The Glyndebourne Opera Cup

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2020 rules

Participant rules for the The Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2020

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup – the international singing competition for opera singers.

The competition, culminating on 7 March 2020, will focus on the operas of Mozart, Rossini and a selection of French 19th Century composers (Berlioz, Bizet, Gounod, Massenet, Offenbach, Saint-Saëns and A. Thomas).

The competition is open to singers of any nationality resident anywhere in the world and is intended for singers in the early stages of their professional career who are ready to perform on the opera stage.

In addition to the prize money and professional exposure, competitors will have an opportunity to increase their public profile through the live broadcast of the Final on Sky Arts, the Glyndebourne Opera Cup’s official UK broadcast partner.

Rules of The Glyndebourne Opera Cup

These Rules set out the terms and conditions which shall apply to all participants in the Glyndebourne Opera Cup (‘the Competition’). By submitting a Glyndebourne Opera Cup Application Form, applicants agree to be bound by these Rules.

The organiser of the Competition is Glyndebourne Productions Limited, registered Charity (Charity number 243877) and a company registered in England and Wales (company number 00358266) whose registered office is at Glyndebourne, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 5UU (‘Glyndebourne’).

The Competition is to be filmed by Factory Films Limited, who have been commissioned by the Opera Cup’s official UK broadcast partner, Sky Arts, to broadcast the Final of the Competition. In addition, materials from that filming and other contributions from applicants may be used in other media such as radio and online content. By applying to take part in the Competition, all applicants agree to participate in the film and in any promotional activities regarding the Competition and to accept the terms and conditions of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup Release Form. All applicants also acknowledge and accept that the confirmations in that Release Form shall be given by them for the benefit of Sky Arts and Factory Films Limited, as well as of Glyndebourne itself.

You will need to acknowledge that you have read and accept the terms of the Release Form by ticking the appropriate box in the application form.


Glyndebourne and Sky Arts strive to promote diversity in opera and are inviting BAME applicants and those facing financial barriers to apply for a Sky Arts Bursary to cover travel and accommodation costs. Any awards are at the discretion of the organisers and awards will only cover the travel and accommodation expenses of applicants reaching the Semi-final Round.

In the online Application Form, applicants will be given the opportunity (if they choose to do so) to indicate whether they wish to be considered for a financial award to cover these travel and accommodation expenses. There are a limited number of bursaries available and the submission of an application should not be considered a guarantee that a bursary will be received.


Applications are made via the Glyndebourne website and can only be submitted through the online application form.

Applications open on 1 September 2019 and close at 8.00am GMT+1 on 21 October (midnight PST on 20 October 2019).

To be eligible, applicants must be no younger than 21 and no older than 32 on 7 March 2020. Proof of age will be required.

Only one application may be made per person.

Applications must be submitted in the English language (including biography and CVs)

Completed entry forms must be truthful and accurate. Glyndebourne may disqualify anyone who gives false or misleading information or breaches these Rules.

Glyndebourne reserves the right to refuse any application for any reason at its absolute discretion.


An administration fee of £75 (seventy five pounds sterling) is payable to Glyndebourne by all applicants at the time of application. This administration fee is non-refundable under any circumstances, even if the applicant’s initial application is unsuccessful.

If applicants are facing financial difficulty in meeting the cost of the application fee, they should contact Emily Murray at

Applications are made at the artist’s own expense and no costs will be reimbursed by Glyndebourne. Subject to production of valid receipts, singers who reach the Finals of the Competition on 7 March 2020 will be reimbursed with the cost of one economy return air/train fare from their home address to Glyndebourne and reimbursed with the cost of one room in bed and breakfast accommodation near to Glyndebourne for the period 3-7 March 2020 inclusive.

This provision is separate from any awards of travel or accommodation expenses to those qualifying for a bursary as described above.

Requirements for application

In order to be able to participate fully in the Competition, all applicants must prepare Semi-final and Final programmes of operatic arias from the following categories: Mozart, Rossini and French 19th Century from the following composers – Berlioz, Bizet, Gounod, Massenet, Offenbach, Saint-Saëns and A. Thomas. Arias must be in the original language in which they were written. No songs, oratorios or concert arias are admissible.

Glyndebourne reserves the right to make changes to programmes in consultation with the contestant following submission.

As part of their initial application, applicants must supply the following:

  • A professional biography (in English) and a short curriculum vitae or resume
  • A professional headshot photograph (minimum 50mm x 50mm at 300dpi)
  • A Semi-final programme with TWO operatic arias from TWO different categories.
  • A Final programme of THREE operatic arias from two or more categories. Only one aria may be repeated from the Semi-final.
  • A scanned copy of the photograph page of the applicant’s current passport
  • The non-refundable administration fee of £75 (seventy five pounds sterling)
  • Details of any specific access requirements
  • Names and email addresses of TWO referees. One of which should be from a singing teacher, conservatoire or other higher educational establishment. (Glyndebourne cannot accept two references from singing teachers of the applicant)
  • Video recordings of TWO operatic arias from two different categories: Mozart, Rossini and French 19th Century (Berlioz, Bizet, Gounod, Massenet, Offenbach, Saint-Saëns and A. Thomas).
  • Each aria must be submitted as a separate video file
  • Videos must be clearly labelled with the name of the applicant and date of recording
  • Arias must be in the original language in which they were written
  • Only live piano or orchestral accompaniment is acceptable
  • The video must be of excellent technical quality
  • The applicant’s face must be clearly visible throughout the recording
  • Video recordings must have been made during 2019
  • Staged operatic performances are not acceptable
  • A filmed concert with piano or orchestral accompaniment is acceptable

Glyndebourne shall not accept responsibility for applications that are not received by the closing date for any reason.

