All emerging singers interested in the repertoire of Handel are encouraged to audition for the Handel Aria Competition. The final round will be held on August 18, 2023 in Madison, Wisconsin, and broadcast via livestream.

Application Deadline: May 15, 2023

Please click here to access the application via YAP Tracker. Applications must be received by the end of the day on Monday, May 15 (i.e. 11:59pm, PST). Singers need not be a paying subscriber to YAP Tracker to use the application form, although you will need an account (guest accounts are free). International applicants are welcome to apply.


First prize: $2000
Second prize: $1500
Third prize: $1000


Auditions are open to all voice types. Minimum age is 18 years old and suggested age limit is 35 years old. Applicants over 35 will be considered on a case by case basis to determine whether their experience qualifies as emerging artist level. Past finalists are eligible to audition, with the exception of first prize winners.

 Preliminary Round

Applications for the preliminary round must be completed in entirety through YAP Tracker by May 15, 2023 and include:

  1. Completed application form
  2. Unedited audio (no videos) recordings of two Handel arias: One aria in English and the other in Italian, German, or Latin. Arias may be from any Handel works including operas, oratorios, cantatas, motets, etc.
  3. A bio of 150 words or less
  4. Non-refundable application fee of $25

Please label recordings with your name and titles of arias. Piano, harpsichord, or orchestral accompaniment will be accepted for the recording and may be at either A=415 or A=440; however, the finals will be accompanied by harpsichord and instrumental ensemble at A=415 Hz. Technically poor recordings will be rejected. (Please make sure mic placement and recording quality allow for an accurate representation of your singing.)

Judges will evaluate the recordings and choose seven finalists and one runner-up. Singers will be judged on historically-informed Baroque performance practice, particularly with regard to stylistically-appropriate ornamentation, as well as overall musicianship and singing ability. Competitors who are selected to participate in the Finals will be notified by email no later than May 31, 2023. Should any of the chosen finalists be unable to sing in the final round, the runner-up will be invited to participate in the final round.

Final Round

The final round of the competition will take place on August 18, 2023. Rehearsals will take place at Grace Episcopal Church on August 16 and 17.

The competition will be heard before a panel of three judges in an event open to the public (with social distancing) and via livestream held at Grace Episcopal Church, 116 West Washington Ave, Madison, Wisconsin. Prize winners will be announced at the end of the evening, and a reception for all finalists will follow, pending the current COVID-19 status in Madison.

Final Round Judges

The judges for the final round of the 10th annual Handel Aria Competition are Sam Handley, Chase Hopkins, and Paul Rowe.

Each singer will perform:

  1. A short recitative and aria.
  2. A second aria without recitative.

One selection in English, the other in Italian, German, or Latin. You may sing the same arias from the preliminary recording, or sing new selections. Please note there will be no wind players in the accompanying ensemble so repertoire for the final round should avoid arias with prominent wind obbligato parts.

Finalists will be asked to send the titles, English translations with the original language, and one copy of the arias and recitative to be performed at the competition finals by June 15, 2023. Please send the translations as a WORD document and the music as a PDF to:

Use a good source for your music so it is historically correct. The Handel Gesellschaft edition is excellent, and is available in university and public libraries, or through the IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library.

Harpsichord & String Quartet Accompaniment 

The Madison Bach Musicians will provide harpsichord and string quartet accompaniment for the final concert. The guest cellist will be Craig Trompeter, Artistic Director of Haymarket Opera in Chicago. Finalists will have an opportunity to rehearse before the competition. You must use the provided ensemble for the final competition. Please note there will be no wind players in the ensemble so repertoire for the final round should avoid arias with prominent wind obbligato parts. Competition pitch is A=415 Hz.


  • Finalists will be given up to $500 for travel to Madison (limited to actual expense)
  • Home stays will be available for out-of-town finalists. All CDC-recommended guidelines regarding COVID-19 mitigation will be strictly followed.
  • Finalists will be responsible for their own food expenses

If you have any questions please email Artistic Director Sarah Brailey at