Talent development

Pegasus Opera Mentoring Programme

A mentorship scheme for classical artists from African and Asian backgrounds

Glyndebourne is partnering with Pegasus Opera for the second year to present a Mentoring Programme, which offers aspiring and emerging artists of African and Asian heritage a bespoke programme of coaching and mentoring opportunities.

The participants will be given opportunities to observe rehearsals and shadow established artists at the 2023 Glyndebourne Festival, as well as receiving opportunities to perform for key artistic staff and receive feedback to aid their development. They will also be introduced to other departments at Glyndebourne for insight into the full range of career opportunities in opera.

Representatives from Glyndebourne will also attend Pegasus Opera auditions and showcases to help Glyndebourne spot emerging talent who can be encouraged to audition for the Glyndebourne Chorus, a proven launchpad for a professional career in opera.

Stephen Langridge, artistic director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘We’re delighted to be partnering with Pegasus Opera Company again this year and to be working with these four excellent young singers. They will each be offered lots of opportunities to experience life at Glyndebourne and learn from established artists and professionals and we hope that their time here will provide inspiration and encouragement as they move ahead in forging a career in opera.’

Alison Buchanan, artistic director of Pegasus Opera Company, said: ‘I am thrilled to partner with Glyndebourne for the second year of our mentorship programme. What a tremendous opportunity for these talented young singers to watch, learn and hone skills as they embark on their operatic careers. I recently attended the first in-person reunion with members of the Porgy & Bess cast with Sir. Willard White, Sir. Simon Rattle, Sir. Trevor Nunn, Brian Dickie and others from that iconic Glyndebourne production, a production that was life-changing for me and was the genesis of Pegasus Opera. As we come full circle, I know their time at Glyndebourne will be equally life-changing to our singers.’

Taking part in 2023

Moloko Letsoalo, Soprano

Moloko Letsoalo, South African soprano obtained her Bachelor of Music from the University of Cape Town in 2019. She recently completed a Master of Performance degree specialising in opera at the Royal College of Music in London on scholarship, under the tutelage of Janis Kelly. She has performed a range of repertoire throughout her studies including the role of Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and excerpts of: Mimi in La bohème, Servilia in La clemenza di Tito, Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Valencienne in The Merry Widow and Manon in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. Moloko is in the early stages of her freelance career and recently performed in the opera Ruth with Pegasus Opera and covered the role of the Mother in the opera Blue at the English National Opera in April and May 2023.

Masimba Ushe, Bass

Masimba Ushe holds a Masters’ degree in Vocal Studies from the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied under Mark Wildman and Ingrid Surgenor. He has performed various leading roles in the UK including: Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Bartolo (Le nozze di Figaro), Colline (La bohème), Alcade (La forza del destino), and Superintendent Budd (Albert Herring). He has also performed as part of the bass chorus in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Grange Park Opera) and Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe and Utopia, Limited (National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company). He is currently on tour with English Touring Opera, performing with the chorus in Rossini’s Il viaggo a Reims and Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and covering the roles of Gubetta (Lucrezia Borgia) and Don Prudenzio (Il viaggo a Reims) alongside performing as the Muddier in The Wish Gatherer. He will be an Associate Artist working with Opera Up Close this summer covering the role of Captain Dee on a production of The Flying Dutchman (Wagner).

Carlos Felipe Cerchiaro, baritone

A Master’s student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Colombian-Italian baritone Carlos Felipe Cerchiaro has sung as a soloist in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier with the Colombian National Opera. He has sung in the autumn/winter season at the Cathédrale de Notre Dame Paris and performed operatic roles in Germany, Austria, and France which include Vater in Hänsel un Gretel by Humperdinck, Monthabor in La fille du tambour major by Offenbach, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte by Mozart. At the Guildhall he has recently performed in the summer opera production of Kurt Weill’s Der Zar lässt sich photographieren and covered roles for the production of Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie with the opera course as well as opera scenes that include Il barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro), Rigoletto (title role), La bohème (Schaunard), and Billy Budd (Sailing Master). Recently he performed in Il prigioniero by Dallapiccola with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano at the Barbican Centre.

Jasmine Flicker, soprano

Born in London, Jasmine Flicker is a British classical singer and violinist, specialising in repertoire of the Baroque period. She has just completed her final year of undergraduate studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, under the teaching of Neil Baker and coaching of Panaretos Kyriatzidis.

She became a member of the Pegasus Opera’s Digital Opera Mentoring Programme Class of 2020 and sang in Pegasus Opera’s Virtual Legacy and Hope Concert 2020, celebrating Black History Month. A range of repertoire was performed including ‘Make Them Hear You’ from Ragtime (Stephen Flaherty), ‘Va Pensiero’ from Nabucco (Giuseppe Verdi) and a series of Caribbean music arrangements by Felix Cross MBE. Flicker made her professional opera debut last April in Pegasus Opera’s double bill production of Ruth and The Six of Calais. She is now a mentee on Glyndebourne’s Partnership Pegasus Opera mentoring scheme 2023.

In 2021 she became one of the Vache Baroque’s Young Artists, participating as a chorus member in their performance of Paradise & Pandemonium, and is recently a featured soloist for the Vache Baroque VB Showcase: Women of the Baroque. Throughout December 2021, she also participated as a chorus member of the Hanover Band’s Messiah UK Tour.

Flicker made her BBC Proms debut, singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in D Minor Op. 125, as part of Chineke! Voices at the Royal Albert Hall, with the choir directed by Simon Halsey CBE, Deutscher Chor London musical director Barbara Höfling and conducted by Kevin John Edusei. Other chorus work includes a concert performance of Ethyl Smyth’s Der Wald with The Opera Makers. Coming from an orchestral background, she led the Enfield Concert Orchestra. Work included playing in the Hanover Band’s Battle of Waterloo Education Project in 2015. She is also the violin soloist in Marvel’s Black Widow (2021). Recording took place at Abbey Road Studios in London, with music composed by Lorne Balfe.

About Pegasus Opera Company

Pegasus is a professional opera company with a family of widespread international artists, participants and supporters. We produce high-quality performances and balance this with a focus on artist development, with an eye to promoting the talents of emerging artists of African and Asian heritage and bringing this onto eminent platforms of note and significance.

For almost 30 years, Pegasus Opera Company has been the home for singers, composers, instrumentalists and directors predominantly, but not exclusively, from diverse African and Asian heritage.

Established in south London and grown from solid and credible roots, we still work out of our home in Brixton. The Company has held true to our founder Lloyd Newton’s credo of ‘harmony in diversity’. We have inspired many to love opera; and we celebrate the music of rich African, Asian and Caribbean diasporas whilst weaving into the fabric of the British performing arts, using creativity to challenge and advocate for positive change.

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