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

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Coverage of The Glyndebourne Opera Cup on Sky Arts will be presented by Chris Addison and Danielle de Niese, it is announced today. 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.