Our Flagship Programs
Get to the heart of who we are with our most important initiatives
Identifying, inspiring, training, and nurturing the next generation isn’t something new for OTSL. We’ve been doing it consistently since our founding in 1976.
Our programs may evolve as we continue on our journey, but the core values are the same: artistic excellence, diversity, civic impact, innovation, and accessibility.
Get a snapshot of what makes OTSL unique by learning about some of our flagship programs below.
The Gerdine Young Artist Program, led by soprano Patricia Racette (Artistic Director of Young Artist Programs) seeks to offer emerging young artists invaluable performance experience as they begin their professional careers. In addition to singing in the mainstage production choruses, Gerdine Young Artists (GYAs) are featured in supporting roles, cover all roles in mainstage productions, and are featured soloists in the annual Center Stage concert accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, an event that draws opera administrators, artist managers, and national and international press to St. Louis each season to discover the finest of emerging young artists.
The Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program (AIT) is a nationally acclaimed program that identifies, coaches, and encourages promising young high school singers both on and offstage. AIT doesn’t just build great artists through rigorous vocal training — it also sets participants up for success in any field by instilling lifelong lessons in goal-setting, hard work, and perseverance. Every year, approximately 20 local students are selected through an open and free audition process. In the decades since the program’s inception, more than 270 students have participated in the AIT program and in the last 10 years, 100% of program graduates have attended college — many of whom are the first in their families. Over the past 30 years, AIT alumni have gone on to careers as professional performers, teachers, lawyers, engineers, public elected officials, founders of opera companies, and more!
The Clayco Future Leaders Fellowship supports and cultivates future arts leaders and administrators from backgrounds historically underrepresented in opera and arts administration, particularly those who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color). Launched in 2021, this program provides in-depth experiences that advance the skills, knowledge, and capabilities that make these careers possible. Fellows serve in a full-time position specializing in one area while gaining knowledge in a range of essential functions across the organization, including artistic administration, fundraising, marketing, audience cultivation, and business administration.