Famed UK opera festival Glyndebourne has announced 41-year-old Sebastian F Schwarz as the successor to David Pickard, who is soon to take up a new role as director of the BBC Proms. Schwarz, who will become just the seventh general director in Glyndebourne’s 81-year history, has been deputy artistic director of Theater an der Wien in Vienna for eight years. He will take up his new role at Glyndebourne in May 2016.
Gus Christie, executive chairman of Glyndebourne, said: ‘I am delighted to confirm this appointment. Sebastian’s pedigree and background will bring a fresh perspective to Glyndebourne and I am confident that he will build on our rich and varied operatic history.’
Schwarz added: ‘Glyndebourne stands for excellence in performance and it provides an unmistakably English way of experiencing some of the world’s best opera. It is with the greatest joy that I follow the call to this superb company to continue to share my passion and enthusiasm for this most complete of all performing art forms.’
Born in Germany, Schwarz studied vocal performance and musicology in Berlin and vocal performance and theatre management in Venice. He has held a variety of positions in opera companies, including a period in company management at Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland and as assistant to the opera director at Staatsoper Hamburg
In addition to his role at Theater an der Wien, he is artistic director and co-founder of the Pietro Antonio Cesti International Voice Competition for Baroque Opera in Innsbruck, and CEO and artistic director of the Vienna Chamber Opera which was incorporated into Theater an der Wien in 2012, and for which he founded an international ensemble of singers who perform for both companies. He is a sought-after voice specialist and a regular jury member for major international voice competitions.
Robin Ticciati, music director of Glyndebourne, added: ‘I am extremely excited about what Sebastian Schwarz will bring to the future of Glyndebourne, especially his own personal artistic vision and his inspiring approach to what he believes opera can be in the 21st century.’