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Program Information

Stage performance of Kopernikus, 2017

Kopernikus, 2017 (Claude Vivier) (L-R: Jessica Pollack, Dominica Greene, Danika Lorèn, Carly Gordon, Brad Cherwin, Katie Miller, Danielle MacMillan). Photo by Don Lee.


This innovative new program is a celebration of both opera and chamber music. With the common goal to capture the emotional essence of chamber work, whether that be in the form of instrumental pieces or new operas, this residency will foster the potential of unique voices and creative visions that culminate in live performances that create excitement and growth. Created by some of the most thrilling leaders of opera and chamber music, this is a unique opportunity to work side-by-side with living composers on the creation of new work, leading to world premieres. Participants are given the chance to discover, to take risks, and learn from each other and leading practitioners.

The four-week program offers early career and established musicians, singers and creatives the opportunity to explore two new operas (new arrangements by Daniel Schlosberg of Poul Ruders / Paul Bentley’s The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood, and Ian Cusson / Royce Vavrek’s Indians on Vacation, based on Thomas King) created by the program’s faculty composers and new music by participant composers.  

Musicians, singers and creatives will also have the opportunity to explore the rich history and contemporary evolution of chamber music, ranging from classical compositions by Haydn to new music by participant composers.

Working with soon-to-be-announced internationally celebrated faculty in a unique educational environment, artists will have the opportunity to hone their craft, engage in diverse approaches to chamber music and opera interpretation, explore the composer – performer process, and elevate critical writing skills.

You will have 24-hour access to studios. Larger studios will be available for group work and small individual spaces for private practice. 

When possible, participant instrumentalists and singers will be partnered with a participant composer and be involved in the development, preparation, and premiere of a new chamber work. This residency includes public performance opportunities; repertoire from the traditional canon will be studied and performed alongside contemporary works.  

Join the future of opera and chamber music, looking at traditional and new works in bold new ways to shape your own artistic vision and advance your career.

What does the program offer?

This innovative new program offers all participants:

  • Mentorship by internationally renowned faculty (soon to be announced).
  • Masterclasses.
  • Public chamber music concerts.
  • Musical read-through and public showcase of The Handmaid’s Tale and Indians on Vacation.
  • Sessions on producing opera, website/resumés/social media.
  • New music showcase of own work performed by program participants.
  • Online meetings with faculty in May 2024 before on-site program to go over work and program goals.


Opera Singers & Répétiteurs

This program combines elements of both opera and chamber music. It features reduced orchestration and intimate venues, allowing for a more intimate and immersive theatrical experience. Chamber operas often explore contemporary or unconventional subject matters and emphasize the emotional depth of the characters and the intricacies of the musical score. Both chamber music and opera display the artistry and virtuosity of the performers, providing an intimate and nuanced musical experience that captivates audiences with its intricate textures and expressive power. 

You will be cast in either/or both of The Handmaid’s Tale and Indians on Vacation.  These works will be presented in a concert/workshop setting.  Répétiteurs will be assigned to the operas and work with singers in coachings, lessons and masterclass situations.


Instrumentalists of string, woodwind, brass, percussion and piano will have transformative experiences in both chamber music and opera. For two weeks, delve into chamber music that emphasizes collaboration and intricate interplay among instruments and voice, fostering a rich, nuanced musical conversation that culminates in public concerts. Chamber groups may be paired with a composer to explore the dynamic evolution of creation and performance. For the other two weeks, participate in a chamber ensemble dedicated to one opera, either 'The Handmaid’s Tale’ or ‘Indians on Vacation,' merging narrative power with instrumental virtuosity. This program goes beyond mastering your instrument by fostering connections, exploring new musical territories, and embracing collaborative artistry. 

You will receive ensemble coaching and one-on-one mentorship with renowned chamber and orchestral musicians to hone skills to build an impactful, inspiring, and engaging chamber music practice. 

Group presentations and faculty-led discussions will focus on collaboration, communication, sound production, interpretation, performance practice, audience engagement, and strategies for career development.

