Promising £15,000 (approximately $26,000) and a role in a production at a major opera house, Glyndebourne has announced a new international competition for opera singers to be held every two years. Distinguishing itself from competitions such as Cardiff Singer of the World, the Glyndebourne Opera Cup will be dedicated to one composer or type of repertoire each time that it runs. Contestants will thus have the benefit of being accompanied by an appropriate period orchestra, with the age limit and other eligibility considerations varying to reflect the specific demands of each iteration of the Cup.
The inaugural competition will focus on Mozart, with the age limit for entrants set at 28 and The Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment to accompany singers. Future Glyndebourne Opera Cups with a focus on composers such as Wagner or Strauss are likely to raise the age limit to reflect the maturity required for such repertoire.
“I’ve been on the judging panels of a number of singing competitions and have seen what works and what doesn’t,” said Glyndebourne’s general director Sebastian F Schwarz. “When I arrived at Glyndebourne, with its giant reputation for discovering exceptional talent, it seemed an incredible opportunity to design the perfect singing competition from scratch. Concentrating on one composer allows us to adapt the maximum age according to that composer’s repertoire and what it requires in vocal maturity. This will find the best new Mozart singer – just like in sports when in the 100 metre sprint competition only sprinters compete against one another, and not a colourful mix of rowers and shot-putters.”
The competition will be broadcast on Sky Arts and capture every stage of the competition, from preliminary rounds held in Philadelphia, London and Berlin through to the finals at Glyndebourne, which will take place before a live audience in March 2018.
Representatives of eight opera companies will sit on the jury panel, including Australian director Barrie Kosky, with the winner to appear at one of the houses within a five-year period. The houses represented include Komische Oper Berlin, Opera Philadelphia, Teatro Real de Madrid, Teatro La Fenice, and Bayerische Staatsoper Munich.
The new competition was unveiled alongside Glyndebourne’s 2018 season announcement, which includes a revival of Kosky’s acclaimed production of Handel’s Saul, a new production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, and a revival of David McVicar’s award-winning Giulio Cesare, which had its world premiere at Glyndebourne in 2005.
For more information on how to enter, visit the Glyndebourne website.