Beggar's Opera Project

Beggar's Opera Project
July 16-23, 2017

Performance: Friday, July 21. Staged and directed by Grant Herreid with pit band.
Audition deadline April 1, 2017

Amherst Early Music is excited to present a semi-staged performance of John Gay's Beggar's Opera as a featured work of our 2017 festival.

This witty, satirical, and wonderfully vibrant work was a smash sensation in 1728, filled with beggars and highwaymen of the London underworld, satire against politicians and aristocrats, spoofs of Italian opera, and, above all, great songs. Drawing from English ballad repertory, opera arias, and hymns, the music of The Beggar's Opera offers singers and singing actors unique opportunities to shine, and to experience a different side of historical performance practice.

AEM's adaptation will drawn on the strengths of the participant performers and our faculty to bring The Beggar's Opera to life for a contemporary audience. With inventive direction by Grant Herreid and new dialogue and narration by Lawrence Rosenwald, our production will retain the great songs but condense, sharpen, and play with the spoken text; we look forward to charming, challenging, and perhaps even shocking our audience!

Daily Schedule

9:00-10:30 a.m. Master class with Julianne Baird

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Vocal topics class with Julianne Baird

1:45-3:00 p.m. Rehearsals for Beggar's Opera

3:30-5:30 p.m. Rehearsals for Beggar's Opera

Tuition: $640 Click here for information on Room and Board options. 

Audition due date: April 1, 2017

Audition Information

To audition, please visit our page on

Submit your digital application

You will need to submit:
1. $30 registration fee
2. Your resume or a brief description (one or two paragraphs) summarizing your musical background and experience, including formal and informal training and education.
3. 10-15 minutes of music showing your technique, expression, and understanding of period style. The piece need not be accompanied. For 2017, please include a selection from an English composer or source if possible. Please include composer and title information with your submission.

Limited scholarship funds are available, particularly for tenors, baritones, and basses; to apply, provide a cover letter with audition packet that details your experience and goals in the field of early music.  Early Music America also provides scholarships.  You may also consider contacting your local arts and cultural societies about possible funding.  We would be happy to help in providing documentation to assist you in obtaining a third-party scholarship.
Work-Study tuition assistance available in exchange for help with various tasks around the festival.