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Glyndebourne Youth Opera Performance Projects

We are committed to enabling local young people to access unique world-class operatic experiences, with exceptional performance opportunities at the very heart of our programme.

Pay the Piper

We are pleased to announce that applications to audition for our 2022 Youth Opera: Pay the Piper are now open. If you are aged between 9 – 19 and live within 25 miles of Glyndebourne you are eligible to enter. If you had previously signed up for this opportunity in 2020, you will need to sign up again for the new audition slots. 

The rehearsal schedule is available below. Please note that the schedule is subject to change depending on Covid guidelines.


Application deadline:
Friday 04 June 

Audition dates:
Sunday 20 June, 10:00am – 5:00pm: Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham
Saturday 26 June, 1:30pm – 7:00pm – Denton Social Centre, Newhaven
Sunday 27 June, 10:00am – 5:00pm – Battle Memorial Hall

These auditions will be face to face, held in small COVID safe groups. They will be workshop style, led by Youth Opera director Sinéad O’Neill and conductor Johann Stuckenbruck. You do not need to prepare anything beforehand but will be asked to sing briefly on your own with support from our friendly team. Each audition slot will be one hour, with five sessions on each day. Within the application form, you will have the chance to specify your availability for each date. Once we have reached the application deadline, we will be in touch to let you know your audition slot. 

GYO performance projects have rightly earned a reputation for excellence and places are in high demand. Performance companies drawn from GYO1 and GYO2 regularly get the chance to tack challenging, exciting (and often new) repertoire under the expert tutelage of our Directors and Music Directors. Auditions enable us to maintain this standard and, to be as fair as possible, places will always be allocated at audition on the basis of aptitude and suitability for the role.

Glyndebourne promotes equality, diversity and inclusion and actively encourages young people from all backgrounds to apply, including ethnically diverse applicants and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds who are currently under-represented in our sector.

“I really enjoyed this audition, it just felt like a really fun, energetic workshop!” – Belongings auditionee

“A unique, interesting and compelling audition that I really enjoyed and felt at ease in.” – Agreed auditionee


We all know the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin – or at least we think we do. When the people of Hamelin try to piece together what really happened, their memories collide and the story we all know is challenged. Who was the Piper? Why was the payment refused? What price could possibly have been so high that it was worth the risk of losing all of the town’s children? Is memory ever reliable?  Whose story do we trust?

Pay the Piper is based on the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin and is a collaborative piece written by our four Balancing the Score composers: Anna Appleby, Ninfea Crutwell-Reade, Cecilia Livingston and Ailie Robertson, with a libretto by Hazel Gould, directed by Sinéad O’Neill and designed by Joanna Parker. Successful auditionees will perform as a chorus in the show, alongside professional singers and Psappha (contemporary classical music ensemble) to bring the show to life, conducted by Johann Stuckenbruck and Assistant Conductor Ashley Beauchamp.  Working with top opera professionals, rehearsals begin this summer and will include stagecraft, choreography and of course singing, to make sure they are ready for the performance of a lifetime.

Creative Team

Balancing the Score Composers

Ninfea Crutwell-Reade, Anna Appleby, Cecilia LivingstonAilie Robertson.

“Working on Pay the Piper has been a delightful journey. Glyndebourne has a unique history of operas for and with young performers and audiences: richly complex works that appeal to both the kid and the grown up in all of us. It’s been fascinating to create a new opera with this broad appeal. With four composers working together, it’s an unusually collaborative project – even for opera! – and that collaborative spirit runs right through the workshops we’ve had so far with the young performers in the project. These young singers bring so much energy and they absorb new music and ideas so quickly and enthusiastically. Nothing makes my composer-heart happier than hearing people humming my melodies as they are heading home at the end of the day!” – Cecilia Livingston

“It has been a privilege to write for GYO performers who put a lot of passion and commitment into everything they do. I am excited by the potential this production has for trailblazing a fresh kind of narrative in opera as it weaves together different points of view and different sound-worlds” – Anna Appleby

The composers full biographies and examples of work are available on our Balancing the Score page.

Photo by James Bellorini

Director Sinéad O’Neill

Irish director Sinéad O’Neill loves to spend her days in a rehearsal room with people singing. Her work is driven by her passion for the expressive capabilities of the human body and voice. Sinéad is delighted to be returning to Glyndebourne for Pay the Piper, having previously directed The Opera Cup (2018 and 2020), the 50th Anniversary Tour Concert, and revivals of Il barbiere of Siviglia. Her independent directing work focuses on collaborating with composers to create new and innovative works of music theatre such as The Raven, And London Burned, The Barrington HippoThe Albatross, and King Oswald and the Raven (forthcoming), variously produced in collaboration with Tête-à-tête, Grimeborn, Temple Music Foundation, Cambridge Science Festival and Peterborough Cathedral. Sinéad has a particular interest in talent development and pedagogy, and is proud of her ongoing relationship with RIAM, the conservatoire based at Trinity College, Dublin.

Librettist Hazel Gould

Hazel Gould is a writer, director, and workshop leader who specialises in the creation of new opera. Core to Hazel’s practice is her belief that art has the power to change and enhance lives.

As a librettist and lyricist, Hazel’s work has been performed at ENO, The Royal Albert Hall, Gothenburg Opera, Streetwise Opera, Garsington Opera, W11 Opera, Wonderful Beast, The OAE, Sinfonia Viva, Philharmonia Orchestra and The Sixteen, amongst others. Both We are Shadows (Comp. John Barber, Spitalfields Festival) and Seven Seeds (Comp. John Barber, Tri-borough music hub), received the Royal Philharmonic Society award for learning and participation.

As well as Pay the Piper, in 2021/22 Hazel has works scheduled to be premiered by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Dartington Festival and Gothenburg Opera.

Stay in touch

If you would like to receive further details of GYO workshops and performance projects you can join the GYO mailing list and receive updates throughout the year.


GYO 1: Ages 9-13
GYO 2: Ages 14-19
For any questions regarding Glyndebourne Youth Opera please contact us any time.

E: takepart@glyndebourne.com
T: 01273 815 023

Glyndebourne’s Learning & Engagement programme is made possible thanks to Arts Council England and generous donations through Glyndebourne’s New Generation Programme.

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