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Pay the Piper

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

Applications to audition for our 2022 Youth Opera: Pay the Piper are now closed. 

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


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 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.

Anyone taking part in Pay the Piper will have the chance to complete an Arts Award with Glyndebourne as part of their participant in the project. Glyndebourne is a Trinity Champion Centre for 2021 – 2022.

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.

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.

Photo by Alys Tomlinson

Photo by Sebastian Charlesworth

Conductor Johann Stuckenbruck

American/British conductor Johann Stuckenbruck is a regular conductor at Glyndebourne having assisted on festival productions of Il barbiere di Siviglia and Kát’a Kabanová, and GYO’s production of Belongings. Before the outbreak of Covid-19, he was due to conduct Die Zauberflöte on tour and assist on the festival production of Dialogues des Carmélites. Plans for the forthcoming season at Glyndebourne include conducting Don Pasquale on the tour, giving the world premiere of Pay the Piper, and returning to assist Music Director Robin Ticciati in Festival 2022.

In the concert hall, recent highlights have included conducting The Hallé, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté, Salomon Orchestra, and the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. He has regularly assisted Sir Mark Elder at The Hallé and was also second conductor with the orchestra on La Damnation de Faust at the Edinburgh Festival. Further afield, Johann has worked with Mathieu Herzog and the Blaricum Festival Orchestra, has conducted the Campos do Jordão Festival Orchestra at the Sala São Paulo, and has covered concerts for Rafael Payare with the San Diego Symphony.

Recipient of the ASRAM Prize, Johann graduated with distinction in Orchestral Conducting from the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Sian Edwards.

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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