Apply to the master’s programme in Opera

Admissions guide to the 2.5-year Classical Music Performance programme (Opera as a main subject).

New students will not be selected for this programme in 2022. The next application period for this programme is currently scheduled for January 2023.

Application period: between 7 and 20 January 2021 (at 3pm EET)
Entrance examinations: will be completed remotely, third stage 10–11 March (preliminary schedule)
Admissions results: published 7 April 2021

Degree studies in Opera are a part of the Classical Music Performance programme. Opera can be the main subject only in the 2.5-year programme leading to a master’s degree.

The Opera programme is arranged as a 2.5-year course, and the students are required to commit to the course. Opera majors who are accepted to the Sibelius Academy in the spring of 2021 will participate in the programme between 1 August 2021 and 31 December 2023 in accordance with a programme and schedule defined by the Sibelius Academy. If the student is unable to participate (due to health or other acceptable reasons) in the course or any part of it, supplementary attainments must be agreed upon with the Vocal Music department. The supplementary studies can include general master’s studies in vocal music.

Who can apply?

A person with the background education required for the degree programme in question and sufficient language skills may apply for studies.

In addition, a person who completes the required background education after the end of the application period, but no later than 15 July 2022 at 3 pm EEST is eligible to apply. In that case, the admission decision is conditional until the applicant submits a certificate of the completed degree. If the applicant fails to submit the certificate by said deadline, the study place will be cancelled.

The Sibelius Academy may, at its discretion, also accept a temporary certificate issued by the educational institution if it indicates that the applicant has completed all studies required for the degree and will receive the degree certificate later.

Sibelius Academy will check every applicant’s eligibility before the entrance examination.

Students are admitted to the Sibelius Academy based on their performance in the entrance examination. Certificate-based admissions or quotas for first-time applicants are not in place.

Master’s degree (2.5 years)

A person who has completed at least one of the following is eligible to apply:

  • A lower university degree in music (Bachelor)
  • A university of applied sciences degree in music
  • A foreign degree or qualification in music that provides eligibility for corresponding higher education studies in the awarding country
  • A lower university degree in another field and, additionally, higher education studies in music.

Some programmes may have other background education requirements in addition to those above.

The Sibelius Academy may require that a person admitted to study towards a master’s degree complete complementary studies of a scope equivalent to a maximum of one year of studies in addition to the minimum number of ECTS credits required by the degree programme in order for them to attain the skills required in the training. In principle, complementary studies must be completed in the first year of study, and they must be included in the student’s personal study plan. The applicant is informed of the complementary studies required of them in connection with the admission decision. Such complementary studies must be mentioned in the programme’s admissions proposal.

Exceptions to eligibility

The applicant cannot apply for both 5.5-year and 2.5-year programmes of a single major subject or main instrument in the same year. However, if the applicant submits an application to both programmes, the Sibelius Academy will

  • take account of the application for the 2.5-year programme if the applicant is eligible for it, or
  • take account of the application for the 5.5-year programme if the applicant is not eligible for the 2.5-year programme.

If you have completed a higher education degree at Sibelius Academy, you cannot apply for the same main subject again, or the same main instrument in the case of Classical Music Performance.

The student admission for bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes applies to applicants who do not have a valid right to study at Uniarts Helsinki at the beginning of the applied right to study, with the exception of persons who have the vice rector’s permission to complete two degrees simultaneously. A degree student registered at Uniarts Helsinki may apply for a change of right to study within the Sibelius Academy or between academies. There are separate instructions for applying for a change of the right to study and for applying for a permission to complete two degrees simultaneously. More information on the rule of one study right can be found here.

Language requirements

The language of tuition in the Opera programme is English. You must demonstrate your language proficiency in English by the given deadline.

How to apply

Submit your application in the spring’s first joint application period from 5 to 19 January 2022 by 3 pm EET in the Studyinfo portal.

Submit the supporting documents and any advance assignments in accordance with the instructions provided.

Supporting documents

Submit the supporting documents via the Studyinfo portal as PDF files by 3 pm EET on 26 January 2022. If the documents are not in Finnish, Swedish, or English, append a translation by an authorised translator into one of these languages.

Documents required from all applicants:

  • Degree certificate of the background education and a transcript of study records
    If you complete your degree after the end of the application period, it is adequate to submit the degree certificate by 3 pm EEST on 15 July 2022.

