Opera would wither and die if it weren't for young artists. Every big name.was once young and aspiring. And as older artists retire, new ones emerge. There never was a mythical Golden Age where everyone was fully formed. Be glad that the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House is one of the finest schemes through which young professionals can develop. Performance is an absolutely integral part of the programme: that's how young artists learn their trade and how older artists pass on what they know. Like a candle, opera needs nurturing.
On Sunday 17th July, this year's Young Artists are holding their summer show on the theme Venice -its history, mystery and glamour.The first part of the programme is built around lesser-known Rossini, and the second part around Donizetti, Offenbach and Britten. The show is devised by the young artists themselves, who include stage directors and conductors.
Zhengzhong Zhou is singing. Does the name ring a bell? He's in the current Madama Butterfly at Covent Garden, the one which has audiences buzzing because it's so fresh and vivacious and the singing is so good. Zhou sings Yamadori. It's not a huge part but it's significant. Often Yamadoris are played like villains because they're rich and powerful, ergo, "bad", but the evidence in the score suggests otherwise. Zhou made Yamadori sympathetic. Yet he's only 27 years old. How does a singer develop the artistic imagination? Every person in thius world is unique and has something to offer. Interesting people can make interesting art.
Please read more in Opera Today. For Zhou, music is a powerful emotional force. The Jette Parker Young Artists Programme channels those with proven potential. It's a gracious act of giving. Nurture the young today, and they enrich the art of the future.