We talk to artist Alex Echo about how he created the eye catching Glyndebourne Opera Cup trophy, which will be presented to the winner of our inaugural singing competition at the final on Saturday 24 March.
‘My memories of Glyndebourne are always of the gardens in the summer. Almost like an opera in their own right; a symphony of sounds, bees, butterflies and sheep. They reflect the beautiful voices on the stage,’ says artist Alex Echo, creator of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup trophy.
It is the bucolic landscape which has directly inspired the trophy which was commissioned over a year ago. ‘It was a real honour to be asked to create it. We worked on several sizes before we decided on this one – which will stand perfectly on a shelf or mantlepiece.’ says Echo.
The award, shaped like the Glyndebourne ‘G’, was cut from valchromat, a high density composite which was then prepped and primed ready for Echo to build colour and texture. Keen to reflect the informality of nature, Echo’s style is organic, letting colours drip and blend, mimicking blooms and blossoms. ‘This application also gives a sense of movement, like the wind across the lake.’ says Echo.
The paint was then sealed with a clear resin which has a dual purpose, not only protecting the painting, but also giving an almost liquid appearance. The reverse was finished with soft polished copper. ‘Copper was chosen as it will mature in a beautiful way, like the winner’s voice,’ he adds. Etched into the copper is Glyndebourne founder John Christie’s original ethos ‘Not the best we can do, but the best that can be done anywhere.’
Echo has created artwork professionally for 38 years and is no stranger to Glyndebourne. He first visited with his daughter in 2016 to see The Cunning Little Vixen, and will visit again this year to see Madama Butterfly.
A keen philanthropist, he created three paintings for Glyndebourne in 2017: Ariadne auf Naxos, Act Two, D Flat Major; Don Pasquale and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The paintings were then auctioned to raise funds for Glyndebourne’s New Generation Programme, an initiative which raises funds to invest in artist and audience development.
Echo has worked for various charities and institutions, raising money from sales of his works for a multitude of projects including work for the Wallace Collection in London, proceeds from which were used to rebuild an earthquake-destroyed school in southern China. Most recently he worked in cooperation with HRH Prince Charles and The Elephant Family charity in London which protects the Asian Elephant population, of which he says ‘I feel I have an obligation to be of service and to give back’.
How to see The Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2018
Tickets for the final have sold out, but tickets for the semi final are still available.
The competition will be televised in a dedicated TV series on Sky Arts, Glyndebourne’s official UK broadcast partner for this competition, presented by Chris Addison and Danielle de Niese:
Part 1 Thursday 22 March, 8.00pm-9.00pm
Part 2 – Semi-final Friday 23 March, 9.00pm-11.00pm
Part 3 – Live Final Saturday 24 March, 5.30pm–9pm