I still vividly remember the first time I was invited to see a production at the worldwide acclaimed Glyndebourne Opera Festival in the Sussexcountryside only a short drive from London: a memory I would treasure amongst the other English summer events that leave a lifetime impression such as Ascot, Wimbledon, Henley, the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race or the May Balls!
I had been made aware of the black tie dress code, but was nevertheless surprised to find elegantly dressed guests sitting on the grass on a splendidly sunny afternoon on the grounds of Glyndebourne unravelling delicious picnics and sipping champagne! It made for the most enchantingly beautiful picture. The early performance that followed was interrupted by a purposely long interval during which the picnic or a dinner in one of the restaurants could be fully enjoyed in this most wonderfully romantic setting.
However Glyndebourne stands out foremost by its music ranging among the best the opera world has to offer. Every year it attracts renowned singers, conductors and directors from around the world.
The festival was founded in 1934 by John Christieand his soprano wife to entertain their friends but soon expanded to a highly sought after opera housewhose productions boasted an ever-growing audience. Up until today the festival remains in the hands of the Christie family, funded only by sales and donations without any state subsidy. It runs from May through August and the productions that are on show this August are Don Giovanni by W. A. Mozart, The Rake’s Progress by Igor Stravinsky and Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck.
Although Glyndebourne has a reputation for being an elitist and very expensive event, you can buy tickets affordable for every pocket. Don’t miss out on a truly unique English experience and a musical highlight of the season.