UPDATED! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018

02/05/2017

Major new international singing competition launched by Glyndebourne

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Website http://www.glyndebourne.com/

UPDATE: 

Chris Addison and Danielle de Niese to present Sky Arts’ coverage of The Glyndebourne Opera Cup

​​Coverage of The Glyndebourne Opera Cup on Sky Arts will be presented by Chris Addison and Danielle de Niese. Chris Addison, the comedian and actor, is also a passionate opera fan and Glyndebourne Member. Opera star Danielle de Niese is a soprano in demand across the world whose early break came in Glyndebourne’s production of the Handel opera Giulio Cesare in 2005. Together, they will present Sky Arts’ coverage of the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup, an international competition for opera singers.

Sky Arts, working with Factory Films, will be following all the action of the competition. A documentary about the competition process, including the satellite heats taking place in January in Philadelphia, Berlin and London, airs on 22 March 2018. Televised highlights of the semi-finals air on 23 March before the grand final is broadcast live from Glyndebourne on 24 March.

Chris Addison commented, ‘It is a complete joy and, let’s be honest, a privilege to be part of The Glyndebourne Opera Cup. I love opera – have done since I came across Mozart’s The Magic Flute in my late twenties – the unbelievable music, the insane plots and most of all humans doing things with their voices that are so beautiful they seem almost impossible. And I’m excited about a competition that will be a great way to bring the power of that singing into people’s living rooms.’

Danielle de Niese said, ‘Growing up in Australia, I won many Eisteddfods as well as the​ nationally televised Young Talent Time Talent Discovery of the Year competition at the tender age of nine – so I know first hand the unique thrill of competitions. They are tough and nerve wracking but they can also bring out the best in an artist. The Glyndebourne Opera Cup aims to find performers who can rise to this challenge, and they will be judged by an amazing panel drawn from the field of opera at the highest level.

‘I am incredibly excited to guide the Sky Arts audiences step by step through the highs and lows of what will inevitably be an epic journey for the contestants. I hope to share with people who watch this competition why opera is such a multi-dimensional and transformative experience.’

Sky Arts Director, Phil Edgar-Jones says, ‘In Danielle and Chris we have a mixture of great knowledge, passionate enthusiasm, incredible talent, wit, charm and a desire to open up this wonderful art form and share it with our audience on Sky Arts. We are looking forward to working with them on this lovely vocal adventure.’

Gus Christie is Glyndebourne’s Executive Chairman and married to Danielle de Niese. He said, ‘Having seen Danni perform many times, I can promise viewers she will light up the screen. Chris has been making me laugh since his turn as the hapless Ollie in The Thick of It, I look forward very much to welcoming him to Glyndebourne.’

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2018 focuses on the work of Mozart – each biennial edition of the competition will focus on a different composer or era – and singers aged between 21 and 28 were invited to apply. Artists from all over the world have entered the competition, with 44  different nationalities represented. A shortlist of candidates to attend the January heats has been drawn up and the successful applicants notified.

The competition will award five prizes, including a top prize of £15,000 for the winner and the offer of a role at one of the leading opera houses represented on the jury within five years. More information below.

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup – the international competition for opera singers is designed to discover and spotlight the best young singers from around the world, offering a top prize of £15,000 and a platform for launching an international opera career.

The eight-strong panel of judges includes representatives from top international opera houses. Among them are Barrie Kosky, Artistic Director of Komische Oper Berlin, Sophie de Lint, Opera Director of Zurich Opera and Director designate of Dutch National Opera, David Devan, who runs Opera Philadelphia, and Fortunato Ortombina, Artistic Director of Teatro La Fenice in Venice.

Acting as honorary president will be Dame Janet Baker, whose own early career was fostered by Glyndebourne.

Sky Arts, Glyndebourne’s official UK broadcast partner, will bring the competition to a wider audience with a dedicated TV series. Following each stage of the competition, the series will feature preliminary rounds in a number of international cities, culminating in the finals at Glyndebourne, and will allow audiences to learn more about the individual competitors involved.

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup will be unique to other competitions of its kind in a number of ways. Firstly, alongside prize money, the overall winner is guaranteed a role at one of the opera houses represented on the jury within five years of their victory. The time frame is designed to ensure that a suitable role for the winner can be found and reflects the long planning times in opera.

In addition, the biennial competition will focus on a different single composer or strand of the repertoire each time it is held.  This is in order to cater for the various specialisms within operatic training, and to ensure competitors can be accompanied by an orchestra with instruments appropriate for the period. Eligibility criteria, including age limit, will vary to reflect the chosen theme.