    In case of a foreign degree, the Sibelius Academy may request clarification on the degree’s status within the awarding country’s education system.
  • Certificate demonstrating language proficiency
    If you demonstrate your language proficiency based on your previous studies, the degree certificate or its appendix must clearly indicate the language in which the degree was completed. The degree demonstrating language proficiency must be completed by 3 pm EEST on 15 July 2022.
  • Official proof of identity
    Append a copy of your passport, EU identity card or Finnish driving licence to your application.

Applicants to programmes organised in English are also required to submit:

  • A document exempting from tuition fees
    If you apply to study in English, you will be liable to pay tuition fees unless you submit a document indicating that you are exempt.

Refugees, persons in a refugee-like situation and asylum seekers:

If you are unable to submit documentary evidence of your degree, you may still be deemed eligible to apply. Submit a reliable report on the completed degree that grants you eligibility to apply and an additional report explaining why the documents are not available. In addition, submit an official decision on your refugee status (asylum decision or residence permit based on protection, or a proof that such an application is pending). Submit the required documents by email to the Admissions Office by (date and time). The Sibelius Academy will make a decision on your eligibility based on the submitted report. Applicants with refugee status must provide proof of their language skills required for the studies in one of the ways specified in the selection criteria (in Language requirements).

Advance assignments

Any advance assignments are mentioned in the target programme’s admissions criteria. The advance assignments must be submitted as attachments to the application.

The advance assignments must clearly state the applicant’s name and the programme to which they relate. Do not submit any other advance assignments than the ones requested. Upload the materials to the Studyinfo portal as early as possible. Large files may take several hours to upload if there is a lot of traffic in the system.

Entrance examinations

You can be invited to the entrance examinations if:

  1. you have submitted an electronic application form and the required attachments at Studyinfo portal, and
  2. the Dean of the Sibelius Academy deems you eligible based on the submitted documents.

The implementation of the entrance examinations for each programme is described in the programme’s admission criteria. Preliminary schedules will be published in the programmes’ admissions guides in January. The entrance examination schedules of separate programmes may overlap. If the applicant has applied for multiple programmes, they must choose which examinations they attend in case of overlaps.

A programme’s entrance examination may consist of several stages and contain multiple sub-tests. If the applicant does not participate in all of the examination’s compulsory sub-tests, they cannot be admitted as a student.

The Sibelius Academy will send applicants instructions and schedules for participation in entrance examinations in the entrance examination invitation. The exact times for individual entrance examinations are confirmed at the latest in the morning of the entrance examination day. Individual examination times cannot be changed except for compelling reasons not attributable to the applicant. Such reasons include the matriculation examination (or a corresponding event) and an accident or sudden illness (a medical certificate is required). In such cases, the examination time can only be rescheduled within the limits of the Entrance Examination Board’s working timetables.

The entrance examination is a closed event attended by the applicant, the Entrance Examination Board and the agreed assistants (for example, an accompanist, a training choir, a board assistant or the applicant’s assistant). Entrance examinations may not be recorded.

If you wish to cancel your participation in the entrance examination, notify the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office by email as soon as possible.

Individual arrangements in the entrance examination

If you require individual arrangements in the entrance examination because of a sensory or physical disability or other corresponding reason, more information on individual arrangements can be found here.

First stage: Advance assignments

Submit the following advance assignments to the Sibelius Academy via Studyinfo portal no later than 27 January 2021 (3 pm EET):

1) CV in English (max. two A4 pages), answering only the following questions:

  • Your name
  • Your previous music training (subject, teacher, when the subject(s) were studied, and school)
  • Your previous experience in opera, theatre, and musical theatre productions
  • Your level examinations (subject, level, date attained, grade, and school)
  • Your previous courses and qualifications in music theory or other relevant subjects (subjects, grade, teacher, and school)
  • Describe any other musical activities or practices in which you have been involved (e.g. teaching, participation in orchestras, choirs, operatic societies etc.)
  • Your previous language studies
  • Details of other degrees, qualifications, and studies

2) Motivation essay in English (max. two A4 pages): “Why do I want to commit to the Sibelius Academy Opera programme and its productions for the years 2021–2023?
NOTE: If you are applying for more than one main subject in 2.5-year education in Classical Music Performance, voice as a main subject (Opera, Vocal Arts), please note that you must write a separate motivation essay for each main subject.

