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Meet the Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2020 semi-finalists

Find out more about the singers who will be taking to the Glyndebourne stage to compete for the Opera Cup in March 2020.

The semi-finalists for the 2020 Glyndebourne Opera Cup have been announced. 

Glyndebourne’s international search for the next big opera star attracted over 200 entrants from 39 different countries. Following preliminary heats, 19 singers aged 22-31 have been invited to take part in the semi-final at Glyndebourne on 4 March.

They will compete for one of six places in the Opera Cup final on 7 March, which will once again be broadcast live on Sky Arts, presented by comedian and writer Chris Addison and international soprano Danielle de Niese.

The overall winner will receive £15,000 and the guarantee of a role within five years at one of the top opera houses represented by the competition jury.

Thirteen nationalities are represented among the semi-finalists, who have a variety of backgrounds and interests. British soprano Alexandra Lowe was born in Mallorca and used to busk on the streets of Blackpool to help fund her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, while Swedish soprano Johanna Wallroth trained as a ballet dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet School before deciding to focus on opera. American soprano Maya Kherani holds a BSE in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Canadian soprano Lauren Margison has also performed as part of an all female jazz/pop group called The Real Divas.

The semi-finalists are listed below. (Further auditions will take place in the coming weeks for a small number of contestants who qualified for the competition but were unable to attend one of the preliminary rounds, so one or two new names may be added to this list.) 

The 2020 semi-finalists

Evgenia Asanova

25, mezzo-soprano (Russia)
Evgenia studied Vocal Performance at the Pirogov Ryazan Musical College, St Petersburg, under L Yachmennikova. She then joined the Young Artist Programme at the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, where she debuted as Fyodor in Boris Godunov. Recently, she received first prize at the Georg Ots International Music Festival and made her debut as Carmen at the Korea National Opera in Seoul. In the 2019-20 season she joined Staatsoper Hannover as a soloist performing Hansel in Hänsel und Gretel and Bradamante in Alcina. In Summer 2020, Evgenia will debut at the Salzburg Festival as a Maidservant in Elektra. She will also collaborate with numerous conductors including Vladimir Spivakov, Yuri Bashmet and Tugan Sokhiev. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘Depuis hier… Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle?‘ from Roméo et Juliette and ‘Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio‘ from La clemenza di Tito.

Maria Chabounia

28, soprano (Belarus)
Maria graduated from the Belarusian State Academy of Music in 2016 and has since participated in numerous masterclasses in Italian repertoire, including the Accademia Rossiniana course. Last season, Maria performed Madama Cortese in Il viaggio a Reims at the Rossini Opera Festival. Recent engagements also include her debut at Malmö Opera as Gilda in Rigoletto, as Marfa in Tsar’s Bride at The Bolshoi Theater of Belarus and her Festspielhaus Baden-Baden debut with the title role in Katze Ivanka. Maria has also performed numerous roles at Hamburg Staatsoper including Eurydice in Teleman’s Orpheus, Clorinda in La Cenerentola and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘En proie à la tristesse…‘ from Le comte Ory and ‘Allons! Il le faut… Adieu, notre petite table‘ from Manon.

Federica Di Trapani

31, soprano (Italy)
Federica studied at the Vincenzo Bellini Conservatory of Palermo and was awarded first prize at the international vocal competition, Voci dal Mediterraneo in 2009. In 2014, her first season, she debuted in the role of Vagaus in Juditha Triumphans by Vivaldi and also performed Procris in Narciso. Federica’s debut in the Sala Principal (main hall) of Valencia Opera House came in October 2015, when she sang Musetta in La bohème. Her affinity for baroque was noticed by Fabio Biondi, under whom she sang the role of Flavia in Handel’s Silla directed by Alessandra Premoli. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘En proie à la tristesse‘ from Le comte Ory and ‘Ruhe Sanft, mein holdes Leben‘ from Zaide.

