Covent Garden squeezes one half-Brit onto its singer training scheme

Covent Garden squeezes one half-Brit onto its singer training scheme


norman lebrecht

January 16, 2018

You would have thought that, with Brexit looming, they would promote native talent. But no…

Here’s today’s press release:

The Royal Opera has announced the latest singers to join its professional development programme, the Jette Parker Young Artists.

Five new singers will join the Company in September 2018. They were chosen from more than 440 applicants from 59 countries and will join six others who continue on the Programme into their second year next Season. The new artists for 2018/19 are:

Chilean soprano Yaritza Véliz

Chinese mezzo-soprano Hongni Wu

American countertenor Patrick Terry

Argentinean baritone German E. Alcántara

Scottish-Iranian bass-baritone Michael Mofidian (pictured)

The Jette Parker Young Artist programme is designed to support the artistic development of talented singers at the beginning of their career. Young Artists are employed as salaried members of The Royal Opera over a two-year period, during which time they are immersed in the life of the Royal Opera House to help them form their own artistic identity and give them guidance on their trajectory through the business.


  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    The Garden is one of the few world opera houses and so the best singers have to be employed. Expecting British only will lower standards overall if there are better singers elsewhere -sorry.

    • Brad Mitchell says:

      I agree Elizabeth. I think it absurb to promote the idea that due to Brexit (or anything else) UK participants on the JP scheme should be given places based on their nationality.

      But hey, maybe there are those who would push this further and suggest that say 20% of casts in CG operas should be British citizens…!

      • Sanity says:

        This is implicit in Arts Council funding, anyway. ACE will expect a certain proportion of those artists used in a season to be British, or British-trained, or UK resident. A few years back, ROH had its grant cut because the ACE found salaries/fees too high. Overseas singers are always more expensive as their accommodation is factored into their fee and expenses.

        • Elizabeth Owen says:

          Really who said? i used to work there and it was never stated.

          • Sanity says:

            It’s always been the case – and I worked there too. It’s not something explicitly stated; but it comes into the consideration of the ACE before it awards it’s grant. It was a lot easier to pull off when they maintained a permanent company (most of whom were British); but you will notice that there is always a fairly consistent proportion of performers who are British at the Garden.

    • psq says:

      The best way to promote British talents that are filling these Isles to the brim is to bar all non-Britishers from applying in the first place. Ditto the casting of all ROH performances and elsewhere.

      Hate to bring up, but … what about football managers and on the field?

      • Vienna calling says:

        PSQ, thanks for making me laugh this morning. Have you ever watched the English football team play? This is how bad the ROH would look compared with other top international opera houses.

  • Adrienne says:

    “You would have thought that, with Brexit looming, they would promote native talent.”

    Really? And how does non-EU talent fit in with this theory?

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Yaritza Velíz, the Chilean soprano, is excellent. I’ve done two productions with her and she’s someone to watch out for.

  • Rupert Christiansen says:

    Among this year’s new crop, Brit Dominic Sedgwick is very promising

  • HugoPreuss says:

    Interesting idea. I wonder what will happen to the world of music if Germany employs only Germans in its opera houses and professional orchestras… But the ROH is still kowtowing to the EU by promoting singers from Chile, China, the US and Argentine 😉