OperaCoast 2015

For singers passionate about operatic music, OperaCoast gives a privileged hands-on experience of an operatic singing. OperaCoast is a weekend opera workshop that takes place in the height of summer at Eastbourne in Sussex. Launched in the end of 2011, the project aims to bring together singers of different ages and backgrounds from all over the world to explore the psychology of opera, different approaches to the characters, various ensembles, the connections between words and music and much, much more.

Between 17th—19th July 2015 we will be working on the scenes of Massenet’s Manon (in English).

Come along and immerse yourself in the world of opera with the help of top professionals and in the company of other opera-lovers. There will be auditions for principal roles but anyone with some experience of singing and the ability to learn music independently is welcome to join the chorus.

Non-singing partners and friends may like to come along for the weekend as observers and enjoy the many charms of Eastbourne, an elegant seaside resort within easy reach by train of London and the South Coast, and then come along and watch the performance of our team. OperaCoast gives anyone a perfect excuse for an operatic holiday.

No Voice Unheard

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the WW2 OperaCoast presents a programme of vocal and instrumental music by the composers whose lives were affected by WW2 and the Holocaust.

Music director Gregory Rose
Pianist Nigel Foster
OperaCoast soloists
Trinity Laban Conservatoire players

Selected poems written by the children of Theresienstadt concentration camp are performed by schoolchildren from Lewes, East Sussex.

1 May, 7.30 pm
St John sub Castro, Lewes

2 May, 7.30 pm
Unitarian Church, Brighton

Tourist Information Centre, High Street, Lewes
1 Stop Travel Shop
26 North Street, Brighton BN1 1EB
01273 917272

3 May, 2.00 pm
Menier Chocolate Factory (studio), London

£15, £12 cons
£35 with two course lunch from 12.00 at Menier Chocolate Factory Restaurant
0207 234 9610

by Mikhail Kvirch

OperaCoast: charity No 1160111


En route to her new life at a nunnery, the titular Manon meets with her Guardsman relative in Amiens — however, instead of a brief family reunion, Manon finds herself thrown into a very different life than the one planned for her. Seduced by noblemen, tricksters, and the heady allure of 18th century Parisian hedonism, Manon drifts away from her previous timid self, and further into the lush, expensive lifestyle of the upper classes. Based on the 1731 novel by Abbе́ Prе́vost, Manon was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in 1884 and is Massenet’s best known work and a classic example of France’s pre-war golden age.

The story of Manon Lescaut and chevalier des Grieux captivated minds of many artists. There are two other operas based on the same novel: Manon Lescaut by Auber (1856) and by Puccini (1893) plus Boulevard Solitude, a lyric drama by German composer Hans Werner Henze. Two ballets — Manon Lescaut (1830) by Jean-Louis Aumer and L’histoire de Manon (1974) with music by Massenet — explore the same material. In 1940 a drama in verse was also written by a Czech poet and writer Vítězslav Nezval.

OperaCoast 2015 will be working on Schirmer’s edition of Massnet’s Manon.


Gregory Rose
music director

Gregory Rose has a wide international experience of orchestral, operatic and choral conducting. He is Music Director of the Jupiter Orchestra, Jupiter Singers and Singcircle, and has conducted the London Philharmonic, St Petersburg Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony and the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestras, and orchestras and ensembles throughout Eastern and Western Europe. Gregory studied with Hans Jelinek, and later with Egon Wellesz, both former pupils of Arnold Schoenberg. He has appeared in festivals throughout Europe, including two BBC Proms. Gregory has recorded for many international television and radio stations, and has made highly acclaimed recordings for Chandos, Hyperion, Wergo, Continuum, Naxos, Da Capo and October Music. His recent compositions include a large-scale music-theatre piece, Danse macabre, which received enthusiastic reviews following its premiere in Tallinn, Estonia. His performance of Verdi’s Requiem in Sri Lanka in 2009 was attended by an audience of over 2,000. He is a professor of conducting and staff conductor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

Gregory Rose has conducted Toshio Hosokawa’s Vision of Lear (UK premiere), Cabaret, Berthold Goldschmidt’s Beatrice Cenci (British stage premiere), Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts, Samuel Barber’s Vanessa, Nino Rota’s Il cappello di paglia di Firenze, a national tour of Bizet’s Carmen, Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha (British stage premiere), Stravinsky Rake’s Progress, Prokofiev’s Maddalena, Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King, Jonathan Harvey’s Come, Stockhausen’s American Indian Songs, Paul Barker’s Wall, and A Ronne by Berio. He was Chorus Master for 1993 and 94 Wexford Festival Opera productions of Tchaikovsky’s Cherevichki, Ferdinand Hérold’s Zampa, Demon by Anton Rubinstein, La Bohème by Leoncavallo, and Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot, Harrison Birtwistle’s Masque of Orpheus, Act 2 (BBC), Kurt Weil’s Der Kuhhandel, and assistant conductor for Milhaud’s Les Malheurs d’Orphee, Satie’s Socrate and Weill’s Mahagonny.For Opera Coast: Verdi’s La Traviata, Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress, Tchaikovsky The Queen of Spades.

