Vocal and Operatic

Here at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire we believe that students benefit enormously from our learn-by-doing approach. Your time in the Vocal and Operatic Studies Department will be no exception to this. As well as receiving extensive tuition from world-class teachers and professionals you can expect to have a wide variety of performance opportunities - including the chance to perform in our staged productions - from the moment you walk through our doors.

We also firmly believe in a bespoke training for our young singers. To this end, our comprehensive course of study has been designed to allow you to focus on your individual passions, whilst providing you with the toolkit for life in today’s profession.

Music courses

Undergraduate music courses

We offer a wide range of music performance degree courses and programmes at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire at undergraduate level.

Undergraduate music courses

Professional Performance - AdvPGDip

Support your developing career as a professional performer with Royal Birmingham Conservatoire's post-Masters, Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Performance. You can choose one of seven specialisms, including Vocal Performance, Opera Repetiteurship and Choral Conducting.

Professional Performance

Vocal & Operatic Studies Department


Find out more about the audition process and requirements for the department.

Our tutors

Our specialist tutors provide expert knowledge in the field of Vocal and Operatics.

Our tutors

Student stories

Discover stories from our students and graduates and find out their highlights from studying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Student stories

Opera répétiteur

Join the flourishing Vocal Department at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and learn the essential skills necessary to become a successful répétiteur.

Opera répétiteur

Learn-by-doing approach

Our Vocal and Operatic Studies Department is unique. Here’s why:

  • A hands on approach.
  • Intimate class sizes and regular performance opportunities.
  • A friendly and supportive department where you will be challenged, inspired and encouraged.
  • The chance to perform principal roles in our thrilling stage productions at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
  • The opportunity to sing with our critically-acclaimed Chamber Choir, the only UK conservatoire choir to record on a regular basis.
  • 90 minute singing lessons per week for first-year undergraduates.
  • Access to state-of-the-art facilities.

Experience inspiring classes

Singers are storytellers. To be a good storyteller, however, requires more skill than you might think. A rock-solid technique, a flawless facility with languages, a quicksilver imagination, and an ability to engage with singing as a whole-body activity all have a part to play in the thrilling communication of a good narrative. We are proud to offer guidance in all these areas with our team of highly-experienced teaching staff.

A typical week might include the following activities:

  • Song classes: intimate class sizes mean you get the chance to perform on a regular basis.
  • Languages: Italian, and from year 2 onward, French, German and Russian (optional)
  • Stagecraft, Movement and Yoga classes
  • Contemporary and Historical performance
  • Masterclasses
  • One-to-one coaching and singing lessons
  • Choir and/or Opera rehearsals

Individual lessons for first-year undergraduates

We understand that strong foundations are essential for any successful singer. If you are planning to join us as a first-year undergraduate you can expect to receive 40.5 hours of individual singing lessons in your first year, which is 1.5 hours a week. This little-and-often approach allows you the room when you most need it to work on technical issues and to set up your voice so that it fulfils its potential both during your time with us and beyond.

After your first year you can expect to enjoy an hour a week with your teacher working on the areas that matter most to you.

Be part of an exceptional Chamber Choir

The Chamber Choir, principally conducted by Julian Wilkins, is a group of some twenty-four auditioned student singers who form an expert and flexible group. Expectations are high as their reputation grows nationally and internationally. They record almost every year for Somm Records, give concerts in Birmingham and further afield, and make occasional broadcasts. The choir is unique amongst all the UK’s conservatoires in having a significant recording presence; they have now made nine CDs in recent years.

Our Chamber Choir is an ideal training ground for singers who wish to pursue singing in professional ensembles like The Sixteen, The Monteverdi Choir, Tenebrae and Polyphony. A number of our singers have also been selected to sing with Genesis Sixteen.

Staff spotlight

British conductor Paul Wingfield took up the post as Head of Vocal and Operatic Studies in September 2017, having previously worked in the department as a Visiting Lecturer. He has worked as a conductor and assistant conductor at the Royal Opera House, where he was a Jette Parker Young Artist from 2012 to 2014.

He has worked for many of the UK’s leading companies including Birmingham Opera Company, the Royal Ballet, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and Opera Holland Park. He has also worked as a repetiteur for English National Opera.

Learning in the limelight

Here at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire we are unique in providing unparalleled operatic performing possibilities at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Each year we perform a set of Opera Scenes and two fully-staged operas. Students from their second year upwards have the opportunity to audition for principal roles in these productions and first year students are often involved in the chorus.

Since 2001 we have enjoyed the use of the fully-equipped Crescent Theatre situated nearby in Birmingham’s canal-side development, Brindleyplace. Recent productions include:

  • Le Nozze di Figaro
  • La Vie Parisienne
  • Riders to the Sea
  • L'enfant et les sortilèges
  • The Cunning Little Vixen

Productions are carefully chosen with our students' best interests in mind so that you can expect to sing in operas which will challenge you to an appropriate level without pushing you beyond your current capabilities.

If you see yourself on the concert platform why not get involved instead in one of our innovative VoxBox concerts which combine song, poetry and sometimes drama in new and innovative ways. Fancy giving your recital a dry-run? Then sign up for an informal concert slot where you decide how private or public you want to make it.


We also offer a regular masterclass series which the whole department attends. Our Visiting Consultant in Vocal Performance, Roderick Williams OBE, visits us on a regular basis for these and we have also recently enjoyed hosting artists including:

  • Amanda Roocroft
  • Jean Rigby
  • Iain Burnside
  • Benjamin Appl
  • Susan Bullock
  • Danielle de Niese

Social media

Follow our social media channels and discover more about life at BCU, including what the University and city will offer you if you study here.

Follow us

Open Days

When possible, the best way to explore what's on offer is to come and see us in person, and we host a number of Open Days throughout the year. Come and be taught by our trailblazing academics and study in our innovative facilities.

Open days