A GALA EVENT: TOP Michael Fennelly, Cesar Delgado, Andrew Stenson, Daniel Noyola BOTTOM Joo Won Kang, Marina Costa-Jackson, Susan Graham, Marilyn Horne, Hyesang Park, and Andre Courville.
A GALA EVENT: TOP Michael Fennelly, César Delgado, Andrew Stenson, Daniel Noyola BOTTOM Joo Won Kang, Marina Costa-Jackson, Susan Graham, Marilyn Horne, Hyesang Park, and André Courville.

Welcome to Opera Index

We offer you: The Opportunity to learn and share experiences with others in the fascinating world of opera while supporting young singers.

Our Vocal Competition is now open for entries. Please review our vocal competition materials.

Our Mission Statement

Opera Index is a non-profit volunteer organization whose mission is to provide advocacy for opera and support for its artists. The elements of this mission are twofold

  • Provide support for opera singers at the onset of their careers including such endeavors as financial gifts and Opera Index sponsored performances.
  • Foster a community of opera lovers through activities created to promote shared relationships and to enhance socialization in the opera environment.
Susan Graham & Lois Kirschenbaum
Susan Graham & Lois Kirschenbaum.

Why Join?

  • Share in the excitement of seeing the future opera singers who will be singing worldwide at the onset of their careers.
  • Share the joy of opera with other opera lovers.
  • Experience the glamour of our winter galas with known celebrities and our major winners.
  • Learn more about opera at our panel discussions, master classes, and interviews.
  • Meet people with similar interests.

Build a Lasting Legacy for Operatic Talent

Since 1984 Opera Index has given awards valued at more than $1 million to 365 young singers. A planned gift to Opera Index will help ensure that tomorrow's opera talents will continue to thrive for years to come.

Please consider discussing with your financial consultants a planned gift to Opera Index. For more information, please contact the Opera Index office at 212 706-9550 or operaindex@rcn.com.

Opportunities we offer our young singers:

Vocal Competition

Opera Index is one of the major vocal competitions in America. Since 1984 we have given awards valued at over $1 million to 381 singers. In 2016 we gave $55,500 in awards to sixteen young singers.

The auditions for the vocal competition are held in October. We award three categories of singers: Those who are on the cusp of a major career receive awards from $3,000 to $10,000. Those who are in the early phase of a promising career receive $2,000 and those who demonstrate a potential for a major career receive encouragement amounts of $1,000 each.

The major award winners sing at the January Winter Gala (a major fundraising event) and the Emerging Artist Award winners and Encouragement Award winners receive awards at the Membership Party and/or Spring Lunch.

In early May we have our Spring Lunch where we hear additional Emerging Artist Award winners and Encouragement Winners and, sometimes, a major winner who was unable to attend the gala. We honor individuals who have made substantial contributions to Opera Index or have been associated with Opera Index activities and events.


Opera Index, an outgrowth of The New York Opera Club, was founded in the late 1950's by William Wells for the purpose of offering social interaction in the world of opera for his friends. The vehicle chosen to do this was a series of interviews with opera singers. In 1980 it was decided to expand the organization so as to provide awards to singers through a vocal competition. This required the creation of a non-profit organization.

Opera Index was incorporated in 1982 as a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. The name referred to an index kept by William Wells which had a listing of known opera singers at that time - a most unusual name that has persisted despite the fact that the index no longer exists.

The vocal competition began in 1984 with such winners as Susanne Mentzer and Jo-Ann Pickens. A full list can be found here. Opera Index winners singing at the Metropolitan Opera this season include: Ben Bliss (2014), Stephanie Blythe (1996), Patrick Carfizzi (1999), Michael Fabiano (2007), Christine Goerke (1995), Susan Graham (1987), Ryan Speedo Green (2014), Yonghoon Lee (2005), Caitlin Lynch (2007), Lucas Meachem (2001), Angela Meade (2006), Lisette Oropesa (2006), David Pershall (2011), Ailyn Perez (1999), Nadine Sierra (2010), Christian Van Horn (2003), Maria Zifchak (1999).

Sachi Liegergesell & Andre Courville
Sachi Liegergesell & André Courville

The winter gala, our major fund raiser, began in 1983 with soprano Zinka Milanov. Since 1985 major persons in the world of opera have been honored at these galas. Up to 1995 the gala was held in December. Beginning in 1997 the gala has been held in January as it is this year.

Opportunities we offer our members and others:


Our biggest event is the Winter Gala held at the beautiful JW Marriott Essex House in New York City. This is a formal affair attended by many opera and theater celebrities. Attendees hear Opera Index major winners and have the opportunity to toast the Honoree.

DIVAS Martina Arroyo,Susan Graham, Jane Shaulis, Marilyn Horne, Rosalind Elias.
DIVAS Martina Arroyo,Susan Graham, Jane Shaulis, Marilyn Horne, Rosalind Elias.

In November, we have our Membership Party, free to all paid-up members. This is where we hear Emerging Artist Award Winners and Encouragement Award Winners. These are singers who demonstrate a special quality early in their career. In May we have our Spring Lunch at the JW Marriott Essex House where we honor “one of our own”. Our winners provide us with a recital.

Joseph Gasperec, Jane Shaulis, Daniel Noyola.
Joseph Gasperec, Jane Shaulis, Daniel Noyola.

During the year, we offer an array of activities. These fall under the title of our Opera Plus Series. Please check under the EVENTS link for the specifics.

Stephen De Maio & Joo Won Kang
Stephen De Maio & Joo Won Kang.

Past Honorees

The list of honorees include: Leonie Rysanek (1985); Samuel Ramey (1986); Roberta Peters (1987); Licia Albanese (1988); Marilyn Horne (1988); Jamila Novotna (1990); Alfredo Kraus (1991); Lucine Amara and Jerome Hines (1992); Birgit Nilsson (1993); Renato Scotto (1994); Rose Bampton and Theodor Uppman (1995); Anna Moffo (1997); Grace Bumbry (1998); Martina Arroyo (1999); George Jellinek (2000); Deborah Voigt (2001); Jon Vickers (2002); Regina Resnik (2003); Sherrill Milnes (2004); James Morris (2005); Catherine Malfitano (2006); Jessye Norman (2007); Aprile Millo (2008); Julius Rudel (2009); Patrice Munsel (2010); Shirley Verrett and George Shirley (2011); Eve Queler (2012); Eric Owens (2013); Rosalind Elias (2014), Susan Graham (2015), Dolora Zajick (2016), Tito Capobianco (2017), and Mignon Dunn (2018).

Opera Index, Inc.

PO Box 237153
Ansonia Station, NY NY 10023


Opera Index Officers

President: Jane Shaulis; Vice Presidents: Janet Stovin, Philip Hagemann; Recording Secretary: Ellen Godfrey; Treasurer: Murray Rosenthal

Board of Directors

Ellen Godfrey, Philip Hagemann, Robert Lombardo, Raymond Menard, John David Metcalfe, Mark Moorman, Stephen Phebus, Murray Rosenthal, Jane Shaulis, Robert Steiner, Janet Stovin, Jessie B. Walker.

Advisory Board

Lucine Amara, Ken Benson, Stephen De Maio, Rosalind Elias, Cori Ellison, Elaine Malbin, Jane Marsh, Eric Owens, Eve Queler, Elinor Ross, Midge Woolsey.

Executive Director

Joseph S. Gasperec

links contact winners competititon events membership home