Opera – Career & Salary Overview

Performers in opera are typically paid either per performance or in a yearly salary. Usually, only the top opera companies have large enough budgets to produce salaries. The ranges vary widely, with the average salary of an opera company member that is able to give its opera musicians a salary in the range of $60,000 – $70,000. Many opera musicians are paid per performance or service, the range being $400 – $1,000 per performance.

At the top opera company in America, the Metropolitan Opera, the singers are paid, on average, $200,000 per year. There is discussion being made about reducing the salaries of the opera member salaries to help save money.

You can also make money in an apprenticeship setting in an opera company. Some renowned apprenticeship programs include those in the Santa Fe Opera, Sarasota Opera, Virginia Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, among dozens of others. Usually, apprenticeship programs will pay somewhere in the range of $300 – $500 per week, though not every single program pays its apprentices.

Certainly, the pay for an opera singer can vary dramatically and widely based on a number of factors. According to this eHow article, an opera singer with great reputation like Cristina Fontanelli makes $15,000 per performance.


Most professional opera singers in the top opera companies have classical training performance degrees from top college programs, including the likes of Indiana, Cincinnati, Juilliard, Curtis, Michigan, AVA, etc. Additionally, a great number of them gain valuable experience performing opera in summer music festivals that stage operas, such as the Aspen Music Festival and School, as well as in apprenticeship programs with professional opera companies. Most opera musicians look for jobs in opera choruses as salaried vocalists, but many of them seek solo careers as well. Both can be well-paying careers in the right companies. Places like New York and various cities throughout Europe will likely have the highest payout for employed opera vocalists.

Recommended By Bill

I am not a vocalist, however, I have known several vocalists that have used this particularly notable text. It is excellent for teachers who plan to have voice students, but it is also good for vocalists who wish to improve their singing technique. The book was written by Janice Chapman, who was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for excellence in opera and teaching.

Via Amazon.com

Featured Image by PublicDomainPictures (Pixabay)

One Response

  1. ken October 2, 2016

Leave a Reply