Stars of tomorrow
Despite the disruption to our 2020 schedule, Glyndebourne remains as dedicated as ever to nurturing talented artists.
We spoke to three singers who have benefited from training and mentoring at Glyndebourne.
Our Jerwood Young Artists (JYA) programme celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Through the Jerwood Young Artist Programme selected singers work with leading conductors, directors, choreographers, theatre specialists and vocal coaches to enhance their skills and experience.
Even though the 2020 Jerwood Young Artists programme could not go ahead as originally planned, we were delighted to invite a selection of current and former JYAs to perform in a special outdoor concert back in August.
Among the performers was Emma Kerr, a 2015 JYA. ‘Working at Glyndebourne as a Jerwood Artist gave me an unrivalled experience as a young singer’ says Emma. ‘To be working in a house of an international level, with weekly coaching from visiting and resident music and artistic staff, whilst performing small roles and covers, was invaluable in opening my eyes to the profession and preparing me for the expectations of a career in opera.’
Since being a JYA, Emma has appeared in our 2018 Tour production of La traviata, and both the indoor and outdoor staging of In the Market for Love this year.
Another of our former JYAs, John Findon, recently took part in an online event to explain how legacies left to Glyndebourne help support young talent. You can watch it here.
The impact of the JYA scheme can be seen in how many of its graduates have gone on to build hugely successful careers. One such singer is David Butt Phillip, who is one of Britain’s most acclaimed tenors working today. ‘Being a Glyndebourne JYA happened at a key time in my career’ says David. It was my very first engagement as a tenor, after previously having been in the Chorus as a baritone. The gamble Glyndebourne took on me that year enabled me to take that next step in my development.’
Like many JYAs, Glyndebourne continued to be an important part of his career, ‘Glyndebourne sponsored my place at the National Opera Studio, whilst also giving me the opportunity to understudy the role of Rodolfo [in La bohème] on the Glyndebourne Tour. I sang three performances, which were my first in a tenor role. So that year absolutely set me on my way to my current career.’
David will be back at Glyndebourne again next summer, playing Boris in Janáček’s tragedy Kát’a Kabanová.
‘I’m particularly excited about returning in 2021 in one of my most favourite operas’ says David, ‘especially after the heartbreak of the new production of Fidelio being cancelled this year, which I’d been greatly looking forward to’.
This support of emerging talent is something Glyndebourne has been renowned for, ever since our early days. Dame Felicity Lott is one of the artists who found early success on our stage, ‘My first role in the Glyndebourne Festival was as Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress in 1977. We had a wonderful production team and long rehearsal times which really made you feel part of the family – a tradition which has always continued at Glyndebourne and makes it such a unique place to work.’
Dame Felicity has never forgotten the support she received from Glyndebourne and has decided to leave a legacy to help future generations of singers, ‘I decided to leave a gift to Glyndebourne in my Will to help other singers to have these opportunities as I did. This feels more vital now than ever.’
Not only has Dame Felicity left a gift to Glyndebourne, she is also the ambassador of the John Christie Society – our living legacy programme. John Christie Society members are recognised in the Festival Programme Book and have the opportunity to become more involved with Glyndebourne.
We look forward to continuing to support exceptional talent in 2021, and all of the 2020 JYAs have been offered the opportunity to take up a deferred place in Festival 2021. Look out for them on stage next summer!
How can I help to support young talent?
Help to support artists whose income has been affected by cancelled performances, and secure the future of Glyndebourne.
Help ensure Glyndebourne’s future for generations to come and provide security for our future audiences and artists.
Image credits: Emma Kerr, Jerwood Young Artists performance, photo by James Bellorini | David Butt Philip, Hamlet Tour 2017, photo by Richard Hubert Smith | Dame Felicity Lott