Royal Academy of Music appoints Brenda Hurley as Head of Opera

Brenda Hurley has been the Director of the prestigious International Opera
Studio (IOS) in Z¸rich since 2012. During her tenure, she has elevated the
IOS to become one of the leading young artist programmes, and singers,
including many Academy alumni, have gone on to perform in some of the
world’s finest opera houses.

Before her time with Zurich, Hurley coached singers for four seasons at the
Metropolitan Opera in New York, nine years at the Salzburg Festival, 15
seasons at Glyndebourne Festival (where she was awarded the Janni Strasser
Award for best repetitieur in 1995) and three seasons at English National
Opera. She has worked with a host of leading conductors including Sir Simon
Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Andrew Davis, Yannick NÈzet-Seguin and Valery

Hurley’s experience of coaching young singers is extensive. As a coach she
has worked with programmes including the Jette Parker Young Artists at the
Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne’s Jerwood Young Artist Programme, the
National Opera Studio in London, the Dutch National Opera Studio Amsterdam,
the New National Theatre Programme in Tokyo, the Sempeoper Dresden and the
Young Artist Programme at the Bolshoi Theatre.

Royal Academy Opera (RAO) functions as a small opera company and a bridge
to the profession, preparing exceptionally talented opera singers for
careers on the world’s most prestigious stages. Its highly focused study
environment includes one-to-one tuition, coaching, group classes and opera
scenes, as well as fully staged productions that are regularly attended by
representatives from opera companies, artist agencies and the national
press. Hurley’s first production with Royal Academy Opera will be announced
in May.

Our outstanding in-house teachers and coaches are joined by pre-eminent
visiting artists such as Sir Simon Keenlyside and Ermonela Jaho, heads of
young artist programmes such as David Gowland (Jette Parker Young Artists
Programme) and members of staff from Glyndebourne and Garsington. Recent
visiting alumni have included Dame Felicity Lott, Brindley Sherratt, Allan
Clayton, Iestyn Davies and Lucy Crowe.

Students benefit from acting and movement classes, language coaching and
classes in many other areas of professional development, from audition
preparation to CV and biography support, fight classes and a stress
management workshop.

The Academy’s Principal, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood said:

‘I am thrilled that Brenda Hurley is joining the Royal Academy of Music at
the new Head of Royal Academy Opera. She is hugely respected as one of the
finest opera coaches, leaders and mentors to talented young singers all
over the world.

‘In her capacity as a visionary Director of the IOS in Z¸rich, Brenda has
forged an extraordinarily rounded and supportive educational environment in
which young artists thrive. It’s been a joy to observe how ex-RAO students
have developed under her guidance in the Opernhaus Z¸rich, and the prospect
of her arrival as a colleague at the Academy is extremely exciting.

‘I look forward to seeing RAO continue to go from strength to strength with
Brenda at the helm.’

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