The Academy of Vocal Arts
Advanced training for opera singers
The only tuition-free institution in the U.S. devoted exclusively to advanced opera studies transforms talented singers into illustrious interpreters. When they are chosen for this competitive, four-year certificate program, many singers already have masters’ degrees and are performing in regional opera houses. So, the singing starts on a high note at the fully staged productions in the AVA’s historic headquarters, a 19th-century townhouse that includes the 150-seat Helen Corning Warden Theater.
Dramatic values are keen, with singers coached in acting, movement, languages and audition skills. Veteran AVA Music Director Christofer Macatsoris conducts the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia for AVA productions. Opera scenes, art song and oratorio recitals are open to the public.
Philadelphian Helen Corning Warden and voice teacher Edgar Milton Cooke established the professional training school in 1934. Graduates have sung in the world’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Milan’s La Scala. Bass James Morris, sopranos Ruth Ann Swenson and Indra Thomas, baritone John Packard and tenor Jesus Garcia are among its impressive roster.
Go early to linger over the lavish and arresting interiors at the Helen Corning Warden Theater, which includes the distinctive Frank Furness-designed, hand-carved mahogany interior and bas-reliefs inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Pre-Raphaelite style paintings by protégés of William Morris Hunt.
In the neighborhood
1715 Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia, PA 19103
- Hotel Palomar Philadelphia
- Sonesta Philadelphia
- ROOST Apartment Hotel, Philadelphia- Midtown
- AKA Rittenhouse Square
- The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia
- The Rittenhouse
- The Warwick Hotel
Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia
- Inn at the Union League
- Sofitel Philadelphia
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Museums & Attractions
The Academy of Music 1420 Locust Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
- The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
- Pennsylvania Ballet
- Concerts in the Park – Rittenhouse Square Summer Concert Series
- Merriam Theater
- Koresh Dance Company
- 1812 Productions
- Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Sports Museum
- Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show
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