The inaugural competition, culminating in March 2018, will require singers to focus on Mozart, accepting entrants to an upper age limit of 28. Contestants will be accompanied by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

The competition has been devised by Glyndebourne’s General Director, Sebastian F. Schwarz, who will chair the judging panel. Glyndebourne already has an international reputation for discovering and nurturing new talent. This includes Glyndebourne Chorus members who have gone on to fame, such as Sarah Connolly and Thomas Allen, as well as stars, such as Kiri Te Kanawa and Luciano Pavarotti, who were given a place in the spotlight at early stages in their career.

Sebastian F. Schwarz, said: “I’ve been on the judging panels of a number of singing competitions and have seen what works and what doesn’t. When I arrived at Glyndebourne, with its giant reputation for discovering exceptional talent, it seemed an incredible opportunity to design the perfect singing competition from scratch. To me this means offering maximum benefit to those who enter. This is reflected in the jury which comprises esteemed colleagues representing houses that, like Glyndebourne, have a lot to offer competitors as they seek to develop careers. Our ambition is to establish The Glyndebourne Opera Cup as among the premiere competitions of its kind and we are delighted to be partnering with Sky Arts to bring this to a wider audience.”

Dame Janet Baker, also commenting on the competition, said: “My own career began at Glyndebourne so I’m well aware just how much the company has to offer to singers as they seek to establish themselves and develop as artists. This new competition is thoroughly in keeping with the strong commitment to nurturing singers that I observed and benefitted from during my time at Glyndebourne so I was delighted to be invited to act as honorary president.”

Sky Arts Director, Phil Edgar-Jones, says: “Sky Arts has had a long association with Glyndebourne over the years and, as opera enthusiasts, we are always keen to break new ground and seek out new audiences for this unique art form. So, when Sebastian brought us his idea for a partnership with Glyndebourne on its new opera singing competition his vision and infectious enthusiasm were impossible to resist. We’re sure it’ll hit the right note with our audience.”

The international jury for The Glyndebourne Opera Cup is:

  • Sebastian F. Schwarz, General Director, Glyndebourne (Chair)
  • Barrie Kosky, Artistic Director, Komische Oper Berlin
  • David Devan, General Director and President, Opera Philadelphia
  • Joan Matabosch, Artistic Director, Teatro Real de Madrid
  • Sophie de Lint, Artistic Director, Zurich Opera and Director designate of Dutch National Opera
  • Fortunato Ortombina, Artistic Director, Teatro La Fenice, Venice
  • Pål Christian Moe, Casting Consultant for Bayerische Staatsoper Munich and Glyndebourne
  • Maria Mot, Associate Director, Vocal & Opera, Intermusica

Applications for the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup open later this year, with preliminary rounds taking place in January 2018 in Philadelphia, London and Berlin. The final stages of the competition take place at Glyndebourne in March 2018.

Full details, including information on the application process, will be released this summer.

Glyndebourne Festival 2018

The UK’s first professional production of Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer prize-winning opera Vanessa takes place at Glyndebourne Festival 2018.

One of the great American operas, Vanessa was hailed as a triumph at its premiere in 1958 but quickly fell out of the repertoire and has only been staged intermittently since.

Sebastian F. Schwarz, General Director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘Given my first chance to programme a work at Glyndebourne, my thoughts quickly turned to this neglected masterpiece. It’s remarkable that there has never been a UK production of Vanessa, the first opera by such a popular composer – and the man who wrote the Adagio for Strings. Sixty years on from its 1958 premiere, I’m delighted that Glyndebourne will give it the UK showcase it so richly deserves.’

The new production will be directed by British director Keith Warner, fulfilling his long-held ambition to stage the piece and marking his Glyndebourne directorial debut. Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša returns to Glyndebourne to lead the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The cast includes British soprano Emma Bell in the title role, alongside Lithuanian tenor Edgaras Montvidas as Anatol.

The second new production for Festival 2018 is Claude Debussy’s only completed opera, Pelléas et Mélisande.

With Pelléas et Mélisande, premiered in 1902, Debussy sought to rewrite the rules of the art form, producing a completely new style of opera, heavy with symbolism and deploying naturalistic vocal writing, with one note per syllable, phrased according to speech intonation.

The new production will mark the Glyndebourne debut of the in-demand Norwegian director Stefan Herheim, and is conducted by Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati.

Leading the cast are Austrian soprano Christina Gansch as Mélisande and American baritone John Chest as Pelléas. British baritone Christopher Purves returns to Glyndebourne in the role of Golaud.

Glyndebourne Festival 2018 opens with the Festival debut of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Originally staged for Glyndebourne Tour 2016, Annilese Miskimmon’s production is the first staging of the work at Glyndebourne.

Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber will conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra, his first appearance at Glyndebourne since he made his debut conducting Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Glyndebourne Festival 2014.

Taking on one of the greatest soprano roles in the repertoire is Moldovian soprano Olga Busuioc as Cio-Cio-San. The role of Lieutenant BF Pinkerton will be performed by American tenor Joshua Guerrero, with American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki.

