Sebastian F. Schwarz steps down as General Director of Glyndebourne

After two years with Glyndebourne, Sebastian F. Schwarz has decided to step down from his position as General Director.

After two years with Glyndebourne, Sebastian F. Schwarz has decided to step down from his position as General Director.

As an interim appointment, Gus Christie, Glyndebourne’s Executive Chairman, will assume the role of Acting General Director, working alongside an experienced executive team, until a successor is appointed.

Sebastian F. Schwarz said, “Glyndebourne is one of the finest and most celebrated opera houses in the world and to be its General Director for the last two years has been my honour and privilege. This incredibly dedicated company recognises that everyone’s contribution matters to reach the highest standards of excellence.

Photo: James Bellorini

“In my first encounter with a privately funded company I have come to appreciate Glyndebourne’s unique and complex business model on which its success and survival are dependent and for which the General Director is responsible, alongside providing the artistic strategy. While planning the seasons up to 2021, I have realised that I feel most at home in a position which allows me to concentrate more fully on creating and executing the artistic vision of an organisation. I will miss working with many wonderful colleagues and friends towards the common goal of creating transformative operatic experiences at Glyndebourne and wish the company all the best for their way forward.”

Gus Christie, Glyndebourne’s Executive Chairman, said, “After much careful reflection, Sebastian and I have agreed that he will step down from his position of General Director. Sebastian’s extraordinary passion for the art form and expertise in the singing voice will be showcased in March at The Glyndebourne Opera Cup, our new international singing competition, an initiative which he brought to the company earlier this year. As planned, Sebastian will continue to chair the jury for the competition.

“Sebastian’s impressive artistic legacy and his work on future Festival and Tour programmes will start to feature in next year’s Festival with Samuel Barber’s Vanessa and a new production of Massenet’s Cendrillon on tour next autumn. He leaves an exciting artistic programme for both Festival and Tour through to 2021.

“He is hugely respected and admired by everyone at Glyndebourne, including myself, and he has made an indelible mark on the organisation in his time with us. The fruits of his labours will be celebrated in upcoming years. We part as friends and esteemed colleagues and wish Sebastian every success with his future and look forward to working together to present a successful inaugural singing competition in March next year.”

About Sebastian F. Schwarz

Following David Pickard’s departure from the role of General Director of Glyndebourne in 2015, Sebastian delivered the 2016 and 2017 Glyndebourne seasons to great critical acclaim, including a new production of Hipermestra, directed by Graham Vick, and the world-premiere of Hamlet, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. Earlier this year, he announced the new international singing competition, The Glyndebourne Opera Cup, a major part of Glyndebourne’s future artistic activities. He has programmed the Glyndebourne Festival and Tour seasons up to 2021.

Before being appointed to Glyndebourne in 2015, Sebastian was Deputy Artistic Director of Theater an der Wien in Vienna, a role he occupied for nine seasons. He has held a variety of positions in opera companies, including at Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland and at Staatsoper Hamburg. Former Artistic Director and co-founder of the Pietro Antonio Cesti International Voice Competition for Baroque Opera in Innsbruck, Sebastian was CEO and Artistic Director of the Vienna Chamber Opera (incorporated into Theater an der Wien in 2012), for which he founded an international ensemble of singers who perform for both companies.

Born in 1974 in Germany, Sebastian F. Schwarz studied vocal performance and musicology in Berlin and vocal performance and theatre management in Venice. He is a sought-after voice specialist and a regular jury member for major international voice competitions. He is also a passionate linguist, speaking seven languages.

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