OperaCoast 2014

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.

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.

by Mikhail Kvirch

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.

Susannah Waters

Susannah began her professional life as an opera singer, performing principal roles in many of the world’s leading opera houses.

Since 2002, she has been a writer and stage director. Her first novel, Long Gone Anybody, was published by Black Swan in 2004, and short-listed for the Pendleton May Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award. Her second novel, Cold Comfort, published by Doubleday in 2006, featured on Radio 4’s Today programme as one of the first fictional novels dealing with the effects of climate change. She is currently completing her third. In 2004, she founded the production company, The Paddock, for whom she devised, commissioned and directed work in theatre, opera and dance, and whose projects included Red All Over, a play set in six rooms of a hotel, The Finnish Prisoner, a new opera by Orlando Gough and Stephen Plaice performed as a co-production with Finnish National Opera in a disused warehouse in Lewes, Something to Dance About, an outdoor dance festival involving 7 newly commissioned community dance pieces, Shoe Nail Dance, a street dance in 2009 involving 200 amateur dancers, and two new plays, Eat This/Drink That, set in a disused brewery depot.

From 2005–2012 she was an Associate Tutor in Creative Writing at the University of Sussex. She is an online mentor for The Literary Consultancy, an Associate Artist at New Writing South, and has tutored for the Arvon Foundation. She also runs a busy, one-to-one literary mentoring service. In March 2013 she directed a new opera, Imago, by Orlando Gough and Stephen Plaice, at Glyndebourne Opera, and in November 2013, she is directing Chabrier’s Lucky Star (L’Etoile) for New Sussex Opera.

Nigel Foster

Nigel Foster was born in London and studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His teachers were Roger Vignoles, Graham Johnson and Iain Burnside. At both the Academy and the Guildhall he won every prize and award available for piano accompaniment, and has since been appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Nigel enjoys a busy schedule performing on the concert platform. He has played for singers including Sergei Leiferkus, the late Philip Langridge, Sarah Walker, Yvonne Kenny, Roderick Williams, Louise Winter, Ian Partridge, Neil Jenkins, James Gilchrist, Jeremy Huw Williams, Katherine Broderick, Stephan Loges, Stephen Varcoe and Jane Manning, and instrumentalists including violinist Madeleine Mitchell. He has performed at major UK venues and has given concerts all over Europe, as well as in Asia, New Zealand and the Americas. He has broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM in the UK and on French, Welsh and Greek television.

He is the founder, director and pianist of the London Song Festival, an annual event that promotes the song repertoire. In his formative years Nigel played for Graham Johnson’s Songmakers’ Almanac, the Park Lane Group and several opera companies including Glyndebourne. Nigel has worked with conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, playing for singers including Renee Fleming, Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna. Nigel’s CD recordings include several discs of contemporary music and anthologies of songs of Alun Hoddinott and Mansel Thomas with Jeremy Huw Williams for the Sain label and collections of English song with Stephen Varcoe. He features on the soundtrack of the French film L’Homme est une Femme comme les Autres.


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.


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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