Are you considering a career as an opera singer? They happen to make an impressive amount of money in certain locations across the globe. Opera singers can get paid much more than singers in other genres of music because of the years of vocal and musical training that are required to do so.
Opera performances at well-known theatres are also something that fancy people with larger budgets tend to attend, so of course, the stars of the show will receive a nice payment for their services.
According to salary checking sites like Comparably and Chron, opera singers can make an average of $60,000 per year.
Those that are more established in the classical music world would be looking at a yearly income closer to $200,000, while lesser-known singers or those that are performing in smaller productions would be making an average of $20,000-$30,000. When it comes to this career field, location really matters.
Opera singers don't necessarily get paid by salary, and they rarely get paid hourly wages. Instead, these types of singers usually enter into a contract over several months with a theatre company, but they can also appear for one-time performances and get paid per gig.
There are also programs that pay opera singers weekly, called apprentice programs, where singers near the beginning of their journeys get to study alongside more established professionals.
For weekly apprentice pay, you could expect to receive somewhere around $750 a week, which would be pretty decent for a young singer that is fresh out of school.
When looking at per performance rates, the average successful opera singer would charge $1000 to $2000 per performance and would be giving about 50 performances per year on average. That can include a lot of downtime in between work! Don't forget that singers still have to pay taxes and may have hefty management fees up to 25%.
The appeal of attending classical music performances has been declining a bit over the years due to arts budget allocations, and the recent pandemic definitely didn't help with revenue for opera companies.
The Metropolitan Opera, which is the biggest company in the US, reported a revenue loss of $25 million in 2021, according to AP News.
The Met is known for paying its singers around $200,000, but smaller companies are not so lucky and getting hit with the same losses. But the good news is that more people appreciate and pay to enjoy classical music than you would think, and the genre isn't really dying.
You must study music for at least half a decade before going after a job as an opera singer, so it's not something that you should consider for a fast job track.
The opera world is also a very competitive place, so you have to stand out as the best in terms of talent, communication, consistency, and personality to really get ahead in this business. Some voice types have more competition than others; many more soprano singers than mezzo singers compete for parts.
Some singers are such big names that they can charge over $50,000 per performance. Renee Fleming, for example, is a famous soprano singer that has a booking fee minimum of $75,000 per event, and I'm sure that's just the starting price for less than an hour.
Her net worth is currently estimated to be $12,000,000, which is surprisingly low compared to the net worth of famous tenors, including Luciano Pavarotti.
Pavarotti was worth nearly $275 million. Jose Carreras is a Spanish operatic tenor with a net worth of $250 million.
Tenor singer Placido Domingo has an even more impressive net worth of $300 million. Tenors are clearly capable of making it big in the classical world, but all voice types can shine in this industry with the right amount of talent and dedication.
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