The Glyndebourne Opera Cup, a major international competition that aims to discover the world’s best young opera singers, launched in 2018 and will be returning in early 2020.

The competition is open to singers of any nationality, resident anywhere in the world and is intended for those in the early stages of their professional career who are ready to perform on the opera stage. Entrants must be aged between 21 and 32 on the date of the Opera Cup final on 7 March 2020. Applications are open now and close at 8am on 21 October. Singers will be invited to perform operatic arias by Mozart, Rossini and a selection of French 19th-century composers.

According to Glyndebourne, the competition’s focus for 2020 is diversity, with the aim of attracting exciting new singers from all backgrounds. To achieve this, the company will visit twice as many international cities as in the 2018 competition, with preliminary heats in London, Berlin, Paris, New York, Cape Town, Vienna and Milan. It will also remove economic barriers to entry with the offer of Sky Arts Bursaries to cover the costs of travel and accommodation to compete in the semi-final and final of the competition at Glyndebourne.

Stephen Langridge, artistic director of Glyndebourne, commented: “The Glyndebourne Opera Cup seeks to find the most exciting young singers in opera. There should be no barriers to the expression of talent, but we have to recognise that in reality there are, and Glyndebourne is committed to removing as many as possible in order to make the Opera Cup as inclusive as it can be. We don’t claim to have all the answers, nor do we think that we can do this on our own; we’ll be working closely with others to help us recruit a diverse pool of singers.

“By celebrating and supporting excellent young artists, we aim to show that opera is available for everyone and hope to inspire young singers of all backgrounds to see their future in this fabulous artform. The goal for all of us must be for the opera world to become a genuinely diverse artistic working environment, both on and off stage, which can better reflect the complex society in which we live.”

The total prize value is £42,500, with a first prize of £15,000 and the offer of a role in an opera staged by one of the companies represented on the competition jury within five years. Second and third runners up will receive £10,000 and £7,500 respectively, while there are awards of £5,000 each for the Ginette Theano Promising Talent and the Audience prizes.

The jury features representatives from top international opera houses, along with leading singers, including British opera legends Sir Thomas Allen and Dame Felicity Lott and the Grammy Award-winning South Korean soprano Sumi Jo. Dame Janet Baker will once again act as honorary president.

The semi-final will take place on 4 March 2020, with up to 20 ambitious young singers going head-to-head on Glyndebourne’s main stage. Only six of these performers will make it through to the final, which will be on 7 March 2020. Tickets are available for both events and the final will also be broadcast live on Sky Arts.

Click here to find out how to apply for the competition.



Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2018 winner Samantha Hankey with Dame Janet Baker (Richard Hubert Smith).