Glyndebourne plans open-air music and opera this summer

Glyndebourne (source Flickr)

Glyndebourne will reopen for a series of short outdoor opera performances and less formal concerts in the gardens from mid-July.

The famous opera house, near Lewes in East Sussex, was forced to cancel its 2020 festival due to the pandemic. It has now revealed plans to stage opera outside for the first time, alongside an open-air concert programme, which will allow audiences to return in safety.

Garden events

Attendees will be encouraged to bring picnics and dress formally for the concerts, though the dress code will be discretionary. They will be seated in household groups on Glyndebourne’s lawn for the performances. Shows will be cancelled in the event of bad weather.

From mid-July, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will perform the outdoor concerts, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra taking over in August. It is also hoped that an opera will be staged outdoors, but details have yet to be announced.

Glyndebourne’s gardens will also be open for visitors from 1st July, with ticket holders given timed entry to the grounds – though they can stay for as long as they wish.

Artistic director Stephen Langridge said:

‘We are fortunate in having plenty of outside space available to us, and with a little imagination, we can see exciting musical and theatrical opportunities for performance in the gardens. This mini festival will be intimate, unusual and unforgettable – some cause for celebration in these tough times.’

2020 opera schedule cancelled

The 2020 festival was cancelled in May, prompting the launch of an emergency fundraising appeal to help counter the “devastating” loss of income and impact on the livelihoods of its 400 seasonal staff and artists.

Glyndebourne’s auditorium will remain closed.

Managing director Sarah Hopwood said the cancellation of its entire 2020 season of work had been “a huge shock and disappointment”.

‘However, we were not completely unprepared. Thanks to prudent financial management and to the extraordinary generosity of our members, donors, staff and the general public, we are now able to shift our focus from mourning the closure of the festival to opening a newly imagined summer season,’ she added.

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