Covent Garden names next-gen singers

Covent Garden names next-gen singers


norman lebrecht

July 01, 2021

The Royal Opera House has added soprano April Koyejo-Audiger (pic), tenors Thando Mjandana, Alan Pingarrón and baritone Chuma Sijeqa to its Jette Parker Young Artists programme.

They join soprano Alexandra Lowe, mezzo-sopranos Kseniia Nikolaieva and Stephanie Wake-Edwards, tenors Andrés Presno and Egor Zhuravskii, bass Blaise Malaba, stage director Isabelle Kettle, opera répétiteur Michael Sikich, opera conductor and répétiteur Michael Papadopoulos and ballet conductor Edo Frenkel.


  • Doubtful says:

    More wokeism. Would anyone be hiring these unpronouceables without the BLM-craze?

    • ICP says:

      Knee-jerk reaction?

    • better moderation please says:

      They are all talented singers. The fact you can’t pronounce their names is on you, not them. It is racist of you to think that they can’t possibly be talented enough to get the positions in their own right, and that they must have only got them because of their ethnicities.

      • Doubtful says:

        “Better moderation” = “Better Censorship.
        Nothing could be more racist than suddenly covering a bunch of “black and brown” singers in honors and quota-filling opportunities. It’s well within reason to suspect that, indeed, they have received the positions because of their ethnicities.
        What other possible conclusion could one draw?

        Less calls for censorship, please. We all know what “moderation” means.

    • Bill says:

      Would anyone be posting these racist comments if they had to use their real name ?

      • Y says:

        Would the Left allow them to keep their their lives and their jobs in they did?

        • Saxon says:

          The hard left in the recent by-election in Yorkshire ran an explicitly anti-woke campaign (and implicitly anti-semitic). The marxist left really aren’t particularly woke.

    • Give a Musician a Chance says:

      That depends on whether they can sing well. They probably can, to have been accepted onto this scheme.

      Did you listen to them, or was this ugly comment the first and last thought that came into your head?

      You could learn to pronounce their names if you were willing to try. But you’re probably not. You just see the name and dismiss the entire person. Says nothing about them or their singing ability. Says a lot about you.

    • BRUCEB says:

      You should check your spelling. “Unpronouceable” is almost unpronounceable.

      • V.Lind says:

        I’m usually on the bandwagon with you re spelling, but cut a guy a break — this was clearly just a typo. The number of times one of my fingers has struck a key too lightly and a word I had mentally spelled correctly turns up incorrect.

        Save your wrath for the intended content of his reprehensible post.

        • BRUCEB says:

          I’m not cutting him a break, because of the reprehensible content. I’m mocking him in every way that presents itself. (I don’t make fun of every typo I see; besides I make my own share)

          • Ashu says:

            [I’m mocking him in every way that presents itself. (I don’t make fun of every typo I see; besides I make my own share)]

            This is hypocritical and puerile, and undermines the validity of your point.

          • BRUCEB says:

            Oh well.

    • ChevBlanc47 says:

      What a vile specimen you must be! Do you know anything about these singers? The fact that people like you jump first to the colour of their skin without even considering their abilities says everything about you and nothing about them.
      You should be ashamed and educated!

    • ChevBlanc47 says:

      What a vile specimen you must be. The fact that your first thought runs to ethnicity or skin colour says everything about you and nothing about them. People like you are the reason we have divides and need to change direction. You should be ashamed and educated!

  • Adrienne says:

    Clearly the ROH is under pressure to meet diversity targets, and this is the result.

    Arts organisations are shoe-horning black people into positions to keep the Arts Council happy, and in the naive, patronising belief that black people will start turning up in significant numbers. Prediction: in ten years’ time audiences will look little pretty much the same as they do now, and as they did ten years ago.

    • better moderation please says:

      You know what’s patronising? You thinking that black people don’t have the talent to get where these singers have got to, and therefore trying to find another explanation.

      It’s not just patronising though, there’s a better word for it: racist.