Composers, lyricists and librettists

The composers, lyricists and librettists will have access to the invaluable resource of singers and collaborative pianists in a rehearsal and educational setting that will allow the pair to explore their own new and existing works. The selected pair will also audit the rehearsal process in the musical exploration of the new arrangement of The Handmaid’s Tale and the new opera, Indians on Vacation. Participating composers will work with faculty composers in a process that supports the creation, performance preparation, and premiere of a new chamber work approximately ten minutes in length for strings, or woodwinds, or brass, with percussion and/or voice, with/without piano. 

Prior to the program’s start date, composer group and individual meetings will take place online in May 2024 with composer faculty. These sessions will allow composers to meet one another, introduce their work and ideas, and discuss the full scope of their projects. Having established their individual creative departure points, composers will engage in an intensive and impactful process that allows them to learn from, and deeply invest in one another’s creative development. 

Arts Writers 

Participating arts writers will create content for Opera Canada magazine as they are embedded in the program. A unique opportunity to write and document new opera creations, and work with the editor of Opera Canada; gaining experience and a published portfolio.  

Stage Directors

The chosen stage directors will have access to the invaluable process of opera creation and adaptation. They will work alongside the artistic director/dramaturg assigned to both The Handmaid's Tale and the new opera, Indians on Vacation. 

Who should apply?

This program is for classically trained opera singers, instrumentalists, pianists, composers, lyricist, librettists, arts writers and stage directors. Applications are welcome from those who have completed or are in the process of post-secondary studies in a related field with an advanced level of performance or writing experience. We welcome artists of all ages (18+), backgrounds, gender identities and expressions to apply.

Composers, Lyricists, Librettists

We will accept applications from solo composers, lyricists and librettists, or two-person collaborative teams. Applicants should have experience writing for the voice and have collaborative work ready to be performed by experienced singers in a non-public setting and evaluated by accomplished artists. 


Pre-formed chamber music ensembles and soloists (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, percussion, violin, viola, cello, double bass, harp and piano) are welcome to apply.

Singers - Indians on Vacation

Please note that while the subject matter is Indigenous, we are casting from any heritage for these roles:

Bird - Baritone
Mimi - Mezzo
Oz - Bass-baritone
Kitty - Soprano
Didi - Mezzo
Desi - Tenor
Eugene - Baritone
Chip - Bass-Baritone

Singers - The Handmaid’s Tale

Offred - Mezzo-Soprano
Serena Joy - Alto
Aunt Lydia - Soprano
The Commander - Bass
Offred in the Time Before - Mezzo-Soprano
Luke - Tenor
Nick - Tenor
Rita - Alto
Ofglen - Soprano
Moira - Soprano
Janine/Ofwarren - Soprano
Offred's Mother - Mezzo-Soprano
Doctor - Tenor
New Ofglen - Mezzo-Soprano
Commander X - Tenor
Moira‘s Aunt - Alto
Warren's Wife - Mezzo-Soprano

Arts Writers

Emerging and early career arts writers are welcome to apply.

Stage Director

Stage directors should have experience in opera and have a collaborative spirit to engage with creators, singers and musicians. 

Banff Centre is grateful to the following for making this program possible:

  • David Spencer Emerging Vocalists Endowment
  • Yolande Freeze Master Artists in Music Fund


What's Included

Single Room Read more Close

Your program fee includes a single bedroom on the Banff Centre campus for the duration of your program.

Get connected with other artists on campus and focus on your projects in a creative environment while we take care of the day-to-day essentials.

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Full Flex Meal Plan Read more Close

Using a credit-based system to dine on campus, our flexible meal plans allow you to select meals according to your own needs during your stay. Banff Centre can respond to most dietary requests. 

The Full Flex meal plan is equivalent to $70 credit per day, equivalent to breakfast, lunch and dinner at our Buffet service.

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The Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives - Current Services

The Library is delighted to support Banff Centre Participants, Artists, and Faculty with the following services:

  • Open hours:  9:30 am to 1 pm, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  • Access to collections, including program relevant books, scores, artists’ books, recordings, periodicals, and object library.
  • Library accounts for borrowing materials.
  • Digital Library, on campus and remote access.
  • Library research assistance, by appointment.
  • Archives research, by appointment only.

Please email or for more information or assistance.

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Gym Membership Read more Close

Your program fee includes free access to the swimming pool, climbing gym and fitness suite as well as discounted rates for classes at the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre.

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Participant Resources Read more Close

Enrich your experience and get to know other artists on campus by taking advantage of the activities and support provided by our Participant Resources team.