Valerie Eickhoff

23, mezzo-soprano (Germany)
Valerie studied at Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf and received support from the Yehudi Menuhin Society, taking part in masterclasses with Brigitte Fassbaender. Notable roles include Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Lisetta in Il mondo della luna, Angelina in La Cenerentola and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. In the 2018-19 season, Valerie joined the Niederrhein Opera Studio where she sang Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte and Fyodor in Boris Godunov, and was a finalist of the Neue Stimmen competition. This season, she will join the ensemble of Deutsche Oper am Rhein and perform Lola in Cavalleria rusticana, Mercédès in Carmen and Lucienne in Die tote Stadt. She will also debut at the Tiroler Festspiele as Stallmagd in Königskinder. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘Una voce poco fa‘ from Il barbiere di Siviglia and ‘Ah scostati!… Smanie implacabili‘ from Così fan tutte.

Eric Ferring

27, tenor (USA)
A graduate of Drake University, The Boston Conservatory and Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artist Program, Eric recently finished his second and final year in the ensemble of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Past performances at the Lyric include Lurcanio in Ariodante, Older Brother in Dead Man Walking, and Young Servant in Elektra, whilst covering Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. This year, Eric has anticipated debuts at North Carolina Opera, New Orleans Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Santa Fe Opera as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte. At the semi-final he will be performing ‘Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön‘ from Die Zauberflöte and ‘Ecco ridente in cielo‘ from Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Jessica Harper

29, soprano (Australia)
Jessica holds a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from the Australian National University. She has studied at the Accademia del Belcanto Rodolfo Celletti in Italy and the AIMS in Graz Summer School. Recently, she performed the title role in the world premiere of Miss Brill, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Casilda in The Gondoliers and Mrs Norris in the Australian premiere of Mansfield Park. Jessica was the recipient of the Dame Nellie Melba Scholarship with Melba Opera Trust in 2018, and won the Opera Foundation for Young Australians’ AIMS Graz and AIMS Sundell awards in 2019. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘E Susanna non vien!.. Dove sono‘ from Le nozze di Figaro and ‘Cielo! che diverrò?… Dal soggiorno degli estinti‘ from L’assedio di Corinto.

Maya Kherani

31, soprano (USA)
Praised for her ‘crystalline tone’ by Opera News, Maya has sung over 40 roles with companies such as the Houston Grand Opera, Opera Parallèle, Central City Opera, Opera San Jose, West Edge Opera, Opera Modesto, Beth Morrison Projects and Opera NEO. Upcoming engagements include Drusilla/Fortuna in L’incoronazione di Poppea at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Modesto, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera San Jose, as well as solo debuts with the Vancouver Symphony and Boston Baroque. Prior to her singing career, Maya graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘Guinse alfin il momento… Deh vieni, non tardar‘ from Le nozze di Figaro and ‘Ah! douce enfant‘ from Cendrillon.

Sungho Kim

29, tenor (South Korea)
Sungho studied at the Korea National University of Arts in Seoul and completed the Hochschule of Music Hanns Eisler’s Opera Master programme. He won the 37th Hans Gabor Belvedere International Singing Competition in 2018, was awarded second prize at the Concorso Tenor Salvatore Licitra in 2019 and came first in the Korea National Singing Competition. He is currently a member of the International Opera Studio at the Hamburg Staatsoper and looks forward to joining the soloist ensemble at Theater Dortmund in the upcoming 2020-21 season. At the semi-final he will be performing ‘Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön‘ from Die Zauberflöte and ‘Au mont Ida‘ from La belle Hélène.

Miriam Luisa Kutrowatz

22, soprano (Austria)
Miriam is currently studying with Edith Lienbacher at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. In her last season, she performed the roles of Dew Fairy, Sandman and Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Morgana in Alcina and the Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas. Miriam is a three-time prize winner at the 10th Cesti Competition for baroque opera, Innsbruck. In 2020, she made her debut at the Wiener Konzerthaus and the Philharmonie de Paris under Phillipe Jordan. She will also sing Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the Styriarte Festival Graz, under Andrés Orozco-Estrada. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben‘ from Zaide and ‘Ah! douce enfant‘ from Cendrillon.

