Major new international singing competition launched by Glyndebourne
AND THE WINNER IS … SAMANTHA HANKEY
The first winner of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup was decided tonight (24 March) as the new international singing competition reached its closing stage at Glyndebourne.
Mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, 25, from the USA, was crowned the overall winner, receiving £15,000 and the guarantee of a role within five years at one of the top opera houses represented on the competition jury.
A native of Massachusetts, Hankey attended the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco and recently graduated from The Juilliard School. In 2017/18 she makes her debuts as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Den Norske Opera, Siébel in Faust at Grand Théâtre de Genève, and her Carnegie Hall debut in Handel’s Messiah with Musica Sacra. She was Grand Finals winner of the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and first prize winner of the Dallas Opera Guild Competition.
Hankey was presented with her prize by Dame Janet Baker, the competition’s honorary president who helped to adjudicate the final.
Sebastian F Schwarz, Chair of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup jury, said: ‘Throughout the competition, from the heats, through the semis to the final, Samantha Hankey was a winner. She had amazing stage presence, wonderful musicality, a beautiful voice – a voice that can be used in various sizes of theatres. She understood what she was singing about, and she conveyed it with absolute clarity and wonderful musical intelligence.’
The Glyndebourne Opera Cup focuses on a different single composer or strand of the repertoire each time it is held. In 2018 the featured composer was Mozart and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment accompanied the ten finalists.
Hankey impressed the judges with her two chosen Mozart arias – ‘Va pure ad altri in braccio’ from La finta giardiniera and ‘Parto, ma tu ben mio’ from La clemenza di Tito.
The final of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup was broadcast live on Sky Arts, hosted by Chris Addison and Danielle de Niese.
Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2018 – semi-finalists announced
The semi-finalists for the first Glyndebourne Opera Cup have been announced.
Following a worldwide search that attracted nearly 200 entries, and preliminary rounds in Berlin, London and Philadelphia, 23 singers aged 21-28 have been chosen to compete in the semi-final at Glyndebourne on 22 March.
The singers will be competing for one of 10 places in the final on 24 March, which will be broadcast live on Sky Arts. The overall winner will receive £15,000 and the guarantee of a role within five years at one of the top opera houses represented on the competition jury.
Fourteen nationalities are represented among the semi-finalists, reflecting the international scope of the competition. The countries represented are Austria, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Kosovo, Mexico, Poland, the UK, Ukraine, and the USA.
The backgrounds of the semi-finalists are as varied as their nationalities.
Among them are soprano Elbenita Kajtazi (26), who as a young girl was forced to flee her home in war-torn Kosovo with her family, and live as a refugee in Albania. She fell in love with opera after watching clips of Maria Callas on YouTube. Soprano Francesca Chiejina (27), born in Lagos, Nigeria, had first planned to be a doctor before she caught the singing bug, as had her fellow semi-finalist, Canadian tenor Charles Sy (26). American bass baritone Cody Quattlebaum (24) was a chef for six years before he decided to commit to his musical career. Further details about the contestants will be revealed in an hour-long Glyndebourne Opera Cup documentary to be broadcast on Sky Arts on Thursday 22 March.
The Glyndebourne Opera Cup focuses on a different single composer or strand of the repertoire. In 2018 the featured composer is Mozart and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will accompany the singers at the final.
The full list of semi-finalists is below. A further heat will take place nearer the semi-final for a small number of contestants who had qualified for the competition but for reasons of illness were unable to attend one of the preliminary rounds, so it is possible that one or two additional names will be added to the list at a later date.
Adèle Charvet 24, mezzo-soprano (France)
Francesca Chiejina 27, soprano (USA)
Jorge Espino 26, baritone (Mexico)
Adriana Gonzalez 26, soprano (Guatemala)
Samantha Hankey 24, mezzo-soprano (USA)
Elbenita Kajtazi 26, soprano (Kosovo)
Dmytro Kalmuchyn 24, baritone (Ukraine)
Aurora Marthens 25, soprano (Finland)
Mirjam Mesak 27, soprano (Estonia)
Denis Milo 27, baritone (Germany)
Jake Muffett 24, baritone (UK)
Diana Newman 28, soprano (USA)
Gemma Ní Bhriain 25, mezzo-soprano (Ireland)
Alexandra Nowakowski 25, soprano (USA/Poland)
Eléonore Pancrazi 27, mezzo-soprano (France)
Emily Pogorelc 21, soprano (USA)
Cody Quattlebaum 24, bass-baritone (USA)
Anita Rosati 24, soprano (Austria)
Carl Rumstadt 25, baritone (Germany)
Jacquelyn Stucker 28, soprano (USA)
Jack Swanson 24, tenor (USA)
Charles Sy 26, tenor (Canada)
Hubert Zapiór 23, baritone (Poland)
‘Glyndebourne enjoys a long held reputation for finding and nurturing new talent,’ says Gus Christie, Glyndebourne’s Executive Chairman. ‘It is with this in mind that I look forward to welcoming all of the competitors to the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup semi-final on 22 March.
‘These talented young singers will have the opportunity to perform on the Glyndebourne stage, sing in front of a TV audience and ultimately have the chance of winning a cash prize and even a major operatic role. I wish them all the very best of luck and am delighted that Glyndebourne is able to showcase this new generation of singers on our stage.’
Sebastian F. Schwarz, Chair of The Glyndebourne Opera Cup jury, says, ‘These young singers piqued our curiosity; they revealed engaging artistic personalities and promising, beautiful instruments, and they demonstrated superior technical and musical skills.’
‘I am delighted with the semi-finalists we have chosen,’ adds Schwarz. ‘They represent the best Mozart singing to be found in their age group (up to 28) and reaffirm my hopes about the future of opera. I am very excited to be hearing them all again in the semi-final at Glyndebourne and wish each of them the very best.’
The international jury for The Glyndebourne Opera Cup includes representatives from top international opera houses. Among them are Barrie Kosky, Artistic Director of Komische Oper Berlin, Sophie de Lint, Artistic Director of Zurich Opera and Director Designate of Dutch National Opera, David Devan, who runs Opera Philadelphia, Fortunato Ortombina, Sovrintendente of Teatro La Fenice in Venice, and Joan Matabosch, Artistic Director of Teatro Real in Madrid.
Acting as the competition’s honorary president is Dame Janet Baker, whose own early career was fostered by Glyndebourne. As well as presenting the prizes, she will adjudicate at the live final.
The semi-finals and final of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup take place on the 22 and 24 March respectively at Glyndebourne, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5UU. For tickets please go to glyndebourne.com. The final is currently sold out, please call 01273 815 000 for returns.
The highlights of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup worldwide heats will air on the 22 March, with the semi-final on the 23rd March and the live final on the 24 March, on Sky Arts.
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.