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The return of The Glyndebourne Opera Cup in 2020

Glyndebourne Announces the Return of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup in 2020 With A Renewed Commitment to Finding Diverse Singers of the Future

Glyndebourne Announces the Return of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup in 2020 with a Renewed Commitment to Finding Diverse Singers of the Future.

Glyndebourne’s major new international singing competition returns in 2020 with a renewed commitment to supporting diversity in opera. The Glyndebourne Opera Cup – the international competition for opera singers is designed to discover and spotlight the best young singers around the world, offering a top prize of £15,000 and a guaranteed role at a leading international opera house.  The final will once again be broadcast live on Sky Arts on 7 March 2020 and the series is produced by Factory Films.

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2020 – trailer

Stephen Langridge, Artistic Director of Glyndebourne, said‘The Glyndebourne Opera Cup seeks to find the most exciting young singers in opera.  There should be no barriers to the expression of talent, but we have to recognise that in reality there are, and Glyndebourne is committed to removing as many as possible in order to make the Opera Cup as inclusive as it can be.  We don’t claim to have all the answers, nor do we think that we can do this on our own; we’ll be working closely with others to help us recruit a diverse pool of singers. By celebrating and supporting excellent young artists, we aim to show that opera is available for everyone and hope to inspire young singers of all backgrounds to see their future in this fabulous art form. The goal for all of us must be for the opera world to become a genuinely diverse artistic working environment, both on and off stage, which can better reflect the complex society in which we live.

The inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup in 2018 was shortlisted for a Royal Television Society Award.  The winner, American mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, will make her Metropolitan Opera debut this season and three of the 2018 finalists will perform at Glyndebourne in 2019 and 2020.

Building on the success of 2018, and with the continued support of Sky Arts, the focus in 2020 is on attracting exciting singers from all backgrounds. To do this the competition will:

  • Visit twice as many international cities, with preliminary heats in London, Berlin, Paris, New York, Cape Town, Vienna and Milan 
  • Remove the economic barriers to entry with the offer of Sky Arts Bursaries to cover the costs of travel and accommodation to compete in the semi-final and final of the competition at Glyndebourne
  • Launch a major social media campaign to drive awareness of the competition among a broad pool of potential applicants with the help of ambassadors from across the classical music world

Through the work of its education department, Glyndebourne is already delivering initiatives that target some of the systemic reasons for a lack of diversity in classical music. These include the Glyndebourne Academy, which offers training and support to singers who face challenges in pursuing a career such as personal circumstances, a lack of career guidance, limited access to skills development or financial barriers.

Philip Edgar- Jones, Director of Sky Arts, said: ‘At Sky Arts we are passionate about broadening out participation in every art form and finding new talent from diverse backgrounds; that’s why we are proud to partner with Glyndebourne on their second Opera Cup to help unearth the opera stars of the future.’

Julie Heathcote, Factory Films Executive Producer, said: ‘Factory are delighted to be again producing the Glyndebourne Opera Cup for Sky Arts. It was an honour to be part of the inaugural competition in 2018, and we loved helping to create a series that would entertain both newcomers to opera and the most ardent opera lovers. In March 2020,  we’ll once again be broadcasting the finals live, bringing all the drama and excitement from Glyndebourne’s beautiful auditorium to Sky’s audience at home. We can’t wait!’

The competition jury features representatives from top international opera houses along with leading singers, including British opera legends Sir Thomas Allen and Dame Felicity Lott and the GRAMMY Award-winning South Korean soprano Sumi Jo. Dame Janet Baker will once again act as honorary president. The jury includes:

Stephen Langridge, Artistic Director of Glyndebourne
Steven Naylor, Director of Artistic Administration, Glyndebourne
Joan Matabosch, Artistic Director, Teatro Real de Madrid
Michel Franck, General Director, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées
Shirley Thomson, Director and Head of Vocal, Harrison Parrott
Sumi Jo, soprano
Sir Thomas Allen, baritone
Dame Felicity Lott, soprano

The competition focuses on selected composers or strands of the repertoire each time it is held. In 2020, singers will be invited to perform operatic arias by Mozart, Rossini and a selection of French 19th-century composers.

Applications for the Glyndebourne Opera Cup open on 1 September 2019. To be eligible, singers must be aged between 21-32 at the time of the final on 7 March 2020.

Image credits: Header, artwork by Shadric Toop | Samantha Hankey with Dame Janet Baker, photo by Richard Hubert Smith

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