Glyndebourne has announced that it is supporting the Pegasus Opera Mentoring Programme, which offers aspiring and emerging artists of African and Asian heritage a bespoke programme of coaching and mentoring opportunities.
Glyndebourne will invite four of the next cohort of participants to observe rehearsals and shadow established artists at the 2022 Glyndebourne Festival, as well as offering them opportunities to perform for key artistic staff and receive feedback to aid their development.
Representatives from Glyndebourne will also attend Pegasus Opera auditions and showcases to help Glyndebourne spot emerging talent who can be encouraged to audition for the Glyndebourne Chorus, a proven launchpad for a professional career in opera.
Stephen Langridge, artistic director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘Glyndebourne is committed to creating a fully inclusive and diverse workplace, both on and off stage, but while talent is everywhere, opportunity is not, so we are delighted to be working with Pegasus Opera, which has a long and impressive track record in creating opportunities for artists from a wide range of backgrounds. Their expertise in recruiting, auditioning, identifying and mentoring emerging diverse talent can be of huge help to us as we work to ensure that our stage is truly representative of the society in which we live.’
Alison Buchanan, artistic director of Pegasus Opera Company, said: ‘I owe so much to Glyndebourne; my first professional audition at the age of 15 was for the 1986 production of Porgy and Bess. At that time I was the youngest person ever hired for the adult chorus. The production shaped the course of my life. It was also the place where Pegasus Opera was born; our founder Lloyd Newton, frustrated with the lack of opportunity for diverse singers after Porgy, decided to create a company that promoted ‘harmony in diversity’. Now that I am the artistic director of Pegasus it is fitting that Glyndebourne is the first company to partner with us in shaping the lives of young singers who just need an opportunity. We are thrilled and proud to announce this amazing partnership and look forward to seeing our mentees go from strength to strength.’
The Pegasus Opera Mentoring Programme was set up in response to the underrepresentation of classical singers from diverse backgrounds on opera stages. A pilot version in 2020 was moved online due to lockdown and worked with 16 singers, many of whom went on to secure professional work.
Pegasus will be recruiting for Pegasus/Glyndebourne Partnership 21/22 Opera Mentees in December 2021. For more information visit www.pegasusoperacompany.org
ABOVE: Alison Buchanan and Stephen Langridge