martin randall 2015

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Latest News

Joyce DiDonato launches Opera Rocks

25 November 2015

Joyce DiDonato has launched Opera Rocks, a free online newsletter for high school students.

The newsletter is funded by DiDonato herself, and she will regularly send videos, photos and messages to subscribers.

She said: 'I’ve noticed a fabulous trend from social media about young opera lovers: often times in high school, they will feel as if they are the only person on the planet who likes opera because they may be the only one at their school who (secretly!) has a passion for it. 

'Through social media, however, they can connect across cities, states, even countries. Many times a group of 15-20 of them have saved up and made the trip to their “first live opera”, and they meet at the stage door to complete their experience full-circle. 

'It’s been one of the most encouraging things I’ve seen in this business. I am simply giving back to them, letting them know they are not alone, and providing a platform for them to connect and share this wonderful, eye-opening world of opera.'

High school students can sign up for the newsletter here.

Opera Rocks

DiDonato Juilliard masterclass to be live streamed

25 November 2015

Joyce DiDonato
Joyce DiDonatoPari Dukovic

Joyce DiDonato's vocal masterclass at the Juilliard School on 10 December 2015 will be available to watch online.

The masterclass will take place from 4-6pm on the Juilliard's live streaming channel.

Four Juilliard students will participate: mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, baritone Theo Hoffman, soprano Christine Price and countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński. William Kelley and Michael Bieł will provide piano accompaniment.

Juilliard will present a second live streamed vocal arts master class with Fabio Luisi on 18 March 2016.

Live at Juilliard

Galina Averina wins Bampton Opera young singers' competition

19 November 2015

Galina Averina
Galina Averina

Russian soprano Galina Averina has been announced as the winner of the Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers' Competition 2015. She wins a prize of £1,500.

A Samling Artist 2015, Averina is currently studying with Dinah Harris at the Royal College of Music, supported by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and an Independent Opera Voice Scholarship. She won sixth prize and the audience prize in the 2015 Francisco Viñas International Contest, and junior prize at the 2013 Les Azuriales Opera International Singing Competition. 

Her programme for the final round of the competition (which took place 14 November in Oxford's Holywell Music Room) included Rachmaninov's 'How fair this place', 'Al destin, che la minaccia’ from Mozart's Mitridate, re di Ponto and 'Marfa's Aria’ from Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride (Rimsky-Korsakov).

The judging panel, comprising tenor Bonaventura Bottone, Andrew Parrott and Peter Robinson, said of Averina: 'Galina gave a winner’s performance on Saturday evening. She showed us technical ability in the Rachmaninov, with her approach to the final upper lying phrase sung with beauty and ease. Her characterisation throughout her programme constantly spoke to the audience […] she imbued her performance with charm and wit.'

Second prize went to Welsh soprano Céline Forrest, currently a young artist at the National Opera Studio. Forrest won the 2014 Richard Lewis Award and the Pavarotti Prize, and represented Wales in the 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

The biennial competition, which aims to identify the finest emerging young opera singers currently working in the UK, was launched in 2013 to celebrate Bampton Classical Opera's 20th birthday. The inaugural winner was Anna Starushkeyvch.

Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers' Competition

Glyndebourne appoints Sebastian Schwarz as general director

17 November 2015

Sebastian Schwarz
Sebastian Schwarz

Glyndebourne has appointed Sebastian F. Schwarz as general director. He will take up the new role in May 2016, becoming the opera company’s seventh general director.

Schwarz is currently deputy artistic director of Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, artistic director and co-founder of the Pietro Antonio Cesti International Voice Competition for Baroque Opera, and CEO and artistic director of the Vienna Chamber Opera (incorporated into Theater an der Wien in 2012).

He has previously worked as an assistant to the opera director at Staatsoper Hamburg, a language coach at Teatro La Fenice, an artists’ manager in Milan and Venice, and a member of the company management team at Wexford Festival Opera.

Schwarz said: ‘Glyndebourne stands for excellence in performance and it provides an unmistakably English way of experiencing some of the world’s best opera. It is with the greatest joy that I follow the call to this superb company to continue to share my passion and enthusiasm for this most complete of all performing art forms.’

Gus Christie, executive chairman of Glyndebourne, said: ‘Sebastian’s pedigree and background will bring a fresh perspective to Glyndebourne and I am confident that he will build on our rich and varied operatic history.’

Glyndebourne music director Robin Ticciati said: ‘I am extremely excited about what Sebastian Schwarz will bring to the future of Glyndebourne, especially his own personal artistic vision and his inspiring approach to what he believes opera can be in the 21st century.’

Schwarz succeeds David Pickard, the new director of the BBC Proms.


ACE grants ENO extra year of funding

16 November 2015

ENO chairman Dr Harry Brünjes
ENO chairman Dr Harry Brünjes

Arts Council England (ACE) is to extend funding for English National Opera (ENO) until 2018. The opera house will receive an extra £12.38m while remaining under special monitoring arrangements.

ACE noted that ENO had made good progress in improving its operations, but still has further work to do to ensure its future sustainability.

The funding body announced that ENO would not be admitted into its national portfolio of organisations for 2015-18 in February 2015, following a period of instability in which the company's chairman and executive director left within weeks of one another.

The decision to award an extra year of funding follows the company's recent appointments of Dr Harry Brünjes as chairman and Cressida Pollock as chief executive.

Although ENO remains without an artistic director (after the departure of John Berry in July 2015), the company's recent work has received a positive reaction. Its production of The Pirates of Penzance broke UK box office records, and it received two Olivier awards at the 2015 ceremony: director Richard Jones received the ‘outstanding achievement in opera’ award, while his production of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg was deemed ‘best new opera production’.

The company has also revealed plans to open up the Coliseum's foyer. The space will host a wine bar and cafe, which the company hopes will encourage more people to enter the building.

The ACE's statement reads:

'The Arts Council believes that the ENO is fully committed to achieving positive and sustainable changes to its operating model. A CEO has been appointed until 2018 to lead the company through substantial operational changes and the organisation has made good progress in restructuring the financial and operational management of the company. Progress has also been made in strengthening the organisation’s governance and leadership structure – a permanent chair has now been recruited and board membership is being refreshed.

'Given the progress made so far, the Arts Council has confirmed an additional year (2017-18) of funding for ENO of £12.38m. The funding will provide the organisation further time to implement the necessary changes to ensure that it has a sustainable and resilient business model capable over the long term of producing and presenting excellent opera to large audiences.'

ENO chairman Dr Harry Brünjes said of the news: 'We are very happy that Arts Council England have confirmed our third year of funding. We continue to work closely together to ensure the continued financial stability of ENO.

'We are working hard to meet the long-term challenge to ensure that ENO is able to continue to produce artistic work of the highest quality whilst remaining financially stable. We are very happy to have the continued support of ACE as we tackle these challenges over the months and years ahead.'

English National Opera

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