Handel Aria Competition

Thursday, July 16, 2015
7:30 pm
Madison Early Music Festival
Music Hall

Open to the public.

Encouraging emerging singers to explore the repertoire of Handel.

Dean and Orange Schroeder, enthusiasts of the vocal repertoire of George Frideric Handel, make the Handel Aria Competition possible.


First prize: $1,000
Second prize: $750
Third prize: $500
Audience Favorite: Free tuition to the Madison Early Music Festival 2016


Auditions are open to all voice types. Contestants must be from 18-35 years old as of December 31, 2015.

Entry Deadline

Application form and audio recording must be received by midnight, Saturday, March 15, 2015.

Preliminary Round

Each singer will submit an unedited recording of 2 Handel arias of contrasting styles: 1 from an opera, the other from an oratorio or cantata. 3 judges will evaluate the recordings and choose 6 finalists and 1 runner-up. Singers will be judged on voice quality and historically correct Baroque performance practice. Competitors will be notified by e-mail no later than May 1, 2015. Should any of the chosen finalists be unable to sing in the final round, the runner-up will be invited to participate in the final round.

Applications for the preliminary round must include:

  1. Completed application form
  2. Recording of two Handel arias, one opera aria and one oratorio or cantata aria
  3. A biographical paragraph
  4. Non-refundable application fee of $25.00 payable to Handel Aria Competition.


Application form and audio recording must be received by midnight, Sat., March 15, 2015. Applications may be submitted online or download the application form and send with the application fee and recording to:

MEMF Handel Aria Competition
c/o Sarah Marty
UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park Street, 7th Floor
Madison, WI 53715

Recording guidelines for preliminary round:

  • The submission should consist of an unedited recording of two arias.
  • Label recording with your name and titles of arias.
  • Piano and harpsichord accompaniment will be accepted for the recording; however, the finals will be accompanied by harpsichord at A=415 Hz.
  • Technically poor recordings will be rejected.

The preliminary round audition recording may be submitted in one of two ways:

  1. Mail a CD (not a DVD).
  2. Email your mp3s as attachments to madisonearlymusic@gmail.com. Include your name and the tag #HAC in the subject line.

Final Stage

The final round of the competition will take place during the 2014 Madison Early Music Festival. Rehearsal is the evening of Wednesday, July 16 with the final round of competition on the evening of Thursday, July 16. The competition will be heard before a panel of 3 judges, with the event open to the public. Location: University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, George Mosse Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St. The prizes will be presented at the end of the competition.

Each singer will perform:

  1. A short recitative and aria.
  2. A second aria without recitative.

One selection from an opera, and the other from an oratorio or cantata of Handel. You may sing the same arias from the preliminary recording, or sing new selections. Include a short recitative before one of the arias.

On or before Friday, May 15th, in advance of the final stage, please send the titles, translations, and 1 copy of the arias and recitative to be performed at the competition finals—sent by mail or as a PDF—to madisonearlymusic@gmail.com. Please use a good source for your music so it is historically correct. The Handel Gesellschaft edition is an excellent source, and available in university and public libraries, or the IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library.

Harpsichord & String Accompanists

The Madison Early Music Festival will provide an official accompanist and small instrumental ensemble. Finalists will have an opportunity to rehearse before the competition on the evening of Wednesday, July 15. You must use the festival instrumental ensemble for the final competition. Competition pitch is A=415 Hz.


Contestants will be responsible for their own travel and food expenses. Dormitory lodging will be available for out-of-town participants in the MEMF Dormitory at the rate of $30 per night.

About the Madison Early Music Festival

Visit: madisonearlymusic.org
Call: (608) 263-6670
Email: smarty@dcs.wisc.edu