Christopher Cowell

Christopher Cowell’s work has taken him to Chicago Opera Theater for Semele, and Il Viaggio a Reims, to Danish National Opera for Il barbiere di Siviglia and to Århus Sommeropera for their productions of Elskovsdrikken and Cosi fan tutte. In Copenhagen he directed the inaugural production of the Copenhagen Opera Festival, Opera i Underverden, and Donizetti’s Rita, Bizet’s Le Docteur Miracle, Offenbach’s Den Forvandlede Kat, La Grand’Tante and Il Campanello for Den Rullende Opera, of which he is Artistic Director.

2008 saw his main-house début at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, directing a revival of Les Contes d’Hoffmann. In 1995 he joined the team of directors at Glyndebourne. With their touring company he has directed La Traviata, Le Comte Ory and Rodelinda. During the Festival seasons he has assisted on The Second Mrs. Kong and The Queen of Spades. In subsequent years he worked on Lulu and Owen Wingrave. At English National Opera he has assisted on King Priam and at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on John Copley’s La Bohème. The Royal Opera House also commissioned a new translation and adaptation of La Cenerentola, which he directed in the Linbury Theatre in 2001.

Domestically, he has directed productions of Agrippina, Poro and Atalanta for the London Handel Festival, Rameau’s Acante et Céphise and Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snowmaiden for UCO, Cendrillon for the Royal Academy of Music. In the earlier part of his career he forged the beginning of a long-term association with Surrey Opera, for whom he has directed Hansel and Gretel, Faust, Die Fledermaus, Turandot and The Flying Dutchman and most recently the world première of Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s rediscovered opera, Thelma.

Nigel Foster

Nigel Foster is one of Britain’s leading accompanists. He has played for singers including Roderick Williams, Sarah Walker, Yvonne Kenny, Ailish Tynan, Louise Winter, Stephen Varcoe, Jeremy Huw Williams, James Gilchrist, Elizabeth Watts, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Ruby Hughes, Marcus Farnsworth, Anna Devin and Gillian Keith, and for instrumentalist including violinist Madeleine Mitchell. In his formative years he played for Graham Johnson’s Songmakers’ Almanac and with conductors including John Eliot Gardiner and Georg Solti, working with singers including Renee Fleming, Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu.

Nigel is the founder, director and pianist of the London Song Festival, an annual event promoting the song repertoire. In addition to featuring internationally known artists, the Festival acts as a major showcase for young up-and-coming singers.

Nigel studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won every prize and award available for piano accompaniment. His teachers have included Roger Vignoles, Graham Johnson and Iain Burnside.

Nigel has recorded several CDs of songs and anthologies. He is featured on the soundtrack of films including Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren and L’Homme est une Femme comme les Autres starring Antoine de Caune. He has broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and has appeared on television in several European countries. Nigel performs extensively abroad, having played in most European countries, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Israel, the USA, Canada and South America.


Eastbourne, the UK’s sunniest place, is one of the best-looking of all English seaside resorts, with elegant stucco-fronted architecture and a beautifully preserved pier along its seafront beneath the towering cliff of Beachy Head. Within the town, the attractions include the sleek new Towner Contemporary Museum. Eastbourne is wonderfully placed for exploring the coast and downlands of the South Downs National Park.

Built by Eastbourne College and opened in autumn 2011, the Birley Centre is the latest addition to Eastbourne’s cultural quarter. This exciting performing arts centre makes the perfect venue for a weekend of learning opera! Its superb auditorium has excellent acoustics and seats up to 200.

The Birley Centre, 4 Carlisle Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4EF.

A few minutes’ walk from the railway station (there is also a taxi rank outside station) and the town centre, the Birley Centre is next to the Towner Contemporary Art Gallery, Congress Theatre and Devonshire Park theatre.

By train: Trains from Victoria, London Bridge, or Gatwick Airport direct to Eastbourne. You can also use the First Capital Connect station from London St Pancras (change at East Croydon, Gatwick or Haywards Heath).

See on the map.

Get Involved

OperaCoast is an open project, which means that we are open to connections, suggestions, ideas, and, most importantly, to new people.

You can get involved in a few ways:


We are always in need a helpful pair of hands. If you have skills, which you think we might be able to use, whether it’s photography, marketing, creative writing or accountancy, we would be delighted to hear from you. And if you are a student or a recent graduate, we will be happy to provide you with some work experience and references. We also welcome people who would like to help us at our events or with our publicity.