Alexandra Lowe

28, soprano (UK)
Alexandra is currently a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio, studying with Yvonne Kenny. She previously completed her Artist Diploma in opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and her undergraduate and postgraduate study at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). Recent roles include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at Clonter Opera, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte at Nevill Holt Opera and cover Countess Almaviva and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro at The New Generation Festival. Other roles include Mrs Coyle in Owen Wingrave with British Youth Opera and Rose Maurrant, Theodora and Métella at RNCM. This season Alexandra will be joining the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘Elle a fui, la tourterelle‘ from Les contes d’Hoffmann and ‘Temerari!… Come scoglio‘ from Così fan tutte.

Lauren Margison

27, soprano (Canada)

Lauren is a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio and is the youngest finalist to appear in the prestigious Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Vocal Competition. A versatile soprano, she has performed extensively internationally and has won both the George London Competition and Ruby Mercer Award. Performance highlights include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with Highlands Opera Studio and in concert with the PRISMA Festival in Strauss’ Four Last Songs. This season, Lauren will be seen as Micaëla in Pacific Opera Victoria’s Carmen and the Sandman/Dew Fairy cover in Hansel and Gretel at the Canadian Opera Company. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘Ei parte… Per pietà‘ from Così fan tutte’ and ‘Que vois-ja là? Je ris de me voir si belle‘ (Jewel Song) from Faust.

Siphokazi Molteno

27, Mezzo-soprano (South Africa)
Siphokazi studied at Ulwazi High School in Mdantsane and furthered her studies at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She specialised in Music Education and Singing under the tutelage of Lionel van Zyl. She has performed with the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra during the Youth Concerto Festival and joined the South African College of Music Opera School where she is currently in her first year of a postgraduate diploma in Opera Performance, studying with Patrick Tikolo and Sarita Stern. In May 2019, Siphokazi made her debut with the Cape Town Opera as Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi and was also a finalist in the Belvedere International Singing Competition. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘O ma lyre immortelle‘ from Sapho and ‘Cruda sorte‘ from L’italiana in Algeri.

Timothy Murray

27, baritone (USA)

This season Timothy sings Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and then joins San Francisco Opera as a member of the Adler Fellowship Program. As a 2019 Merola Opera Program participant he performed the role of Paul in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s opera If I Were You and finished out the summer on the War Memorial Opera House stage singing the title role in a scene from Thomas’ Hamlet as part of the Merola Grand Finale. At the semi-final he will be performing ‘Hai già vinta la causa!… Vedrò mentr’io sospiro‘ from Le nozze di Figaro and ‘Ô vin, dissipe la tristesseHamlet.

John Matthew Myers

31, tenor (USA)
John was declared an ‘artist to watch’ by Opera News and has rapidly established himself as one of today’s exceptional young voices. Originally from southern California, John trained at the Manhattan School of Music and was a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts. He has collaborated with many companies, such as Wexford Festival Opera, Santa Fe Opera and LA Opera, and made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut in 2017 as Mao in John Adams’ Nixon in China, conducted by the composer. This season John joins the roster of the Metropolitan Opera, covering productions of Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier. At the semi-final he will be performing ‘Vedrommi intorno‘ from Idomeneo and ‘La fleur que tu m’avais jetée‘ from Carmen.

