Bel Canto (‘beautiful singing’) tradition thrives here.

OtelloDialogues des Carmélites. Recitals. Conversations. Immerse yourself in opera for a day or a weekend. Let yourself be moved.

Announcing the 2015 Opera Season

Saturday July 11, 2015
by Gioacchino Rossini
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Will Crutchfield
Saturday July 25, 2015
Dialogues des Carmélites
by Francis Poulenc
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Will Crutchfield


Will Crutchfield, Caramoor’s Director of Opera, has this to say about the 2015 operas:

Otello is a natural choice, because it is a pinnacle of the Bel Canto repertory and we have the opportunity to present the world’s  leading exponent of the title role today, Caramoor favorite, tenor Michael Spyres.

Dialogues des Carmélites might seem a less likely title for us – it is not, strictly speaking, a Bel Canto opera at all. But it is a 20th-century opera for Bel Canto voices, and we have assembled an all-star cast of returning Caramoor artists, including the role debut of contralto Ewa Podleś in the unforgettable part of the Old Prioress.

Get the best seats after Members to both of next year’s performances with the Prime Opera Pass.
Buy the Prime Opera Pass for 2015′s Otello and Dialogues des Carmélites


Apply to be a Bel Canto Young Artist

● Program Dates: June 8 – July 27, 2015
● YA Salary: $3,500 (additional pay available for optional chorus participation)
● Application Deadline: October 24, 2014
● Audition Dates: November 7 – 9, 2014 in New York City
● Application available online:
Register here to begin the application, and check here for details on how to apply

Who We Are


Will Crutchfield, Director of Opera

Rachelle Jonck, Head Coach/Chorus Master

Lucy Yates, Italian instructor

Daniel Mobbs
Derrick Goff
Timothy Cheung

Caramoor is a music festival established over sixty years ago in Westchester County. It is set on the lush grounds of a former private estate, with extensive gardens, a house museum, and three beautifully appointed performance spaces. The Bel Canto at Caramoor program was established in 1997 with a production of Rossini’s La donna del lago, and has built an international reputation since that time as a center for innovative interpretation and memorable performances of bel canto opera. Our repertory through 2013 has included 28 operas by Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, and Verdi, along with individual items by Mozart, Gluck, Handel, Viardot and Francesco Conti. Among these have been the world premiere of Donizetti’s lost opera Élisabeth; the first New York performance of Verdi’s La forza del destino in its St. Petersburg version, the introduction of new critical editions of five operas, and the first New York area productions of Don Carlos and Les vêpres siciliennes with their original French librettos. The New Yorker’s Alex Ross declared after Norma in 2010 that “Caramoor has become an operatic paradise” – just one of many accolades from the national and international press.

Who Our Young Artists Are

The typical member of our program is a singer who has completed formal training and begun to work professionally, who has particular aptitude for some aspect of the bel canto repertory, and who could participate successfully in a mainstage production if required to go on as a cover (as happened in 2010 when Jennifer Rowley took over the title role of Maria di Rohan with great success). We have no age limit; exceptional younger singers still in school are sometimes accepted, and for roles that typically require a mature voice, more experienced singers are sometimes invited as well. Some past program members currently pursuing notable careers include: Christopher Bengochea, Reyna Carguill, Carla Dirlikov, Inna Dukach, Amanda Forsythe, Stephen Gaertner, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Eric Jordan, Yeghishe Manucharyan, Nicholas Masters, Mari Moriya, Angela Mortellaro, Zurab Ninua, Marco Nistico, Nicole Piccolomini, Jennifer Rowley and Manon Strauss-Evrard.

Roles Available for Cover

Otello (Rossini)
Desdemona (soprano)
Otello (tenor)
Rodrigo (tenor)
Iago (tenor)
Elmiro (bass-baritone)Dialogues of the Carmelites (Poulenc)
Lidoine (soprano)
Constance (soprano)
Blanche (soprano)
Croissy (contralto)
Mere Marie (mezzo-soprano)
Chevalier (tenor)
Marquis (bass-baritone)

Roles To Be Sung by Young Artists

Otello (Rossini)
Emilia (soprano or mezzo-soprano)
Doge (tenor)
Gondolier (tenor)Dialogues of the Carmelites (Poulenc)
Mother Jeanne (contralto)
Sister Mathilde (mezzo-soprano)
Father Confessor (tenor)
First Commissioner (tenor)
Officer (bass-baritone)
Jailer (bass-baritone)
Valet (bass-baritone)
Physician (bass-baritone)
Second Commissioner (bass-baritone)

What We Do

Program members receive an intensive seven-week course in Italian operatic style and performance practice, while gaining practical experience as covers, singers of secondary roles, and soloists on concerts and recitals. Our focus is on the classic vocal accomplishments of bel canto singing, the Italian language, and the stylistic history of the Italian vocal tradition. We place great emphasis on integrating the theoretical and linguistic topics at the level of performance, and on one-on-one training; all of our faculty members give private coaching nearly every day of the program, making an unusually favorable coach-to-singer ratio. Performance exposure comes through the secondary roles sung in our mainstage performances and through recitals by the Young Artists given at Caramoor in the afternoon before every opera performance; these have become a very popular and well-attended feature of the Caramoor experience.


The program runs Monday through Saturday between 10:00am and 6:00pm. On most days, the full group will be called from 10:00am to 3:00pm, and the later hours will be devoted to private coaching. Each member will receive a private coaching approximately every second day. Rehearsals are mostly in Manhattan, and transportation is provided when we go to the Caramoor site.

A typical day will include:
● Lecture class on bel canto style and performance practice
● Italian class
● Work class (group work in masterclass format)
● Chorus rehearsal (optional participation – see below)
● Rehearsal of mainstage opera (from third week onward)
● Private coaching and concert rehearsals


Bel Canto at Caramoor has adopted an innovative approach to the perennial problem of chorus participation in YA programs. We recognize that, for some young professionals, it becomes necessary to say “no” to singing chorus – but at the same time, we value the energy and vocal resources that solo-quality singers bring to choral performance. Our solution, therefore, is to make it optional: nobody is required to sing in the chorus, but program members who would like to do so can earn some extra money. We also strive to make the choral experience “soloist-friendly,” with our chief coach doubling as chorus master.

Apprentice Program

A second level of participation, the Caramoor Bel Canto Apprentices, is open to those for whom we do not have slots in the Young Artist group. The Apprentices participate in the class activities and receive occasional private coachings, and at least two masterclasses each week are devoted exclusively to this group. At least one recital program will also be designed to feature members of the Apprentice group. Apprentices are paid for chorus participation and receive a small honorarium to cover local transport.

ONE IMPORTANT LIMITATION to note before applying: We do not have a budget for housing; all members must either live in the New York area, or have access to a place to stay here.

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