Singers Masimba Ushe, Moloko Letsoalo, Jasmine Flicker and Carlos Felipe Cerchiaro have been announced as the four performers who will take part in Glyndebourne and Pegasus Opera Company’s mentoring programme for 2023.
This is the second year that Glyndebourne has partnered with Pegasus Opera on the Pegasus Opera Company Mentorship Programme, which offers aspiring and emerging artists of African and Asian heritage a bespoke programme of coaching and mentoring opportunities. It was set up in response to the underrepresentation of classical singers from diverse backgrounds on opera stages.
The four singers have been recruited by Pegasus and will receive mentoring from Glyndebourne as part of the partnership. They will be given opportunities to observe rehearsals and shadow established artists at the 2023 Glyndebourne Festival, as well as having the chance to perform for key artistic staff and receive feedback to aid their development.
They will also be introduced to other departments at Glyndebourne for insight into the full range of career opportunities in opera.
Additionally, representatives from Glyndebourne will 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, commented: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Pegasus Opera Company again this year and to be working with these four excellent young singers.
“They will each be offered lots of opportunities to experience life at Glyndebourne and learn from established artists and professionals and we hope that their time here will provide inspiration and encouragement as they move ahead in forging a career in opera.”
London-born soprano Jasmine Flicker became a member of Pegasus Opera’s Digital Opera Mentoring Programme Class of 2020 and sang in Pegasus Opera’s Virtual Legacy and Hope Concert 2020, celebrating Black History Month. A range of repertoire was performed including ‘Make Them Hear You’ from Ragtime (1996, Stephen Flaherty), ‘Va Pensiero’ (‘Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves’) from Nabucco (1842, Verdi) and a series of Caribbean music arrangements by Felix Cross MBE.
Flicker made her professional opera debut in April 2023 in Pegasus Opera’s double bill production of Ruth (1956, Berkeley) and The Six of Calais (1934, Shaw).
Moloko Letsoalo is a South African soprano. She has performed a range of repertoire throughout her studies including the role of Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (Women Are Like That, 1790, Mozart) and excerpts of Mimi in La bohème (The Bohemians, 1896, Puccini), Servilia in La clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus, 1791, Mozart), the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro, 1786, Mozart), Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (1787), Valencienne in The Merry Widow (1905, Lehár) and Manon in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut (1893).
She is in the early stages of her freelance career and recently performed in the opera Ruth with Pegasus Opera and covered the role of the Mother in the opera Blue (2019, Tesori) at the English National Opera in April and May 2023.
Colombian-Italian baritone Carlos Felipe Cerchiaro has sung as a soloist in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (1918) and Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose, 1911) with the Colombian National Opera. He has sung in the autumn/winter season at the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame Paris and performed operatic roles in Germany, Austria and France which include Vater in Hänsel und Gretel (1893) by Humperdinck, Monthabor in La fille du tambour-major (The Drum Major’s Daughter, 1879) by Offenbach, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute, 1791) by Mozart.
He recently performed in Il prigioniero (The Prisoner, 1949) by Dallapiccola with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano at the Barbican Centre.
Bass Masimba Ushe has performed various leading roles in the UK including: Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, Colline in La bohème, Alcade in Verdi’s La forza del destino (The Power of Fate, 1862), and Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring (1947, Benjamin Britten). He has also performed as part of the bass chorus with Grange Park Opera and National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company.
He is currently on tour with English Touring Opera, performing with the chorus in Rossini’s Il viaggo a Reims (The Journey to Reims, 1825) and Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia (1833), as well as singing the role of the Muddier in Noah Mosley’s opera for children The Wish Gatherer (2023).
Alison Buchanan, artistic director of Pegasus Opera Company, said: “I am thrilled to partner with Glyndebourne for the second year of our mentorship programme. What a tremendous opportunity for these talented young singers to watch, learn and hone skills as they embark on their operatic careers.”
The four singers selected for the Glyndebourne and Pegasus Opera Company Mentorship Programme are (left to right) Masimba Ushe, Moloko Letsoalo, Jasmine Flicker and Carlos Felipe Cerchiaro.