Samantha Hankey takes First Prize in the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup

Following both a thrilling and deeply moving performance, rising star Samantha Hankey was awarded First Prize at this weekend’s inaugural Glyndebourne Cup Final. From an initial 183 applicants in 44 countries, Samantha was chosen along with nine other singers to compete in the final where, after wowing the jurors in her performances of Sesto’s “Parto, parto” and “Va pure ad altri in braccio” from La finta giardiniera, she was chosen as the overall winner.

As a result, Samantha will receive a prize fund of £15,000 along with a guaranteed leading role offer from a major European house that was represented by the panel. She was also awarded the Critics’ Prize for best singer on the night, both of which were presented to her by Dame Janet Baker. The singers were accompanied by the brilliant Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, led triumphantly from the pit by conductor James Gaffigan.

Speaking on social media following her win, Samantha said “I don’t think that winning the Glyndebourne Opera Cup last night actually hit me until I was on the plane returning home at 6AM this morning!!! Mozart’s “Voi che sapete” was the first aria I learned in high school at age 17, and initially it was an assignment to cover another singer who was a few years my senior, but my teacher saw something in me and decided to double cast the scene. I remember the struggle of learning the language, intonation, and style. Almost 10 years after learning that first aria, and after my studies at The Juilliard School and the Aspen Music Festival and School where I explored Mozart scenes, roles, and repertoire in great detail, I feel like I have become so much more in tune with his music and writing style. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share the brilliant music of Mozart with everyone this past week at Glyndebourne!”

Continuing her whirlwind rise to stardom, Samantha will make her debut at the Metropolitan Opera next season where her roles will include Mercédès Carmen, Countess Ceprano Rigoletto and Wellgunde Das Rheingold. She will finish this season with workshop performances of Intimate Apparel by Ricky Ian Gordon for the Met, and a recital at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival in Massachusetts.

Congratulations, Samantha!

Hear from Samantha and the other prize-winners after Saturday’s final in the video below:

Photo © Richard Hubert Smith

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