All emerging singers interested in the repertoire of Handel are encouraged to audition for the Handel Aria Competition. The final round of the 7th Annual Competition will take place on Friday June 7, 2019 at 7:30 in Mills Concert Hall of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music.  

Application Deadline: April 10, 2019  

Click here for the YAP Tracker link for 2019

Handel Aria Competition applications are managed through YAP Tracker. Applications had to be received via YAP Tracker by midnight, Monday, April 10, 2019. 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).


First prize: $1,500
Second prize: $1,000
Third prize: $750
Audience Favorite: $500

Thanks to the generosity of the London Handel Festival, our 2019 Handel Aria Competition first prize winner will  be invited to give a Lunchtime Recital in Handel’s own parish church, St George’s in Hanover Square, next spring. We’ll provide a travel grant of up to $750, and the London Handel Festival will arrange for a home stay in London as well as professional accompaniment and a small stipend. (This opportunity is contingent upon coordinating the singer and the London Handel Festival’s schedules.)


Auditions are open to all voice types. Contestants must be 18-35 years old as of the day of the finals: June 7, 2019. Past finalists are eligible to audition, with the exception of first prize winners.

 Preliminary Round

Applications for the preliminary round had to be completed in entirety through YAP Tracker by April 10, 2019 and include:

  1. Completed application form
  2. Unedited recordings of two Handel arias: One aria in English and the other in Italian, German, or Latin.
  3. A biographical paragraph of 150 words or less
  4. Non-refundable application fee of $25

Please label recordings with your name and titles of arias. Piano and harpsichord accompaniment will be accepted for the recording; however, the finals will be accompanied by harpsichord and instrumental ensemble at A=415 Hz. Technically poor recordings will be rejected.

Judges will evaluate the recordings and choose seven finalists and one runner-up. Singers will be judged on voice quality and historically correct Baroque performance practice.  Competitors who are selected to participate in the Finals will be notified by email no later than April 22, 2019. 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 Stage

The final round of the competition will take place on Friday, June 7,  2019 at 7:30 p.m.  Rehearsals will take place in Mills Concert Hall on Thursday, June 6 and there will be a dress rehearsal on Friday, June 7.

The competition will be heard before a panel of three judges in an event open to the public held in the Mills Concert Hall of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music, George Mosse Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St, Madison, Wisconsin. Prize winners will be announced at the end of the evening, and a reception for all finalists will follow.

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.

On or before Friday, April 26th, in advance of the final stage, 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. 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. Finalists will have an opportunity to rehearse before the competition on Thursday, June 6 and a dress rehearsal the morning of Friday, June 7. You must use the provided ensemble for the final competition. 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
  • Finalists will be responsible for their own food expenses

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