      • Adrienne says:

        If you look at the ROH website, you will find that the ‘explanation’ has been spelled out very clearly indeed.

        I have pointed out more than once on this site that, generally speaking, black people have little interest in opera or classical music generally. I didn’t use the word ‘talent’. White people use us (yes, you read that right) to assuage their guilt and signal their virtue. Their concern is a mile wide but an inch deep and yes, it is extremely patronising and, frankly, nauseating.

        • M Le Balai says:

          Whilst you may consider that “black people” (your words, not mine) have no general interest in classical music, that is not going to change as long as there is a singular lack of diversity on the stage or concert platform. Above all, young artists need role models and as long as classical music remains the preserve of the white middle-classes, there is going to be little to inspire any budding BAME artists. And yes, the ROH along with any other publicly funded organisation will be under intense pressure to ‘diversify’ from the Arts Council – but it’s quite right that as tax payer funded, it aims to reflect the multicultural society we live in. That is of course much easier said than done, when you are stuck in a catch-22 of few BAME musicians coming through the system…but change has to start somewhere and applaud the Jette Parker for their progress.

          • Adrienne says:

            There’s no reason whatsoever why black people (and, as a black person, I’ll use any phrase I chooses) should have an interest in classical music, or anything else. It’s up to us to decide because, believe it or not, we still retain that ability without patronising assistance from the ROH, at the behest of the Arts Council.

          • Saxon says:

            Le Balai writes: “black people…have no general interest in classical music, that is not going to change as long as there is a singular lack of diversity on the stage”

            Um. This line of thought is troubling. You are implying that black audiences only want to see other black people on stage. But the implication of this is that white people only want to see other white people. Do you think the white audience will stop going without white people on stage?

            PS. Roderick Williams told an audience in Norwich about his childhood holidays in Norfolk; they now like to see him perform since he is a Norfolk person.

      • Anthony Sayer says:

        Please, BMP, meet Adrienne. You might be surprised.

      • Doubtful says:

        Again nonsense. Everyone knows that diversity targets must now be urgently reached, largely through the demands of the sort of people who call for “better moderation” (meaning, of course, censorship, which is all you really want).
        None of these singers have gotten so very far, anyway, which makes them ideal for slotting into such quotas. It’s, in a way, a shame for them, since such a trend will not last. Perhaps some of them are good singers; if so, that will tell, but they’re being done no favors by being paid attention to for the color of their skin.

    • BRUCEB says:

      Because they can’t actually be good enough, right?

      If this was really based on merit, they would be mostly white. Obviously.


    • Mani Ken says:

      Before you make these bigotted comments listen to these singers. April is as British as they come and a gifted and super talented singer.

  • Diversity matters says:

    This does strike me as a little odd, just making all the link artists young artists. These are definitely very talented young singers, but diversity it is not.

  • In bocca al lupo says:

    Brava April, very proud of you and your achievement. Don’t heed the detractors, they have rarely ‘graced’ the stage and if they have, their best notes are well behind them… .

  • In bocca al lupo says:

    Without wishing to take attention away from April’s wonderful achievement, to those detractors, you really need to take a look in the mirror. If all your achievements were diminished or contextualised within the caveats of ” you only got there because of so and so’ it would take the bravest of souls to stand up and be counted, let alone on stage. Living with detractors is the reality of every performer so get behind our wonderful artform, show some solidarity as opposed to carping with all the other trolls bemoaning the loss of appreciation of the highest musical standards. Young people need help and support so if you have nothing positive to say, then change the record or go and listen to your old 78”s….

    • Doubtful says:

      Nonsense. Again: these singers have BLM and George Floyd, directly, to thank for these opportunities. We would not otherwise hear their voices or know their names. Period. As for those who would call for “better moderation”, NL knows what he’s doing – and he has good reason. It is exactly the ability to comment anonymously that so scares the Left, because it allows people’s true opinions to be heard. Sorry, that you don’t get to cancel anyone who doesn’t agree with you, but you don’t; and, as always, check out the thumbs up/down for a true barometer of opinion here.