Vocalists prepare opera scenes and arias, based on audition recording, for performances in the last two weeks of the festival. Singers will be immersed in Italian through language classes and coachings. Main opera scenes for the 2021 season come from Le nozze di Figaro, La bohème, and La Traviata. Other scenes will be chosen from standard bel canto, Romantic, and Baroque Italian repertoire, including Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Pergolesi, Handel, etc. In 2019 we produced a complete Suor Angelica. Other recent performances have included scenes from La bohème, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto, L’elisir d’amore, Cenerentola, and Barbiere di Siviglia.


Collaborative pianists will take Italian language classes in the morning, play for lessons and rehearsals, and participate in coaching the vocalists. There is one fellowship available for an outstanding collaborative pianist.

Italian Language Classes

All students have four hours of Italian each morning at the Lucca Italian School near the city walls. Our faculty believe an immersive language environment is a crucial element of opera training. Moving beyond diction into meaning and expressive delivery is essential for successful bel canto performance. The language school occupies a renovated villa with a private garden, veranda, and outdoor terrace. Students will be placed in an appropriate level for their ability. In addition to conversational Italian, the whole festival will focus on poetic Italian. The material covers at least one semester of university Italian and may help students test out of required language classes at their universities. Students will receive a certificate for their language classes but we cannot guarantee university credit.

Typical Weekday Schedule

9am to 1pm: Italian classes at the Lucca Italian School

1pm to 2:30pm: Lunch

2:30pm to 7:30pm: Lessons, Coachings, Practice, Rehearsals

Weekly and daily schedules will be emailed during the program. Most Saturdays and Sundays are free to travel around central Italy or relax in town. Lucca is close to many important cultural and tourist destinations: 1.5 hours from Florence, 30 minutes from Pisa, 3 hours from Rome, 2 hours from Cinque Terre, and 30 minutes from the beach at Viareggio.


Shared Apartment Rooms: $3700

Single Apartment Rooms: $4000

Host Family Shared Room, Use of Kitchen: $3700

Host Family Single Room, Use of Kitchen: $4000

Host Family Shared Room, Breakfast and Dinner: $4200

Host Family Single Room, Breakfast and Dinner: $4500

(Host family housing based on availability. Some scholarships may be available based on audition.)

Not included in tuition: airfare, train travel, food (unless otherwise arranged), travel insurance, passport and visa, weekend trips.

Important: An $800 non-refundable tuition deposit is required to secure a place in the program after acceptance. Remaining tuition fees are 50% refundable until two weeks before the program. Within two weeks of the start of the program, tuition is non-refundable.

Affording Tuition: The cost of attendance reflects housing, language school tuition, and music activities. We work to keep tuition as low as possible in order for the program to be accessible. Many students raise money through online campaigns, like GoFundMe, and with university grant applications. The sooner you begin fundraising, the easier it is to cover costs. Some scholarships are available as well.


Staying with a host family in Lucca is the best way to improve conversational Italian and use the skills from language classes. There are limited spaces available with host families, provided by the Lucca Italian School. These are assigned by request based on the date of registration and deposit. Host families are located both inside the walls and outside. There are options for breakfast/dinner and use of kitchen. Alternatively, shared apartments are available with kitchens. Most apartments are located within the city walls. There are shared and single room options for both host families and apartments.