Interested in a career in opera? Join us as America’s newest opera festival presents its second season this June and July in Chicago.

The Opera Festival of Chicago’s Apprentice Program provides vital opportunities for early-career professionals to learn about the world of opera and acquire hands-on experience by working side-by-side with world-renowned artists and arts administrators.

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Available Opportunities

  • Arts Administration Apprenticeship
    The Arts Administration Apprentice will assist with all aspects of Festival management, including artistic administration, public relations, marketing, finance, fundraising, ticketing, and patron services. Candidates should have strong organization, technology, and interpersonal skills, and be able to thrive in a fast-paced environment.
  • Conductor Apprenticeship
    The Conductor Apprentice will assist the Music Director with issues of balance between orchestra and singers, have opportunities to conduct during staging rehearsals, and may serve as a cover conductor in case of illness of the conductor. Other duties may include backstage conducting, supertitle operation, or calling camera cues. Candidates should have opera conducting experience, and possibly experience as either a piano accompanist or coach in a professional or college opera program. Knowledge of Italian diction and Italian operatic styles is required.
  • Stage Director Apprenticeship
    The Director Apprentice will assist the Stage Director with Festival productions, including running rehearsals and taking blocking notes. Candidates should be music or theater graduates with experience in stage direction, taking detailed notes, feel comfortable working as part of a team on a variety of tasks, be organized, and have an interest in working with singers.
  • Orchestra Management Apprenticeship
    The Orchestra Management Apprentice will assist with all aspects of orchestra operations, including contracting musicians, part preparation and distribution, transportation and set-up of instruments and equipment, and monitoring orchestra services. Duties also include helping to maintain and communicate rehearsal and performance schedule, assisting conductors and production staff, responding to musician needs, and preparing parts and scores for return. Candidates should be highly organized, reliable, able to work under tight deadlines, and be familiar with orchestral instruments, equipment, and music. Some heavy lifting is required.
  • Production/Stage Management Apprenticeship
    The Production Apprentice will assist with all aspect of the Festival production, including stage carpentry, stage management, wardrobe, wigs, make-up, properties sourcing and making, sound, artist hospitality, and production administration. Duties will include serving as assistant stage manager in the wings on our shows so should be confident reading a score and cueing. Candidates should be highly organized, reliable, responsible, able to work under tight deadlines, be able to think outside the box, and have a desire to have career in opera production.


Conductor, Stage Director, and Production/Stage Manager Apprentices must be available for the entirety of their production’s run.

Arts Administration and Orchestra Management Apprentices will be scheduled based on the duties of those positions and will include the tech week and performances.

Pre-production meetings may take place prior to the commencement of the Festival via Microsoft Teams/Zoom.


Apprentices are compensated at the rate of $250/per week.

Housing, travel, and parking are not provided.

COVID-19 Safety

All Opera Festival of Chicago apprentices, production crew, orchestra musicians, and singers are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccinations and shall comply with all COVID policies, including masking if required.