Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2018: semi-finalists announced

The singers will be competing for one of 10 places in the final on 24
March, which will be broadcast live on Sky Arts. The overall winner will
receive £15,000 and the guarantee of a role within five years at one of the
top opera houses represented on the competition jury.

Fourteen nationalities are represented among the semi-finalists, reflecting
the international scope of the competition. The countries represented are
Austria, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland,
Kosovo, Mexico, Poland, the UK, Ukraine, and the USA.

The backgrounds of the semi-finalists are as varied as their nationalities.
Among them are soprano Elbenita Kajtazi (26), who as a young girl was
forced to flee her home in war-torn Kosovo with her family, and live as a
refugee in Albania. She fell in love with opera after watching clips of
Maria Callas on YouTube. Soprano Francesca Chiejina (27), born in Lagos,
Nigeria, had first planned to be a doctor before she caught the singing
bug, as had her fellow semi-finalist, Canadian tenor Charles Sy (26).
American bass baritone Cody Quattlebaum (24) was a chef for six years
before he decided to commit to his musical career. Further details about
the contestants will be revealed in an hour-long Glyndebourne Opera Cup
documentary to be broadcast on Sky Arts on Thursday 22 March.

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup focuses on a different single composer or strand
of the repertoire. In 2018 the featured composer is Mozart and the
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will accompany the singers at the

The full list of semi-finalists is:

AdËle Charvet
24, mezzo-soprano (France)

Francesca Chiejina
27, soprano (USA)

Jorge Espino
26, baritone (Mexico)

Adriana Gonzalez
26, soprano (Guatemala)

Samantha Hankey
24, mezzo-soprano (USA)

Elbenita Kajtazi
26, soprano (Kosovo)

Dmytro Kalmuchyn
24, baritone (Ukraine)

Aurora Marthens
25, soprano (Finland)

Mirjam Mesak
27, soprano (Estonia)

Denis Milo
27, baritone (Germany)

Jake Muffett
24, baritone (UK)

Diana Newman
28, soprano (USA)

Gemma NÌ Bhriain
25, mezzo-soprano (Ireland)

Alexandra Nowakowski
25, soprano (USA/Poland)

ElÈonore Pancrazi
27, mezzo-soprano (France)

Emily Pogorelc
21, soprano (USA)

Cody Quattlebaum
24, bass-baritone (USA)

Anita Rosati
24, soprano (Austria)

Carl Rumstadt
25, baritone (Germany)

Jacquelyn Stucker 28, soprano (USA)

Jack Swanson
24, tenor (USA)

Charles Sy
26, tenor (Canada)

Hubert ZapiÛr
23, baritone (Poland)

A further heat will take place nearer the semi-final for a small number of
contestants who had qualified for the competition but for reasons of
illness were unable to attend one of the preliminary rounds, so it is
possible that one or two additional names will be added to the list at a
later date.

‘Glyndebourne enjoys a long held reputation for finding and nurturing new
talent,’ says Gus Christie, Glyndebourne’s Executive Chairman. ‘It is with
this in mind that I look forward to welcoming all of the competitors to the
inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup semi-final on 22 March.

‘These talented young singers will have the opportunity to perform on the
Glyndebourne stage, sing in front of a TV audience and ultimately have the
chance of winning a cash prize and even a major operatic role. I wish them
all the very best of luck and am delighted that Glyndebourne is able to
showcase this new generation of singers on our stage.’

Sebastian F. Schwarz, Chair of The Glyndebourne Opera Cup jury, says,
‘These young singers piqued our curiosity; they revealed engaging artistic
personalities and promising, beautiful instruments, and they demonstrated
superior technical and musical skills.’

‘I am delighted with the semi-finalists we have chosen,’ adds Schwarz.
‘They represent the best Mozart singing to be found in their age group (up
to 28) and reaffirm my hopes about the future of opera. I am very excited
to be hearing them all again in the semi-final at Glyndebourne and wish
each of them the very best.’

The international jury for The Glyndebourne Opera Cup includes
representatives from top international opera houses. Among them are Barrie
Kosky, Artistic Director of Komische Oper Berlin, Sophie de Lint, Artistic
Director of Zurich Opera and Director Designate of Dutch National Opera,
David Devan, who runs Opera Philadelphia, Fortunato Ortombina,
Sovrintendente of Teatro La Fenice in Venice, and Joan Matabosch, Artistic
Director of Teatro Real in Madrid.

Acting as the competition’s honorary president is Dame Janet Baker, whose
own early career was fostered by Glyndebourne. As well as presenting the
prizes, she will adjudicate at the live final.

The semi-finals and final of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup take place on
the 22 and 24 March respectively at Glyndebourne, Lewes, East Sussex,
BN8 5UU. For tickets please go to
. The final is currently sold out, please call 01273 815 000 for

The highlights of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup worldwide heats will air
on the 22 March, with the semi-final on the 23rd March and the live
final on the 24 March, on Sky Arts.

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