Close icon

Personalise what you see on this page.

Choose from the options below. We'll show you information based on your current location as default.


  • United States
Please select so we can show the most relevant content.


  • United States
Please select so we can show the most relevant content.


  • Undergraduate courses
Please select so we can show the most relevant content.
Viewing as a student from United States living in United States interested in Undergraduate courses

Course options

  • Qualification

    MA - Master of Arts

  • Location

    Guildhall School of Music & Drama

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date


  • Duration

    1 year

Course summary

This Masters programme allows composers and writers to focus on how new opera is created, developed and performed. Part of an exciting partnership between Guildhall School and the Royal Opera House, the programme centres around the creation of a 25-minute chamber opera which is fully staged in Milton Court Studio Theatre.

The course admits three composers and three writers each year. During an initial induction module, students pair up into composer-writer teams. Each team develops a short opera scene, before going on to create full chamber operas. Two smaller projects allow you to follow your own creative pathway: in poetry, prose, dramatic or film script (writers), and in vocal or instrumental/ electronic works (composers).

The programme focuses on the collaborative nature of opera making, and each composerwriter team is supported by collaborative mentoring. Students also take part in one-to-one tutorials, production seminars and creative development workshops.

Led by Julian Philips, Head of Composition, Stephen Plaice, Writer-in-Residence, and Laura Bowler, composition professor, teaching is enriched through regular seminars with visiting professionals from the opera world including conductors and directors, singers and instrumentalists, designers and stage managers.

The programme collaborates closely with Guildhall’s award-winning Opera Department, led by Dominic Wheeler, with Guildhall opera singers forming the cast for the chamber operas created by composer-writer teams.

Practical experience of opera during the year is hugely augmented by the programme’s association with the Royal Opera House, which provides opportunities to see productions in rehearsal and performance, and to meet and network with key resident and visiting practitioners.

Additional programme features include:

  • One-to-one Principal Study tuition for both writers and composers
  • Regular mentoring sessions for the composer-writer creative teams from Drama Department professors
  • Weekly production seminars, with presentations from visiting writers, composers and directors
  • Two blocks of creative development time for composers and writers to workshop their new chamber operas as they develop
  • Observation of contemporary opera in rehearsal and production both on the main stage and in smaller spaces at the Royal Opera House
  • Performance opportunities for smaller-scale project work through the School’s Vocal Studies and Drama Departments
  • A professorial post of Writer-in-Residence, Stephen Plaice, appointed to lead the writing pathway, supporting and supervising writing students on the programme.

Student success

In the six years since its inception, graduates of the course have received commissions from the Royal Opera House, the National Opera Studio, Glyndebourne, Mahogany Opera Group, Danish National Opera, Pittsburgh Festival Opera and Boston Opera Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Eden Project and many more.

Application deadline

07 April 2021

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 22,800per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

Guildhall School of Music & Drama

  • Campus address

    Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Silk Street, City of London, EC2Y 8DT, England

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    34th out of 87 14

  • Entry standards

    / Max 214
    140 69%


  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    95 95%


  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5
    4.03 81%



Suggested courses

City, University of London

Creative Writing MA

City, University of London

University league table

University of Lincoln

MA Creative Writing

University of Lincoln

Music league table

City, University of London

Creative Writing and Publishing MA

City, University of London

University league table


Is this page useful?

Yes No

Sorry about that...



Thanks for your feedback!