Performers in the German for Singers program act and sing in a play.

German for Singers integrates the study of German language, literature, and culture with the study and performance of German vocal music.

All students in the program are required to speak German at all times. This approach to language study, including Middlebury's Language Pledge®, ensures that you will attain a high degree of language proficiency in a relatively short period of time. Inside this structured world, singers will gain some of the skills required to become professional artists.

Lectures and master classes, private coaching, and individual tutoring will complement formal classroom instruction. In a carefully structured curriculum of immersion in German language and culture, students will gain the skills and confidence required to become singing artists with German language proficiency and insight into the vocal repertoire of German-speaking cultures.

Program Highlights

  • Production of fully staged opera project with piano accompaniment.
  • State-of-the-art music facility equipped with ample practice rooms and rehearsal and performance spaces.
  • World-class faculty from Germany and the U.S. under the leadership of Musical Director Stefan Ruetter from Cologne and voice faculty and Opera Singer Stephan Boving.
  • Directed by Bettina Matthias, Professor of German and Chair, Middlebury College; German for Singers Faculty since 2000.
  • Workshops for professional development including an audition workshop with an opera agent at the end of the program.

Daily Schedule

The day starts with breakfast, followed by four hours of German language instruction and diction as well as acting and improvisation workshops. Then participants eat lunch with the German school.

In the afternoon, students receive private coaching with our musical director or voice lessons from our vocal coach, practice independently, or attend rehearsals for our summer's opera project with the summer opera director(s).

Before and after dinner, students also study, play soccer or volleyball, rehearse and practice some more, or enjoy one of the many lectures, performances, or social activities offered through the German School. In the evenings and on weekends, there are plays, films, dance parties, concerts, and outings—all designed to reinforce the use of German in daily life.

    Additional Requirements

    The German for Singers application requires submission of additional materials

    German for Singers

    My name is Megan Steigerwald, I'm a musician, I sing opera. And I am also a PhD student.

    My name is Ken Mattice. I grew up in Wisconsin and I'm now a full-time opera singer and living in Germany. I came to Middlebury primarily for the structure that they have here.

    I have a lot of experience singing, been a professional singer for about 10 years. But really the immersion and the structure of the German language over the seven-week period is primarily why I came,

    It's a language program for professional and aspiring professional singers, that offers them intensive language training in the Middlebury immersion program and language pledge.

    And all of that is integrated with a very intensive and German focused musical program.

    There's a world of difference when you're singing a language that you really don't understand and you only understand the translation, or when you're singing a language that you understand. You form the words differently.

    They live in you in a different way. And for us to be able to have that, that gift of living the language, it's then in our craft, and that's a beautiful thing.

    But I think it's essential for any singer, whether they will go to Germany or will just work on German opera, to go through that experience of working through an entire production from the first week through to the last performance in German.

    To learn and adapt to that kind of cultural fluency together is also incredibly helpful, and I think that will enable us to be more successful, both on the stage and off.