If you agree that music is for everyone, if you appreciate our work and would like to be a part of our projects in the future please consider donating to OperaCoast. No help is too small!

You can donate:

  • via PayPal
  • via bank transfer:
    SORT 20-27-91
    account 83487970
    IBAN: GB13 BARC 20279183487970
    SWIFT: BARC GB22 (xxx)
  • or by cheque payable to OperaCoast and posted to 28 Mole Close, Stone Cross, Pevensey, BN24 5QB.

    OperaCoast also welcomes corporate sponsors. We offer an annual sponsorship scheme with several VIP benefits to our exclusive supporters.

    For any inquiries or to arrange a meeting, please contact Anastasia Witts at info@operacoast.co.uk or call +44 (0) 7821 761 728.


Every OperaCoast applicant is guaranteed a place in the chorus but if you would like to be considered for a solo part you are required to attend an audition. In our work we aim to accommodate all the good voices and to give an opportunity to as many singers as possible. However, we are always limited by the material and the structure of the course. If you are not pleased with the results of the auditions you will be able to withdraw from the course. In this case your payment will be refunded minus £40 of non-refundable administrative fee.

The solo auditions for Manon will take place in London on Saturday, 23th May from 11.00 (a time slot will be allocated to every singer) at the Austrian Cultural Forum:
28 Rutland Gate, London SW7 1PQ. See on the map.

Please bring two contrasting pieces of music, as least one of them should be an operatic aria.

In order to apply please fill in our application form.
Tel. for enquiries:+44 (0) 7821 761 728.


The cost of the course is £140. This includes a £40 non-refundable fee to cover administrative expenses. If you are a student you will be offered a discount and can take part in OperaCoast course for £100. Participants are welcome to bring a partner/friend/family as an observer for additional £15 each. The observers are welcome to be present at any rehearsal of the course and attend final performance for no additional cost.

Please note that no refund will be possible starting from one month before the beginning of the course.

You are not required to have any particular level of proficiency to take part in OperaCoast but some experience in singing and the ability to learn music independently are desirable. The singers who would like to be considered for a solo part will be invited to attend an audition. There is no audition for the chorus but the participants will be expected to learn the scenes selected prior to the course and be able to sing from memory.

Please fill OperaCoast application form in PDF [62KB] or Word [49KB] and return either to info@operacoast.co.uk or by post:
28 Mole Close, Stone Cross, Pevensey, BN24 5QB

The fee is payable:

  • via bank transfer:
    SORT 20-27-91
    account 83487970
    IBAN: GB13 BARC 20279183487970
    SWIFT: BARC GB22 (xxx)
  • or by cheque made to OperaCoast
  • or via to info@operacoast.co.uk.

OperaCoast does not provide singers with accommodation. If you are taking part in our course you are expected to find accommodation independently. However, we are happy to recommend some of the friendliest and most welcoming places in Eastbourne within walking distance from our venue — the Birley Centre. When booking do mention that you are singing with OperaCoast.

Ocklynge Manor — the only accommodation in Eastbourne that was awarded Five Star Gold by both Visit Britain and the AA. Situated in a quiet location in the Old town it enjoys having a stunning garden and only 3 rooms that would make you feel as a character from Jane Austin’s novel. Early booking highly recommended.
20 minutes’ walk from the Birley Centre.
Wendy and David, +44 (0) 1323 734121.

The Guesthouse East — the 4-star, silver-rated guesthouse awarded 1st place in the The Independent’s Top 50 B&Bs. Self-catering accommodation with the option of bed and breakfast that is contemporary yet laid back, stylish yet comfortable.
7 minutes’ walk from the Birley Centre.
Carl and Sarah, +44 (0) 1323 722774.

The Sherwood — a classical late Victorian Town house, now operating as a family-run seaside guest accommodation. Situated on the seafront it offer excellent value and personal attention to all visitors.
5 minutes’ walk from the Birley Centre.
Jon and Karen, +44 (0) 1323 724002.

The Arden — a well presented 4-star quality guesthouse that aims to offer great value for money with first class personal service. Run by a family of choral singers and music lovers.
5 minutes’ walk from the Birley Centre.
Tracey and Ray, +44 (0) 1323 639639.

Gyves House guesthouse — an AA 4 star gold award Victorian guesthouse providing quality bed and breakfast. 30 metres from seafront, near the Pier. Delicious, healthy breakfasts and clean, comfortable, stylish en suite rooms. Free wifi. Highly rated. Ask for special OperaCoast offer when booking.
10 minutes’ walk along the seafront from the Birley Centre.
Andrew and Angela, +44 (0) 1323 721709.


28 Mole Close, Stone Cross
Pevensey, BN24 5QB
Tel. +44 (0)7821 761 728

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