Feldenkrais®
Alessandra Visconti, Italian Diction
David Schrader, Vocal coaching and Performance Practice


Applications open: December 28, 2017

Applications due: March 1, 2018

To apply, please visit our page on

You will need to submit:

  1. $30 registration fee

  2. A resume or brief description summarizing your musical background and experience, including formal and informal training, education, and professional experience.

  3. Approximately 10 minutes of music showing your technique, expression, and understanding of baroque style. Please include at least one selection in Italian. High quality video files are preferred, but audio recordings are acceptable. Please include composer and title information with your submission and do not include music that was composed after 1750.

  4. A professional headshot

Many file types for audio and video can be uploaded on the Acceptd website.


Limited work-study scholarship funds are available with preference given to Chicago residents. To apply, provide a cover letter with audition packet that details your experience and goals in the field of early music. Early Music America and Opera America also provide scholarships. Please consider contacting your local arts and cultural societies about possible funding.

Room and Board

Dormitory housing is available through Roosevelt University. Single rooms at approximately $60 a night.


As opera performers, singers must have complete awareness of their instruments, both voice and body, in setting themselves free to inhabit the characters they portray.  At Haymarket, we are uniting two awareness methods -- Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement® and Viewpoints technique for actors -- to help singers free their physical instruments.  We then use this awareness and focus it through the lens of baroque theatrical movement and gesture.  In addition, through vocal masterclasses focused on the particular opera we choose and its style of performance, we can unleash the singer's potential to unite the voice and body in music.  The goal is that through an advanced awareness, the actor seems to be creating the music he or she sings, rather than reacting to it.

- Drew Minter, Stage Director


SOC Alumni Testimonials

HOC's Summer Opera Course is unique in its focus on the body and how we can use it expressively as singers of early music. We singers are often told that the demands of opera are becoming more and more physical and that audiences are becoming more visual, and yet it is hard to find summer programs that really tackle those things in a comprehensive way. Between the Feldenkrais and the work with Drew Minter on Baroque gesture, I really grew a lot in my understanding of how to be an effective performer head to toe. In addition to that, the musical experience was made incredibly satisfying by the top-notch faculty who coached us and by the high level of the other students in the group. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn a role in an environment that was both nurturing and that pushed us to grow.
 - Emily Hughes, soprano
The Summer Opera Course opened my eyes to the pristine beauty and drama of early opera traditions. Learning from true masters of their fields, I left the program much more confident as a performer and inspired as a lover of early music.
 - Ari Bell, bass


Drew Minter, Stage Director
Drew Minter debuted nearly four decades ago in both Europe and New York and has been regarded as one of the world's most renowned countertenors ever since.  He appeared in leading roles with the opera companies of Brussels, Toulouse, Boston, Washington, Santa Fe, Wolf Trap, Glimmerglass, and Nice, among others.  A recognized specialist in the works of Handel, he has performed frequently at the Handel festivals of Göttingen, Halle, Karlsruhe, Maryland and sung with many of the world's leading baroque orchestras, including Les Arts Florissants, the Handel and Haydn Society, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Freiburger Barockorchester, and as a guest at festivals such as Tanglewood, Ravinia, Regensburg, BAM's Next Wave, Edinburgh, Spoleto, and Boston Early Music; other orchestra credits include the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.  Mr. Minter was a founding member of the Newberry Consort and My Lord Chamberlain’s Consort, and has sung and played early harps often with ARTEK, the Folger Consort, and Trefoil, the medieval trio he co-founded in 2000.  He teaches voice, choir and the opera workshop at Vassar College. For over two decades, Mr. Minter has directed much opera in America and Europe, and was founding artistic director of Boston Midsummer Opera from 2006-2011. His production of The Play of Daniel, premiered at the Cloisters in 2008, has been an annual event of the New York Christmas season as part of the Twelfth Night Festival at Trinity Church Wall Street.

Craig Trompeter, Music Director
Artistic Director Craig Trompeter has been a musical presence in Chicago for more than twenty years. As an acclaimed cellist and violist da gamba he has performed in concert and over the airwaves with Second City Musick, Music of the Baroque, the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, the Cal Players, the Oberlin Consort of Viols, and Great Lakes Baroque. He has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Glimmerglass Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Valletta International Baroque Festival in Malta. He has appeared as soloist at the Ravinia Festival, the annual conference of the American Bach Society, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and with Music of the Baroque. Trompeter has recorded works of Mozart, Biber, Boismortier, Marais, Handel, Greene, Henry Eccles, and a potpourri of Elizabethan composers on the Harmonia Mundi, Cedille, and Centaur labels. As a modern cellist, he was a founding member of the Fry Street String Quartet. He premiered several chamber operas by MacArthur Fellow John Eaton, performing as actor, singer and cellist. Most recently he served as Music Director for Francesca Caccini's opera La liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina at Utah State University. He has taught master classes at his alma mater, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Grinnell College, and the Chicago Musical College. In 2003 he founded the Feldenkrais® Center of Chicago where he teaches Awareness Through Movement® andFunctional Integration®. He has given Feldenkrais workshops throughout the nation in universities, music conservatories, and dance studios.

Alessandra Visconti, Italian Language Coach
Alessandra Visconti was born in Beirut, Lebanon and grew up in Rome. Her academic background includes studies in comparative literature at the University of Venice, a degree in Historical Performance at the Mannes College of Music in NYC and an MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She has performed throughout the US, Europe and Japan and can be heard on critically acclaimed recordings of medieval, renaissance and baroque music. She coaches operatic diction at the Chicago Opera Theater and the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and has performed with the New York Choral Artists, Musica Sacra, the Newberry Consort, Music of the Baroque, Schola Antiqua of Chicago and the Beyond the Score series with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has published two Italian language manuals with McGraw-Hill and is currently doing research on the acquisition of Italian by speakers of Spanish.