3) A video recording of your rendering of three (3) arias. One of the arias must be by Mozart, Haydn, Cimarosa, or Gluck. One of the arias must be sung in Italian, one in German. The arias must be sung in the original language and in the original key. A choice indicating versatility is recommended. All arias must be sung with accompaniment.

Individual arias must be recorded in one take (as in a live performance), and the recordings of individual arias must not be edited. However, the video can be recorded in several takes and more than one space. The material must include information about the arias and the recording date.

The video recording must be equivalent to an ordinary audition or recital so that you sing facing the camera and your entire body is visible on the screen. The video must not be shot from too far away. 

4) A list of three (3) other arias that you are prepared to record for the second stage of the entrance examination. Once you submit the list of arias, it is not possible to change it. The arias must be sung in the original language and in the original key. One of the arias can be from an operetta but not from a musical. The Entrance Examination Board will choose the three (3) arias to be recorded for the second stage of the entrance examination from the six (6) arias you have mentioned in your application (the three recorded arias and the three listed arias).

In the evaluation of the advance assignments, the Entrance Examination Board will assess your musical and technical skills in relation to the degree programme’s requirements.

The Entrance Examination Board will select a part of the applicants to be invited to the second stage of the entrance examination based on their performance in the first stage of the examination. In the invitation, the Entrance Examination Board will inform the applicants of the three (3) arias they shall be required to record for the second stage of the entrance examination. The invitation to the second stage of the examination will be sent approximately two weeks before the deadline for the video recordings.

Second stage

The second stage consists of the following sub-parts, delivered to the Sibelius Academy via Studyinfo portal no later than 5 March 2021 (3 pm EET):

1) Video recording: Three (3) arias that the Entrance Examination Board has chosen in advance from the list sent by you

  • NOTE: You must record a new version of the chosen arias, you cannot use same video material as in the first stage of the examination.
  • The arias must be sung in the original language and in the original key. All arias must be sung with accompaniment.
  • One of the arias may be staged (limited space and props, costume: black trousers and shirt).
  • Individual arias must be recorded in one take (as in a live performance), and the recordings of individual arias must not be edited. However, the video can be recorded in several takes and more than one space.
  • The video recording must be equivalent to an ordinary audition or recital so that you sing facing the camera and your entire body is visible on the screen. The video must not be shot from too far away.

2) Video recording: A free-choice monologue or other text prepared in advance (max. 3 minutes) and presented from memory. The choice of the language of performance is free.

  • The video must be framed so that you are in a medium close-up (visible from the chest up)

The Entrance Examination Board will evaluate the video recordings submitted by the applicants and select one aria for each applicant to work on in the third stage of the entrance examination, via a remote connection. All applicants selected for the second stage of the entrance examination will also participate in the third stage.

Third stage

The third stage of the examination consists of the following sub-tests:

  1. Working on an aria announced in advance with the applicant
  2. Working on a text announced in advance with the applicant
  3. Interview

Working on an aria announced in advance

You will be notified on the day before your sub-test at the latest which of the arias you submitted in the second stage you will be working on. The examination situation is an aria rehearsal where you will be evaluated for your ability to follow verbal instructions, your ability to learn new things, your adaptability, and your reactivity. The examination situation includes work on musical, vocal, stylistic, and phonetic elements. The examination situation also includes text analysis, exploring the concrete context, and other assignments derived from the material in the aria.

The sub-test will be held via a remote connection and will last about 15 to 20 minutes. The Entrance Examination Board recommends that you attend the examination in a room where you have a piano available.

Working on a text announced in advance

On the day before your sub-test at the latest, you will be sent a short text in English (about 6 to 8 lines), which you must memorise for the examination. At the examination situation, you will be evaluated for your ability to follow verbal instructions and your ability to learn new things, your adaptability, and your reactivity. You will be asked to demonstrate various kinds of expression and interpretation and various reactions, based on a text given to you in advance.

The sub-test will be held via a remote connection and will last about 8 to 12 minutes.

Interview

The interview will be held via a remote connection, and it will last 5 to 10 minutes. Some of the interview questions will be sent to you in advance, on the day before your examination session at the latest.

