Major new international singing competition launched by Glyndebourne

The eight-strong panel of judges includes representatives from top
international opera houses. Among them are Barrie Kosky, Artistic Director
of Komische Oper Berlin, Sophie de Lint, Opera Director of Zurich Opera and
Director designate of Dutch National Opera, David Devan, who runs Opera
Philadelphia, and Fortunato Ortombina, Artistic Director of Teatro La
Fenice in Venice.

Acting as honorary president will be Dame Janet Baker, whose own early
career was fostered by Glyndebourne.

Sky Arts, Glyndebourne’s official UK broadcast partner, will bring the
competition to a wider audience with a dedicated TV series. Following each
stage of the competition, the series will feature preliminary rounds in a
number of international cities, culminating in the finals at Glyndebourne,
and will allow audiences to learn more about the individual competitors

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup will be unique to other competitions of its kind
in a number of ways. Firstly, alongside prize money, the overall winner is
guaranteed a role at one of the opera houses represented on the jury within
five years of their victory. The time frame is designed to ensure that a
suitable role for the winner can be found and reflects the long planning
times in opera.

In addition, the biennial competition will focus on a different single
composer or strand of the repertoire each time it is held. This is in order
to cater for the various specialisms within operatic training, and to
ensure competitors can be accompanied by an orchestra with instruments
appropriate for the period. Eligibility criteria, including age limit, will
vary to reflect the chosen theme.

The inaugural competition, culminating in March 2018, will require singers
to focus on Mozart, accepting entrants to an upper age limit of 28.
Contestants will be accompanied by the Orchestra of the Age of

The competition has been devised by Glyndebourne’s General Director,
Sebastian F. Schwarz, who will chair the judging panel. Glyndebourne
already has an international reputation for discovering and nurturing new
talent. This includes Glyndebourne Chorus members who have gone on to fame,
such as Sarah Connolly and Thomas Allen, as well as stars, such as Kiri Te
Kanawa and Luciano Pavarotti, who were given a place in the spotlight at
early stages in their career.

Sebastian F. Schwarz, said: “I’ve been on the judging panels of a number of
singing competitions and have seen what works and what doesn’t. 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. To me this means offering maximum
benefit to those who enter. This is reflected in the jury which comprises
esteemed colleagues representing houses that, like Glyndebourne, have a lot
to offer competitors as they seek to develop careers. Our ambition is to
establish The Glyndebourne Opera Cup as among the premiere competitions of
its kind and we are delighted to be partnering with Sky Arts to bring this
to a wider audience.”

Dame Janet Baker, also commenting on the competition, said: “My own career
began at Glyndebourne so I’m well aware just how much the company has to
offer to singers as they seek to establish themselves and develop as
artists. This new competition is thoroughly in keeping with the strong
commitment to nurturing singers that I observed and benefitted from during
my time at Glyndebourne so I was delighted to be invited to act as honorary

Sky Arts Director, Phil Edgar-Jones, says: “Sky Arts has had a long
association with Glyndebourne over the years and, as opera enthusiasts, we
are always keen to break new ground and seek out new audiences for this
unique art form. So, when Sebastian brought us his idea for a partnership
with Glyndebourne on its new opera singing competition his vision and
infectious enthusiasm were impossible to resist. We’re sure it’ll hit the
right note with our audience.”

The international jury for The Glyndebourne Opera Cup is:

  • Sebastian F. Schwarz, General Director, Glyndebourne (Chair)

  • Barrie Kosky, Artistic Director, Komische Oper Berlin

  • David Devan, General Director and President, Opera Philadelphia

  • Joan Matabosch, Artistic Director, Teatro Real de Madrid

  • Sophie de Lint, Artistic Director, Zurich Opera and Director
    designate of Dutch National Opera

  • Fortunato Ortombina, Artistic Director, Teatro La Fenice, Venice

  • PÂl Christian Moe, Casting Consultant for Bayerische Staatsoper
    Munich and Glyndebourne

  • Maria Mot, Associate Director, Vocal & Opera, Intermusica

Applications for the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup open later this year,
with preliminary rounds taking place in January 2018 in Philadelphia,
London and Berlin. The final stages of the competition take place at
Glyndebourne in March 2018.

Full details, including information on the application process, will be
released this summer.