Glyndebourne is committed to protecting the privacy of all applicants. Glyndebourne will only use information about applicants lawfully, in accordance with its legal obligations under the Data Protection Act 2018 and other relevant legislation and regulations. All information submitted by applicants in connection with their applications will be held and dealt with by Glyndebourne in accordance with its Privacy Policy in force from time to time. A copy of that Privacy Policy is available at: By applying to enter the Competition applicants agree that any personal information provided by them may be held and used by Glyndebourne or its agents for the purposes of administering the Competition only.

UK broadcasters are researching diversity on their productions. This covers diversity characteristics you choose to tell the Competition organisers about and also how viewers might perceive diversity on screen. When submitting the online Application Form, you will be invited to provide, and may do so at your option, your diversity characteristics – gender, ethnicity, disability, age, gender identity and sexual orientation. Any such information that you supply will be held by Glyndebourne strictly in accordance with UK data protection law and its own Privacy Policy.

Preliminary Rounds

Dates for Preliminary Rounds

If their initial application is successful, applicants will be notified by email by Friday 8 November 2019. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by email subsequently. Successful applicants will be invited to a live audition in the Preliminary Rounds at their preferred location. In the online application form, applicants must specify their first and second choice location for the Preliminary Round.

The Preliminary Round auditions will take place in:

New York – Friday 6 December 2019
Vienna – Wednesday 11 December 2019
Berlin – Thursday 12 December 2019
Milan – Friday 13 December 2019
London – Monday 16 December 2019
Paris – Friday 20 December 2019
Cape Town – Wednesday 8 January 2020

Applicants are responsible for obtaining any necessary travel visas required for them to attend the Preliminary Rounds.

Applicants who are successful in the Preliminary Round and are awarded a place in the Semi-final will be notified by email by Friday 10 January 2020.

Details for Preliminary Rounds

Preliminary Rounds will be performed with piano accompaniment. An accompanist will be provided by Glyndebourne in each of the locations.

Preliminary Round performances will be in front of a panel of judges including representatives from Glyndebourne and the final jury.

Applicants will be required to bring THREE operatic arias from a minimum of two categories: Mozart, Rossini, French 19th Century (Berlioz, Bizet, Gounod, Massenet, Offenbach, Saint-Saëns and A. Thomas). Arias should be sung in the original language and applicants should expect to sing two arias to the panel. The applicant will be invited to choose the first aria and the panel will choose the second.

The Preliminary Rounds may be filmed and applicants may be required to participate in that filming and any associated interviews.


Applicants who reach the Semi-final will be required at Glyndebourne on Tuesday 3 March for rehearsals and on Wednesday 4 March 2020 for the live Semi-final.

The Semi-final will take place on the Glyndebourne stage with piano accompaniment. Pianists will be provided by Glyndebourne.

The Semi-final will take place in front of the full Competition jury.

The Semi-final will be open to the public. Applicants will be required to participate in any filming and associated interviews (and this shall apply to those qualifying for the Finals also).


Applicants who reach the Final will be required at Glyndebourne on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 March 2020 for rehearsals and on Saturday 7 March 2020 for the live Final.

The Final will take place on the Glyndebourne stage with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Final will take place in front of a public audience and filmed for broadcast by Sky Arts.

The prizewinners will be announced on the evening of 7 March, immediately after the conclusion of the Final.


First prize: £15,000 and the offer of a role in an opera staged by one of the companies represented on the Competition jury within five years.
Second prize: £10,000
Third prize: £7,500
The Ginette Theano Promising Talent prize: £5,000
Audience prize: £5,000

The payment of prize monies shall be subject to UK and any other applicable tax regulations.

Prize money shall be payable in Sterling by 7 April 2020 by electronic bank transfer to a recognised bank nominated by the successful winner.

In all stages of the competition, the jury will be assessing the applicant’s performance against the following criteria:

  • Vocal quality
  • Musicianship
  • Technical expertise
  • Communication and presence
  • Artistic personality

All decisions made by the organisers and members of the jury are made at their absolute discretion and are not subject to any right of appeal. No correspondence (either verbal or written) will be entered into regarding such decisions.

Glyndebourne reserves the right to amend these Rules at any time at its discretion.

These Rules shall be governed by English law and the courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any dispute concerning these Rules or the Competition.


Dame Janet Baker, Honorary President
Stephen Langridge, Artistic Director, Glyndebourne (Chair)
Steven Naylor, Director of Artistic Administration, Glyndebourne
Dame Felicity Lott
Sir Thomas Allen
Joan Matabosch, Artistic Director, Teatro Real de Madrid
Sumi Jo
Maria Mot, Associate Director, Vocal & Opera, Intermusica
Michel Franck, General Director, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

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