Edward Nelson

31, baritone (USA)

In the 2019-20 season Edward debuts at Vancouver Opera as Figaro in The Barber of Seville and at the Opera Theatre of St Louis as Dr Falke in Die Fledermaus. Recently, he made an acclaimed European debut at Norwegian National Opera as Pelléas in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, a role he later sang with Ópera de Oviedo and covered at the Glyndebourne Festival. As a graduate of the Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera, making over 70 main stage appearances, his roles included Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Bosun in Billy Budd and Moralès in Carmen. At the semi-final he will be performing ‘L’orage s’est calmé… Ô Nadir, tendre ami‘ from Les pêcheurs de perles and ‘Largo al factotum‘ from Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Gabriel Rollinson

27, bass-baritone (Germany/USA)

Gabriel studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich. He is currently continuing his studies at Theaterakademie August Everding. He has appeared in many concerts and festivals, such as the Eppaner Liedsommer, the Bodenseefestival, the Heidelberger Frühling Festival, and the George Enescu Festival. He has also worked with conductors Lothar Zagrosek, Clemens Schuldt, Otto Tausk and Marcus Bosch. This 2019-20 season Gabriel sang with the Münchner Rundfunk under Ivan Repušić in Verdi’s Attila and he will be performing at the Prinzregententheater in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Bottom and at Bregenzer Festspiele as Idreno in Armida. At the semi-final he will be performing ‘Eh consolatevi… Madamina, il catalogo è questo‘ from Don Giovanni and ‘Là del ciel nell’arcano profondo‘ from La Cenerentola.

Dominic Sedgwick

29, baritone (UK)

Dominic is a recent alumnus of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House and is a ‘Rising Star of the Enlightenment’ at the OAE for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. For ROH his roles have included Marullo in Rigoletto, Moralès and Dancaïre in Carmen, Novice’s Friend in Billy Budd, Kuligin in Katya Kabanova and the English Clerk in Death in Venice. Further engagements for the upcoming season include Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with the OAE, She Described it to Death at the ROH Linbury and his debut with The Grange Festival as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At the semi-final he will be performing ‘Come un’ape ne’ giorni d’aprile‘ and La CenerentolaHai già vinta la causa!… Vedrò mentr’io sospiro‘ from Le nozze di Figaro.

Olga Syniakova

31, mezzo-soprano (Ukraine)

Olga is a graduate of the Dnipropetrovsk Academy of Music in Ukraine, where she performed her debut role as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at the Dnipro Opera House. Olga received ‘Best Mezzo-Soprano’ for the 2018-19 season from Palau de les Arts in Valencia, where she performed Alise in Lucia di Lammermoor. In 2019 Olga was also seen as Anfinomo in Il ritorno d’Ulisse at The Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. She is an esteemed finalist of the International Belcanto Vincenzo Bellini competition and notably has performed in Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle at Musikfest Bremen. This season, Olga will be appearing at Maryland Lyric Opera as both La Frugola in Il tabarro and Zita in Gianni Schicchi. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio‘ from La clemenza di Tito and ‘Werther, Werther‘ (Air des lettres) from Werther.

Johanna Wallroth

26, soprano (Sweden)
Johanna is currently studying at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. She made her operatic debut as Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro at Ulriksdal Palace Theatre in 2013 and has since appeared in many roles. Notably, Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at Moscow’s Gnessin Academy, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Schlosstheater Schönbrunn. Following her win at the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition, she makes her debut this season at Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland as Frasquita in Carmen. She will also join Sakari Oramo for Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 at The Helsinki Music Centre. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘Giunse alfin il momento… Deh vieni, non tardar‘ from Le nozze di Figaro and ‘Je vais le voir‘ from Béatrice et Bénédict.

Meigui Zhang

26, soprano (China)
Meigui graduated with a Master of Music Performance from the Mannes School of Music in New York in 2018 and recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the role of Bloody Child in Macbeth and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro. She is in her second year as a Young Artist of the Met’s Lindemann Development Program. Other notable performances include Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress with the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Verbier Festival. Her upcoming engagements include L’enfant et les sortilèges in concert with The Philadelphia Orchestra and will perform Gilda in Rigoletto at The National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China. At the semi-final she will be performing ‘Guinse alfin il momento… Deh vieni, non tardar‘ from Le nozze di Figaro and ‘Je veux vivre‘ from Roméo et Juliette.

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