Friday, 10 October 2008

The Young Ones

BBC Radio 3 has announced its new clutch of Young Artists. The list has grown from 6 to 8 and, for the first time, includes a period performance practice artist, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. The others are violinists Jennifer Pike (a former BBC Young Musician of the Year) and Tai Murray; cellist Andreas Brantelid, winner of the 2006 Eurovision Young Musician Competition; jazz trumpeter Tom Arthurs; principal trumpeter of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Giuliano Sommerhalder; mezzo-soprano Daniela Lehner (winner of the Marilyn Horne Competition in 2004) and Finnish string quartet Meta4.

Of course, this list raises another clutch of interesting issues. Should the UK tax-payer be funding a scheme (admirable though it is) which includes so many non-UK nationals? Just who is the scheme aimed at and is the principal trumpeter of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra really in need of help and encouragement with his career?

Of course everyone has such young artists schemes nowadays. In the case of the Royal Opera House and the ENO, in the old days they didn't need young artists schemes because the kept roster of young singer on the books. Singers whose careers were nurtured and cared for; I believe Yvonne Kenny was such an artist in her early days.

Now at the Royal Opera House they have the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, which supports a group of singers, conductors, directors and repetiteurs. This young people (of a variety of nationalities) crop up in small to medium roles in a variety of ROH productions over the year. But next week is Meet the Young Artists Week at the Royal Opera House.

The week contains a number of free events, but the centre piece (for which you'll have to pay) is a double bill of Walton's Facade and The Bear. Young artist Thomas Guthrie is staging The Bear and acting as the male reciter in Facade. In The Bear, all three singers are Young Artists as is Guthrie, the director, and Stephen Moore, the conductor. In the cast is South African bass Vuyani Mlinde who made an extremely big impression when he sang in Grange Park Opera's Thais last year.

Other events include a series of recitals. There are 4 recitals during the week at various times, listed here. There's also an interesting multi-part event on Saturday which seems to be trying to involve the audience in planning the evening's recital - just the sort of thing which will either be exciting or embarrassing, but probably worth the effort of getting a free ticket.

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