Sybil Tutton Opera Awards

Julieth Lozano

Help Musicians launched the Sybil Tutton Opera Awards to help opera students with the costs of postgraduate study.

The History

Sybil Tutton had a lifelong love of opera, which in later years was expressed as a passionate interest in the training of young singers. Her working life was spent at Mallet’s antique dealers in Bond Street, London, where her father was a director and major shareholder. On his death, Sybil inherited his holding, becoming the largest single shareholder.

In 1988 she used her personal funds to set up the Sybil Tutton Charitable Trust, which was to provide financial help for the postgraduate training of outstanding young opera singers who, it was believed, would achieve the standards of excellence she expected in a performance. She took a personal interest in the Trust and held an annual lunch to meet some of the young singers she was supporting. Sybil never married and died peacefully on 27 November 2002 aged 96 bequeathing most of her residuary estate to the Trust.

Since the awards were set up in 1988, hundreds of singers have been helped. Many of these singers have gone on to notable careers, here and abroad. Past award winners include baritones Christopher Maltman and Ashley Holland, tenors Alfie Boe and Ed Lyon, sopranos Kate Royal and Katherine Broderick, and mezzo-sopranos Karen Cargill and Anna Stephany

The Opera Awards were previously run on a nomination basis where Heads of Departments at select performing colleges put forward students who qualified for the grant. However, Help Musicians is now reviewing the Programme to ensure inclusivity and accessibility.

The new open and direct application process aims to empower the students to take control of their futures.


Who can Apply

This year our awards are open to students who are hoping to start a postgraduate degree or move in to a second year of postgraduate study in September 2020.  

Our Sybil Tutton Opera Awards are only open to students who wish to study Opera or Repetiteurship at the following conservatoires or performance institutions: 

• Guildhall School of Music and Drama
• Leeds College of Music
• National Opera Studio
• Royal Academy of Music
• Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
• Royal College of Music
• Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
• Royal Northern College of Music
• Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
• Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
• Wales International Academy of Voice

Please read the full application guidelines before submitting your application.


From 20 April 2020 we will accept applications from students who wish to study a performance degree at one of the conservatoires or performing arts colleges above.

To apply for our Opera Awards, students must:

  • Be intending to study a postgraduate degree in September 2019. (ie. Mmus, MA, PGDip, Artist Diploma)
  • Have lived in the UK for at least 3 consecutive years at the start of the academic year in which they will be supported by the award
  • Be in financial need
  • Demonstrate that they have the musical potential and ambition to create a successful and sustainable career within the musical theatre industry

Help Musicians strongly encourages applications from students from underrepresented backgrounds, including those from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds, D/deaf and disabled people; and those from lower socio-economic groups.

Through our Opera Awards, we are unable to fund:

  • Non-music performance degrees such as composition, music technology, music education, music therapy, arts administration and music business
  • Undergraduate courses
  • PhDs, MPhil, DMus, Doctorates
  • Study from the previous academic year
  • Applications from students not intending on studying at the above institutions

Please contact if you are not sure whether you are eligible or if you have any queries regarding our eligibility criteria.


How to Apply

To apply for our Opera Awards, you must complete our online application form. 

Please read the application guidelines for full details on how to apply, the process involved and audition requirements should you be shortlisted.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with the Creative Team should you have any queries. You can email us on or call on 020 7239 9119. 


The deadline for applications is Monday 18 May at 5pm. Any applications submitted after this date will not be accepted. 


Some of our awards are made in memory of people who loved music during their lifetimes. If you would like to establish a scholarship, or make a donation to help us sustain these important awards, call our fundraising team on 020 7239 9114 or email

Your contribution could make a real difference to a young musician. Find out more about how you can Sponsor a Rising Star.