Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists

Washington National Opera

Program Name

This resident-training program offers artists on the verge of international careers a course of intensive training, study, career guidance, and performance opportunities in Washington, DC and beyond.

About the Program

Currently in its 18th season, the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program guides young singers and pianists/coaches on the verge of international careers. The program provides intensive study with renowned vocal and dramatic coaches and offers voice lessons, language classes, career guidance, and master classes with Washington National Opera staff and guest artists. The Young Artists also have the opportunity to perform and cover roles in WNO productions, and to create new roles in WNO’s new works program, the American Opera Initiative.

In addition to many performances on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, the Young Artists have performed at the White House, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, the United States Senate, the Supreme Court, the Music Center at Strathmore, the Smithsonian Institution, the Mexican Cultural Institute, with the Baltimore and Charleston Symphony Orchestras, and at numerous embassies. They have also appeared in concert with Maestro Domingo at the Reignwood Theatre in Beijing.

Each season, the Young Artists sing a fully staged performance with orchestra in the Kennedy Center Opera House as part of the WNO season. Past productions have included La traviata, The Marriage of Figaro, Madama Butterfly, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, La bohème, Alcina, and Carmen, conducted by such luminaries as Philippe Auguin, Evan Rogister, Renato Palumbo, Jane Glover, and Michael Christie. In the 2018-2019 season, the Young Artists performed a Concert of Comic Masterpieces on Friday, May 24, 2019, including the first act of Verdi’s Falstaff. This season, the Young Artists continue their recital series at the Kreeger Museum, the National Gallery, and the Phillips Collection, and present extracts from Gian-Carlo Menotti’s The Consul at the REACH, the Supreme Court, the Hylton Performing Arts Center, and the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery.

Graduates of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program have gone on to successful careers including performances with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, LA Opera, New York City Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, National Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Bayreuth Festival, Glyndebourne Festival, Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid, Liceu Opera Barcelona, and Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

Director: Robert Ainsley

Principal Coach: Ken Weiss

Master Teachers

  • Leah Crocetto: Artist-in-Residence
  • Laura Brooks Rice, Neil Shicoff: Principal voice teachers
  • Dwayne Croft, Pierre Vallet, Joan Dornemann, Kathleen Kelly, Anthony Manoli: Visiting master coaches
  • Erie Mills: English diction coach, visiting master teacher
    Hemdi Kfir: Language coach
  • Vera Danchenko-Stern: Russian coach
  • Maddalena Borea: Italian instructor
  • Ole Hass: German instructor
  • Karma Camp: Movement instructor, stage director
  • Amanda Consol: Dramatic instructor, scenes director
  • Rita Sloan: Piano instructor
  • Ana De Archuleta: Career counselor
  • Tiffany Soricelli: Finance counselor
  • Jane Frances Jakubczak and the University of Maryland Health Center: Nutrition counseling

Performances for the 2019-20 Season

  • January 24, 2020 – DCYAP recital series at the National Gallery of Art
  • February 1, 2020 – The Consul open dress rehearsal at the REACH
  • February 16, 2020 – The Consul at the Hylton Performing Arts Center
  • February 23, 2020 – Millennium Stage: Preview of Don Giovanni & Samson and Delilah
  • March 1, 2020 – Millennium Stage: Preview of Blue
  • March 8, 2020 – DCYAP recital series at the Phillips Collection: Riffs and Relations
  • April 26, 2020 - The Consul at the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery
  • May 12, 2020 – Masterclass with Denyce Graves

Audition Information

Applications for the 2020-2021 season are now closed

2019-2020 Program Dates: August 26, 2019 – May 22, 2020

Materials Required

  • Online YAP Tracker application (see Apply buttons above)
  • Submission of three audio/video samples
  • Audition repertoire


Payment is provided: Stipend, reimbursement of monthly health insurance premium (up to a certain amount), one-time moving allowance, wellness allowance, financial assistance with travel for competitions, lessons, and auditions. Singers will also have the opportunity to perform and cover roles in Washington National Opera mainstage productions, which are compensated according to AGMA stipulations in addition to regular stipend. Pianists will have the opportunity to work on a mainstage production each season as part of the WNO music staff.

For more information about the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist program, the application process, or the audition requirements, please email DCYAP@kennedy-center.org.

Major support for WNO is provided by Jacqueline Badger Mars.

David M. Rubenstein is the Presenting Underwriter of WNO.

WNO acknowledges the longstanding generosity of Life Chairman Mrs. Eugene B. Casey.

WNO's Presenting Sponsor


The Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program is made possible through the generous support of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, with additional funding provided by Susan Carmel, Judy and Billy Cox, Robert and Lynn Downing, Carl M. Freeman Foundation, Virginia McGehee Friend, Mr. and Mrs. Geoffrey P. Pohanka, Mr. Alan J. Savada and Mr. Will Stevenson, Washington National Opera Council, and The Women’s Committee of Washington National Opera.

Kennedy Center Education

Major support for educational programs at the Kennedy Center is provided by David M. Rubenstein through the Rubenstein Arts Access Program.

Generous support is also provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

The content of these programs may have been developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education but does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. You should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Gifts and grants to educational programs at the Kennedy Center are provided by A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation; Sandra K. & Clement C. Alpert; Annenberg Foundation; Bank of America; Bender Foundation, Inc.; The Honorable Stuart Bernstein and Wilma E. Bernstein.

Michael F. and Noémi K. Neidorff and The Centene Charitable Foundation; CMA Foundation; DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Dr. Gerald and Paula McNichols Foundation; Estée Lauder; Exelon; Ford Foundation; The Gessner Family Foundation; GRoW @ Annenberg and Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and Family; Harman Family Foundation; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; Herb Alpert Foundation; The Isadore and Bertha Gudelsky Family Foundation, Inc.; iTheatrics; The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation; Jim and Heather Johnson; The Karel Komárek Family Foundation; the Kimsey Endowment; The Kiplinger Foundation; The King-White Family Foundation and Dr. J. Douglas White; Natalie and Herb Kohler and Kohler Co.; Laird Norton Family Foundation; Macy's; The Markow Totevy Foundation; Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather; Linda and Tobia Mercuro; Little Kids Rock; The Meredith Foundation; The Millennium Stage Endowment Fund; The Morningstar Foundation; 

The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; Myra and Leura Younker Endowment Fund; NAMM Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Newman's Own Foundation; Nordstrom; Oath Foundation; Park Foundation, Inc.; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; The Irene Pollin Audience Development and Community Engagement Initiatives; Prince Charitable Trusts; Rosemary Kennedy Education Fund; Dr. Deborah Rose and Dr. Jan A. J. Stolwijk; Rosenthal Family Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Albert H. Small; The Stella Boyle Smith Trust; Target; The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates; The Volgenau Foundation; Volkswagen Group of America; Dennis & Phyllis Washington; Wells Fargo; William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust; and generous contributors to the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas. Additional support is provided by the National Committee for the Performing Arts.