The interview will be conducted in English.

The interview assesses your educability and suitability for the profession, motivation to study, and verbal skills.

Entrance examination assessment

Applicants’ performance in the entrance examinations is assessed by programme-specifically appointed Entrance Examination Boards. The boards assess the knowledge, skills and capabilities of each applicant and their capacity to complete the degree studies within the normative duration for the completion of a degree. The assessment takes account of how the applicant’s previous education and experience reflects in their competence and assesses their competence in relation to the objectives set in the curriculum.

Evaluation criteria

The results of the selection procedure are based on an assessment of your performance as a whole.

Applicants are selected based on the entrance examination. Selection is based on your general eligibility for university studies and your suitability for this profession. The main instrument audition includes the Entrance Examination Board’s assessment of your skills, knowledge, proficiency, and educability. An important criterion for your educability is your voice material.

The Opera programme selection appreciates applicants with all types of voices and ranks the applicants according to skill, proficiency, and educability. The selection process aims at assembling a versatile musical theatre ensemble.

Admissions results

The boards rank the applicants of each programme based on their entrance examination score. The final decision on students admitted to the programmes and those placed on the waiting list is made by the dean of the Sibelius Academy.

A study place is offered to highest scoring applicants who meet the selection criteria. Applicants ranked behind the admitted students may be placed on a waiting list in the order of their score. The waiting lists are either programme-specific or group-specific if there are several groups in a single programme. A study place will become vacant and can be offered to an applicant on a waiting list only if one of the applicants admitted to the same degree programme (or group) chooses not to accept the study place, or if someone who has been conditionally admitted fails to submit the necessary documents by the end of the deadline.

If there are no applicants who meet the admissions criteria, some programmes may choose not to admit new students. If a specific degree programme does not admit any new students, applicants to that programme cannot be placed on a waiting list.

Announcement of results

Admission results, including the names of the applicants who have given the permission to have their names published online, will be published on the Uniarts Helsinki website. In addition, each applicant can view their situation in the Studyinfo portal. Admitted applicants and those placed on the waiting list are informed of the results by email.

Feedback

Applicants may request feedback on their entrance examination performance. The feedback provides the applicant with information on how the evaluation criteria stated in the admission criteria were applied in the assessment of their entrance examination. Instructions for requesting feedback will be published on the Uniarts Helsinki website in connection with the publication of the admission decision.

Rectification procedure

If you believe that the Sibelius Academy has acted contrary to its admission criteria, you can request for rectification to the student admission decision from the Sibelius Academy in writing within 14 days of the publication of the admission results.

The rectification procedure is not intended as a means for receiving feedback, asking for further information about the admission or requesting unjustified re-evaluation. Instructions for submitting a request for rectification will be published on the Uniarts Helsinki website in connection with the publication of the admission decision.

More information about the rectification process can be found here.

Accepting the offered study place and starting your studies

An offer of admission can be accepted either via the Studyinfo system or by filling in the confirmation form attached to the letter of acceptance and by delivering it to the admissions office. You must accept your study place by the given deadline. If the confirmation arrives late, it will not be considered.

Accepting an offer of admission is a binding choice, which cannot be changed or cancelled later on.

You must also register as attending at the Sibelius Academy before the academic year begins – more information will be sent to you along with your acceptance letter.

First-year studies begin in mid-August with an orientation period that is compulsory for all new students.

More information on accepting the offered study place and starting our studies at the Sibelius Academy can be found here

Questions or comments?

You can contact us via e-mail at siba.admissions@uniarts.fi.

The Sibelius Acad­emy Ad­mis­sions Chat 23 November

What is it like to study at the Sibelius Academy and live in Helsinki? Join our admissions chat to find out! There are two sessions available on Youtube at 12 pm (UTC+2) and 8 pm (UTC+2). Links are available on this page.

Ask and apply!

Want to study at Sibelius Academy but don’t know how to get started?

Use this link to listen to the audio recording of our admissions chat from November 2020:

Click here if you wish to read the text version instread of listening to the audio recording.

You can also watch our fall 2019 edition of the admissions chat in Uniarts Helsinki’s YouTube channel. In this video members of our staff and students answer your questions about the Sibelius Academy in English.

Read more about the programme