When Glyndebourne Opera House was rebuilt and enlarged in the early 1990s by architect, Sir Michael Hopkins RA, Sir George Christie CH DL (1934-2014), then Chairman of Glydebourne, was keen to continue the process of improvement in order to maintain Glyndebourne’s reputation as one of the leading operatic venues in the country.
Jerwood Foundation made a £1 million donation, then the largest single donation ever received by Glyndebourne, to create a new rehearsal and practice stage. Adjoining the opera house, the Jerwood Studio has exactly the same dimensions as the main stage, allowing singers to experience almost like-for-like performance conditions. Conceived as part of Glyndebourne’s enlightened policy of promoting exceptional young talent, the Jerwood Studio opened in 2001.
In May, in response to the Coronavirus crisis, Glyndebourne was forced to cancel its 2020 Festival. "However, instead of moping about what we couldn’t do,” said Eric Gautron, the technical director, “we began to ask: OK, what can we do? why not hold the opera outdoors? Performances for In the Market for Love, an English adaptation of Offenbach’s one-act comedy Mesdames de la Halle, will take place in the gardens to a well-spaced audience of 250 from 12-28 August.
The new production was rehearsed in the Jerwood Studio which was marked up with tesselated triangles so that singers could be placed the requisite 3 metres apart. As Managing Director, Sarah Hopwood explains. "It is an example of what can be done in these dire times with will and creativity, it surely makes the spirit sing."
Jerwood Studio. Photo: Mike Hoban
Jerwood Arts continues to support Glyndebourne’s Jewood Young Artists’ Programme which was introduced in 2005 as the Jerwood Chorus Development Scheme and is a central tenet of Glyndebourne's work to support the next generation of opera talent.
Since 2010, the focus of this development programme has been on nurturing four or five exceptionally talented singers from the Glyndebourne Chorus selected each year as Jerwood Young Artists. Not only are they offered opportunities to work with leading conductors, directors and choreographers, but their skills and experience are enhanced through receiving a personalised programme of extra vocal and language coaching, stagecraft training and additional recital and performance opportunities at Glyndebourne and the Brighton Festival.
Thirty nine singers have been through the programme to date, including many now familiar faces in the world of opera including David Butt Philip, Duncan Rock, Marta Fontanais-Simmons, Stuart Jackson and Anthony Gregory. Sadly the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that it hasn't been possible to fully deliver the 2020 programme, but it will be back in 2021. The 2020 Jerwood Young Artists are: Madison Nonoa-Horsefield, Edward Fardini, Richard Lewis and Jack Sandison.
"The Glyndebourne Jerwood Young Artist Programme gave me, without doubt, my most musically enjoyable, rewarding and educative summer yet. It was an opportunity that most training cannot give you. Music colleges get you so far, but this scheme is what can make a career."
- James Newby, Jerwood Young Artist, 2017
James Newby as Marcellus, Allan Clayton as Hamlet and Jacques Imbrailo as Horatio (L-R) in the Glyndebourne Festival World Premiere production of Hamlet; In the Market for Love in rehearsal in the Jerwood Studio: Michael Wallace as Madame Mangetout and Allan Clayton as Raflafla (L-R); Michael Wallace as Madame Mangetout; Michael Wallace as Madame Mangetout, Matthew Rose as the Police Inspector, Danielle de Niese as Ciboulette, Allan Clayton as Raflafla and Nicky Spence as Madame Beurrefondu (L-R). Photos: Richard Hubert Smith © Glyndebourne Productions Ltd.
Rinaldo in rehearsal in Jerwood Studio, Glyndebourne Tour, 2019. © Glyndebourne Productions Ltd. Photo: James Bellorini