English National Opera (ENO) it delighted to announce four new ENO Harewood Artists, joining the eight singers that will remain part of the programme. David Ireland, Božidar Smiljanić, Katie Stevenson and Elgan Llŷr Thomas will join the ENO Harewood Artist programme for two years, beginning in the 17/18 season, alongside existing ENO Harewood Artists Katie Coventry, Eleanor Dennis, Matthew Durkan, Rhian Lois, Soraya Mafi, Samantha Price, Andri Bjorn Robertsson and David Webb.
The ENO Harewood Artists, formerly the ENO Junior Company Principals and ENO Young Singers Programme, enables exceptionally talented British and British-trained singers to perform career-building roles with a major opera company while receiving specialist coaching, support and guidance. Across the 2017/18 season over 20 principal roles will be taken by current or former ENO Harewood Artists.
The ENO Harewood Artist programme began in 1998 and is renowned for its development of many of the UK’s most cherished young opera singers. Former ENO Harewood Artists include Sophie Bevan, Mary Bevan, Katherine Broderick, Allan Clayton, Madeleine Shaw, Nicky Spence, Julia Sporsén, Sarah Tynan and Kate Valentine.
This season, a number of small changes have been made to the programme in order to ensure that it continues to develop these young singers in the most supportive way possible. As ENO is now planning its opera seasons further in advance, a tailored, multi-year development programme has been established for each singer to ensure that they are performing and covering the roles most suitable to their voices across the next two years.
Under the scheme’s new structure, ENO will now cast Harewood Artists approximately 18 months before the start of the season in which they will first appear. They will receive coaching from that moment, alongside repertoire guidance and career advice. In addition to regular coaching sessions, the singers are awarded a bursary to enable them to partake in diction and language coaching, dialogue coaching, acting and dramaturgy sessions, performance psychology and Alexander Technique.
Mezzo-soprano Katie Stevenson will make her professional debut at ENO in Marnie in November, after graduating from the opera course at the Royal Academy of Music this summer. She will also cover the role of Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Bass-baritone David Ireland joins from the National Opera Studio and will cover the role of Dr Bartolo in The Barber of Seville. Tenor Elgan Llyr Thomas will make his ENO stage debut at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre as Prologue/Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw. Prior to this he will be covering the role of Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville. Bass-baritone Božidar Smiljanić will take to the London Coliseum stage as the Marchese d’Obigny in La traviata. Having previously debuted at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Garsington, Božidar will also cover the role of Figaro in ENO’s The Marriage of Figaro this spring.
ENO Artistic Director, Daniel Kramer said: “I am so pleased to welcome these four fantastic singers to our Harewood Artist family. Our ENO Harewood Artists are an integral part of our onstage performances, as well as vital to the work of our learning and participation programme, ENO Baylis. The changes that we have made to the scheme will ensure that ENO remains at the forefront of developing these gifted, exciting singers, and I am delighted that our audience will have the opportunity to hear more from all of them very soon.”
ENO Music Director, Martyn Brabbins added: “Developing the next generation of operatic talent is absolutely key to what we do at ENO. We are so very proud of the Harewood Artist programme and of our many highly respected Harewood Artist alumni. I am thrilled to be welcoming on board these four new singers, and welcoming back to the programme eight existing ENO Harewood Artists. I look forward to the wonderful music that I know all of these artists will contribute to across the coming seasons.”