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Box Office Discounts Read more Close

Enjoy special artist rates for ticketed performances or complimentary access to events.

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Group Seminars/Workshops Read more Close

Join in group seminars/workshops.

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Showcase Your Work Read more Close

This program offers opportunities to showcase your work-in-progress.

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Studios & Facilities Read more Close

Create in one of our specialized studios.


Fees & Financial Assistance

You pay (fee after scholarship applied)
$2 268.00
Total fee (tuition, Accommodation and meal Plan)
$11 088.00
Scholarship amount applied*
$8 820.00

Application fee: $65 ($35 for applicants who identify as Indigenous).

*Scholarship of tuition is available and will be applied to cover 100% of tuition costs, and 50% is available to offset meals and accommodation costs.  Note, participants are required to arrange travel at their own expense.

Application fees are not refundable. Price is per person. 

Banff Centre will issue official tax receipts for eligible tuition fees and financial assistance and awards as required by the Income Tax Act. You will receive a T2202 (Tuition and Enrolment Certificate) for eligible tuition fees paid and a T4A (Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income) for applicable financial assistance and awards.

Help fund your experience at Banff Centre. View a compiled list of external national and international opportunities here

Admissions staff can also provide grant letters for external applications. 

How to Apply

Learn more about the steps to Complete Your Application.

  • If you are applying as an individual, you must complete both the online application form (including $65 processing fee) and a SlideRoom application.
  • If you are applying as a collaborative group, the Group Leader must complete both the online application form (including $65 processing fee) and a SlideRoom application. Please submit only one SlideRoom application per group. There will be a $35 registration fee for each additional member upon acceptance to the program.


A one-page resume or C.V. describing academic, professional, voice type, and other relevant experience. Please also include a list of repertoire that you have performed/learned over the past 3 years.

Cover Letter

A one-page cover letter explaining why you are interested in the Interplay program at this point in your career, and what you hope to achieve by attending it. 


Please provide examples of your artistic work:

Singers - 2 contrasting arias (one must be a contemporary English selection)  you can upload or attend an inperson audition.

Auditions can be booked via your SlideRoom submission and are on a first come first served basis. 

Calgary -  Monday 5th February

Vancouver - Tuesday 6th February 

Toronto - Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th 

Montreal - Friday 9th February  

Répétiteur - 2 arias, at least one you must sing and play.  One aria must be composed after 1980.

Librettist - 5 pages of original work.

Composer - a 2-minute, fully notated excerpt of a new work-in-progress for woodwind quintet, string quintet (two violins, viola, cello, double bass), string quartet, brass quartet, quartet or trio with piano, voice and/or percussion. Chamber works for open instrumentation or any combination of stings, woodwinds or brass, with voice, piano and percussion may be prioritized. Also submit 1-2 samples of your completed work (scores with/without recordings) for any instrumentation.

Musician - 2-3 recordings of your recent work. If possible, please include one video recording. Note: the quality of both audio and video do not need to be professional but enough to give assessors a sense of your artistic practice. 

Arts Writer - 5 - 10 page example of previous relevant manuscript, published or in-progress.

Note: Previous collaborative work is welcome.

Financial Assistance

Be sure to complete the Financial Aid Question in SlideRoom to be eligible for the financial assistance.


Participants are selected by impartial adjudicators on the basis of their submitted material. In addition to artistic merit, consideration will be given to the likelihood that the artist's work will benefit from the program. Applicants will be notified of their status as soon as adjudication is complete.

Please note that all application fees are non-refundable and support the review of each program application and the audition process. Due to the high volume of applications, we do not provide feedback on applications and cannot guarantee acceptance to the program. 

International Applicants

Banff Centre welcomes domestic and international applicants for this program. Please note, Banff Centre programs do not meet Canadian Student Visa eligibility requirements, you must obtain a Visitor Visa to enter Canada. Accepted individuals are responsible for identifying and complying with the immigration requirements to enter Canada as a visitor from their country of origin. Current wait times to receive a visa are much longer than normal, so applicants who require a Visitor Visa should check the current expected processing times prior to applying.


Applicants must be ages 18+ at the time of the program start date.

Contact Admissions

For questions on preparing your application, please contact Admissions:

Toll Free Number (Canada + USA)