Mildred May Scholarship for Opera Singers

James Valenti, chair

The Mildred Ellor May Scholarship is presented by the New Jersey Chapter of NATS every other year to New Jersey singers pursuing a career in opera. Mildred Ellor May (“Mimi”) was a long-time and dedicated member of New Jersey-NATS. Her love of performing and teaching classical opera is reflected in her most generous gift to our organization.


The Mildred Ellor May Scholarship is open to singers under the age of 35 currently pursuing a career or advanced study in classical opera. Applicants must be current New Jersey residents or born and raised in New Jersey. Singers of diverse racial, ethnic and sexual identity groups are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants must display exceptional promise, artistry, and dedication to creating a career in classical opera. Past recipients will not be eligible.

Application procedure

Application is by nomination only. Teachers will nominate eligible students and provide a letter of recommendation. Applicants will submit a resume, a proposed plan for use of the scholarship, and a performance highlight video. The video should represent recent recordings showing the breadth of the applicant’s current repertoire and technical facility. The video should include clips of three contrasting operatic arias with at least one selection in Italian. Video must be no more than 10 minutes long. Additional repertoire is at the applicant’s discretion. Deadline for application will be June 1, 2024.


Recipients must continue their studies throughout the term of the scholarship, and scholarship funds are to be spent in furthering that study. Disbursement of funds will be split in two equal parts, recipients will submit evidence of continuing study and a current representative performance video before the second payment will be made. If the recipient is no longer deemed eligible, the scholarship will not continue past the first year.


A cash prize of $4000, to be divided into two payments of $2000. First payment will be made when the scholarship is awarded, the second will be made at the completion of the first year provided the recipient has continued to show exceptional promise, artistry, and dedication to a career in opera.

An appearance with orchestra on the Heritage Concert Series as part of the Puccini 100 Concert.


The Scholarship will be offered every two years. Teachers will submit nominations to the Mildred Ellor May Scholarship Committee and nominated singers will forward their application materials to the chair of the Committee. The Committee will examine all applications independently and meet to discuss the award. The Committee will keep in mind the express wishes of Mildred Ellor May, awarding the Scholarship to New Jersey singers showing exceptional promise, artistry and dedication to a career in opera. An announcement of the winner will be made by July 1. Committee members will meet again in May of alternate years to review the progress of the recipient, and to determine continuation of the award.


Committee shall be composed of three industry professionals selected by the chair and approved by the New Jersey NATS board. Judge committee will be announced prior to the application deadline.

How to Submit

To submit a scholarship application, please fill out the Google Form.

Materials are due by June 1, 2024.