The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), Wales’s national conservatoire, is set to launch a new online programme of courses designed to increase knowledge and understanding of opera. Starting in September 2022, Opera 360 is a series of exclusive, industry-led, digital courses open to opera lovers and arts professionals alike.

The online taught programme is designed to give students unrivalled, behind-the-scenes knowledge of the industry, with expert guidance offered by practitioners who make opera. It will provide detailed investigation into both the artistic and administrative practices of the global opera business.

The Opera 360 short courses are for anyone who has a deep love of opera and wants a strong connection with it which goes beyond appreciation of the artform. In addition to these sessions, the college is also launching a full Opera 360 Masters, designed to develop the skills of those wanting to work in the industry in non-performance roles and which incorporates all the modules in the shorter classes. This postgraduate programme can be taken over two to five years. Applications are available through university admissions service UCAS.

As an online initiative Opera 360 will be available to everyone from all over the UK and internationally. The RWCMD will draw on its conservatoire approach to provide immersive, personal experiences to deliver a world-class education. An inside perspective will also be gained from opera performers and top industry practitioners from the international world of opera.

James Lea, course leader of Opera 360, commented: “We wanted to offer a course that allows people to see how opera is brought to the stage. We have extensive contacts throughout the industry, who are excited by the possibility to share their knowledge. The myriad formats in which opera is produced, and its ability to reach diverse audiences, are subjects worthy of serious study. The power of opera to tell stories new and old is unrivalled.”

Lea will be holding a live Q&A on 6 December to give further details of the scheme. You can request a place by emailing the Admissions team.

The sessions will focus on different aspects of opera including the roles of the director, actor and designer, as well as key offstage elements such as leadership and administration. The relevance of opera and how the artform can be used to engage communities will also be explored, alongside many other critical issues facing the industry today.

The course is comprised of a mix of lectures, seminars and tutorials with a core team of experienced opera professionals, along with guest presentations and question-and-answer sessions with opera insiders. Individual mentoring support will also be provided and there will be opportunities to observe rehearsals for the college’s current opera productions.

Course tutors from the college are set to be joined by guest lecturers including Aidan Lang, general director of Welsh National Opera (WNO), David Jackson, artistic director of Cardiff Singer of the World, soprano Susan Bullock CBE, and Carlo Rizzi, president of the David Seligman Opera School and conductor laureate of WNO.

The flexible programme is delivered in association with the David Seligman Opera School. “Opera is the most complex of artforms, bringing live music, theatre, design and story-telling together,” Rizzi said. “When audiences see and listen to an opera, few are aware of what lies behind each performance and learning about this through first-hand experience is a wonderful new offer from RWCMD.”

RWCMD Principal Helena Gaunt added: “We have an established reputation for pushing boundaries with innovative and exciting programmes of study. Opera 360 has its focus firmly on the future of the artform both for the industry and in terms of developing the knowledge of music lovers and opera audiences”.

For further information, visit the Opera 360 website.



The Royal Welsh College Of Music And Drama is set to launch Opera 360, an innovative new programme of online taught courses. The image is taken from RWCMD’s recent production of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti (Kirsten McTernan).