Each year Clonter auditions hundreds of young singers at music colleges around the UK, and also holds auditions for singers who have recently embarked on professional careers. When appropriate, more established artists are also offered opportunities to develop more demanding roles.
Through the creation of Clonter Farm Music Trust (CFMT) a unique residential, touring and educational programme has been refined over a number of years. Most singers who take part in the opera studios are under 30 and all tuition and accommodation is provided free of charge.
Residential facilities and a staff of international experience ensure that singers achieve maximum potential during the ‘opera studios’ and thereafter. The artistic policy is to select repertoire that is both suitable for young singers and also attractive to the general public. Tailored versions of whole operas allow singers to perform complete roles with orchestra.
Summer productions are taken on tour to London in the Autumn. This gives singers an extended period to ‘get to know their roles’, an invaluable opportunity for the singers to be seen by managements and press and is an essential part of the overall vision. The next tour is planned for 2016.
Clonter’s Opera Prize, worth £3,000, is an inter-conservatoire prize awarded to singers nominated by the heads of opera at six of the UK’s leading music colleges. The competition is held at Clonter Theatre at the beginning of each year.
International Performers such as Simon Keenlyside, Camilla Tilling, Mary Plazas , Katarina Karneus, Jonathan Lemalu and Alfie Boe have all performed on Clonter’s stage over the years. Sir George Christie, Chairman of Glyndebourne, is Clonter’s Patron and renowned baritone Simon Keenlyside CBE, is Clonter’s President.
Why do emerging opera singers need the opportunities Clonter has to offer?
Singers at post graduate level are finding it harder than ever to find stepping stones between leaving their conservatoires and singing for a major opera company. They stand a much better chance if they have a wide variety of strong audition pieces they have performed in public.
The experience of singing a principal role with orchestra is also incredibly valuable both in terms of developing vocal stamina and exposure to people who can help further their careers. Singers also need good presentation skills both for recitals on the concert platform and if they wish to present workshops to young people. Clonter is constantly exploring new ways to help artists develop these skills without taking too much time out from other commitments. Repetiteurs, stage managers, designers and orchestral players are also offered professional development opportunities.
Aims at Clonter
CFMT is committed to providing the highest quality training and performance opportunities for singers who are usually at the beginning of their professional careers, although when appropriate more established artists are engaged. Residential facilities and a staff of exceptional calibre ensure that singers, selected after comprehensive auditions, achieve maximum potential during the ‘opera studios’ and thereafter. The mission is to ‘bridge the gap’ between conservatoire and professional work.