Completing the 2018 Festival season are revivals of three of the most popular productions in Glyndebourne’s recent history.

Offering a chance to compare and contrast one of Handel’s finest operas with one of his great oratorios are revivals of David McVicar’s ground-breaking 2005 production of Giulio Cesare and Barrie Kosky’s smash-hit 2015 staging of Saul.

A number of artists involved in the original Giulio Cesare production return for next summer’s revival, including director David McVicar, conductor William Christie and British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly in the title role. American soprano Joélle Harvey takes the role of Cleopatra.

Barrie Kosky returns to Glyndebourne to oversee the first Glyndebourne Festival revival of Saul, with Laurence Cummings conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

German baritone Markus Brück will perform the role of Saul with British tenor Allan Clayton as Jonathan and British countertenor Iestyn Davies returning to the role of David, which he performed in the 2015 premiere.

Completing the season is the first Glyndebourne revival of British director Richard Jones’s stylish and original take on Strauss’s masterpiece, Der Rosenkavalier, conducted by Robin Ticciati.

British soprano Kate Royal stars as the Marschallin, as she did in the original 2014 staging, opposite American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey as Octavian. British bass Brindley Sherratt performs the role of Baron Ochs.

Glyndebourne Festival runs from 19 May – 26 August 2018.

Fifty years of the Glyndebourne Tour in 2018

Glyndebourne’s first-ever production of Massenet’s Cendrillon forms the highlight of the Glyndebourne Tour, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. Cendrillon will be directed by Fiona Shaw, who previously directed a critically acclaimed production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne.

The Glyndebourne Tour launched in 1968 with two aims – to make Glyndebourne’s work accessible to broader audiences and to give performing opportunities to young, promising singers. These objectives remain as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.

The second fully-staged opera in the 2018 Tour is a revival of Tom Cairns’s opulent production of Verdi’s La traviata, which had its premiere at Glyndebourne Festival 2014.

There will also be a return for Behind The Curtain – a new style of event introduced in 2016, with Don Giovanni: Behind the Curtain, to take audiences behind the scenes on the creation of opera. On this occasion the event will take an in-depth look at La traviata, with performance extracts from the cast and orchestra of the main Tour 2018 production.

Glyndebourne Tour runs from 13 October – 1 December 2018.

Further information and casting to follow.

Plans for biggest capital investment since new opera house

Glyndebourne is in the final stages of planning a new, state-of-the-art production hub that will unite all its expert making departments under one roof.

It will be the organisation’s biggest capital investment since the rebuilding of its world-class opera house in 1994.

In addition to housing technical workspace, the building will contain three music practice rooms and an extra rehearsal space.

The new hub will enable Glyndebourne to sustain its competitive edge, providing state of the art facilities that support the company’s high artistic standards and help it attract and retain creative staff.

The building will also improve the organisation’s environmental footprint, with a design that gives careful consideration to environmental factors. The development is being designed  to meet the BREEAM Excellent standard for sustainable development.

In addition, the hub will enhance the visitor experience through the addition of an attractive new building that offers greater potential for running tours of backstage departments.

A targeted fundraising effort will seek to raise the money for the project, underwritten by reserves that have been built up in recent years for this purpose.

Nicholas Hare Architects have been appointed to the project and an architect’s model of the development will be on display to visitors during the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival. Work on the new building is expected to begin this winter.

The new production hub is part of a wider programme of investment taking place at Glyndebourne that includes upgrades to front of house facilities, re-landscaping and the extension of wet weather facilities.

These initiatives all support Glyndebourne’s commitment to sustaining its high standards and retaining its reputation for excellence in all areas.

Education and outreach

Recruitment will get underway in 2018 for Glyndebourne’s latest large-scale main stage community opera.

The latest new commission will be composed by Howard Moody and directed by Simon Iorio. It will be delivered in partnership with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and staged at Glyndebourne in March 2019.

Also in 2018, a new Young Composer-in-Residence will join Glyndebourne.

The position is a three year, part-time residency for an emerging composer, giving the holder an unrivalled opportunity to immerse themselves in the work of an opera house and observe the creation of new operas, as well as create new work of their own.

Based within Glyndebourne’s pioneering education department, the Young Composer-in-Residence will also involve themselves in Glyndebourne’s broader artistic, learning and audience development activities.

An annual bursary of £17,000 is provided to cover time, expenses and any work composed for Glyndebourne during the residency.

Recruitment for the position is open now via glyndebourne.com

Glyndebourne will crown the latest winners of its two biennial awards for young singers in 2018.

The Gus Christie Award is for a young singer who has demonstrated outstanding vocal talent, while the Bill Weston Young Singers Award is for an exceptionally promising singer who would benefit from financial support to continue their development.

Both awards were launched in 2016 to mark 30 years since the formation of Glyndebourne’s education department.

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