Glyndebourne is now recruiting young singers to pursue professional vocal training.
The Glyndebourne Academy is for singers with exceptional potential aged 16-26 whose circumstances, whether economic, social or geographic, have prevented them from following a traditional path towards a career. The scheme was devised in response to a seminar discussion about the lack of diversity amongst young opera singers in professional training at the 2008 conference, The Singers of Tomorrow, held at the National Opera Studio and attended by Glyndebourne’s Vocal Talent Consultant, Mary King.
Following the event, Mary and Glyndebourne’s education team sought to pinpoint the reasons for this lack of diversity and design a programme which might help. Among the contributing factors identified were the patchiness of provision of music education in schools, a decline in school singing outside the curriculum, cuts to local music services making subsidy for individual singing lessons harder to come by and the intensity of competition for conservatoire places.
Mary King, Artistic Director of Glyndebourne Academy, said: “Operatic voices don’t spring up ready-made. If you go to a fine school with a great music department and your interest is awakened and recognised early, then all can be well. But if not, and you don’t discover your potential until the age of 15 or 16, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. With no access to good musical education and advice, it is difficult for a late starter to really compete at conservatoire entrance-stage. We wondered; could we identify a small group of exceptionally talented singers who had fallen through the gaps and take them through a process that would make a difference?”
A pilot run of the programme in 2012 provided a select number of young singers, several of whom were entirely new to opera, with intensive instruction in operatic vocal technique and performance. More than half of participants have moved on to further training.
Glyndebourne Academy is just one example of Glyndebourne’s work to support and nurture new talent. The opera house has recently appointed a new Young Composer in Residence and its Glyndebourne Youth Opera scheme continues to provide young people living in the south east with opportunities to learn about opera and develop their performing abilities.
The deadline for applications to Glyndebourne Academy is Monday 16 February 2015. For more details on applications please write to Glyndebourne@MySingingLessons.co.uk