Glyndebourne wins an RPS Music Award for its community opera, Imago

Glyndebourne wins an RPS Music Award for its community opera, Imago

Glyndebourne’s 2013 community opera, Imago, has won a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Award, it was announced last night (13 May).

Imago won the Learning and Participation award which is presented to a project which inspired participation in music-making and created high quality musical experience and understanding. 

At the heart of Imago was a ninety-strong community chorus, ranging in age from teenagers to those in their eighties, some of whom had never been involved in music-making before, collaborating with professional artists.  In the orchestra pit young amateur musicians were mentored, playing alongside professional musicians from Aurora Orchestra.

The award, presented last night at a special event held at The Dorchester Hotel in London, honours Imago’s success in nurturing the talent of its amateur participants and raising their aspirations. Since it ended many Imago participants have gone on to further training or performing opportunities ensuring a lasting legacy for the project.

Lucy Lowe, Head of Education at Glyndebourne, said:

“We’re delighted to have won this award and very proud of what Imago achieved. We set the participants a big challenge to get to grips with a demanding musical score and, with Glyndebourne’s support, they rose to the challenge to deliver four fantastic performances last March. Now we’re seeing a strong legacy emerge as participants’ use the skills and confidence gained through the project to pursue new performing opportunities or further training. One young singer successfully auditioned for the Guildhall School of Music, a second has won a cover role in the 2014 Glyndebourne Tour, and our older participants, who comprised Imago’s Elders Chorus, still perform together; evidence of the strong friendships that sprang up between the cast.”

James Brock, who performed a principal role in Imago as an amateur soloist, said:

“Being in Imago was a unique opportunity to gain experience of performing at a professional level and has made me even more committed to pursuing a performing career. Taking a principal role has equipped me brilliantly to move forward in achieving my goals and I’m now in the process of auditioning for music colleges.”

Imago is the latest example of Glyndebourne’s long-term commitment to put work with young people and the community centre-stage. Its first community opera in 1990 involved over 300 people and took place on Hastings Pier.

The RPS Music Awards, presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK.  The Learning and Participation award is sponsored by the ABRSM, the exam board for the Royal Schools of Music. 

Watch 'The Making of Imago' to find out more about the project.

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