Glyndebourne will return this summer
At a time where our diaries are a blank space peppered by the occasional crossed-out wedding, it’s nice to have an event on the horizon to look forward to.
Glyndebourne has just confirmed that it will proceed with its annual opera festival this summer. Like most events in our pandemic age, many alterations will be made to ensure that social distancing and other safety precautions are in place – audiences will be capped at 600, which is 50 per cent of the 1,200 person capacity, and entrances to the festival’s famed fine dining experiences will be staggered – but the prestigious event’s announcement is the first sign that the traditional British summer season, however altered, may be back on track.
“We are determined to present a festival this summer in whatever form is possible,” Sarah Hopwood, the managing director of Glyndebourne, says, “We consider this essential to protect the livelihoods of our staff and freelance artists we employ and to continue to engage with our audience, including members and supporters who have been so loyal and generous over the past year.”
The festival will will run from 20 May until 29 August and will showcase new productions of Janacek’s Kát’a Kabanová, Rossini’s Il turco in Italia and Verdi’s Luisa Miller, as well as a revival of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. There will also be a semi-staged concert of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde with a full orchestra, seated on the stage. Glyndebourne’s resident orchestras will be joined by the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, who will perform a series of specially curated concerts.
Of course, Glyndebourne is more than just its music. This year, the festival welcomes Chris and Jeff Galvin as executive chefs of the fine-dining Middle And Over Wallop restaurant, where they will hold a tenancy for the next three years. The brothers have designed three seasonally changing menus featuring some of their signature dishes, made famous at their Michelin-starred London restaurant Galvin La Chapelle. Besides an ethically sourced modern British menu, their Glyndebourne residency will offer gorgeous surroundings, decorated with props from past Glyndebourne productions and lit by Swarovski-crystal chandeliers.
The Glyndebourne gardens are also always a huge draw. This year will see an exhibition by the sculptor Halima Cassell, featuring seven sculptures, including two new, site-specific works. It is the first major exhibition of new work by the artist since she was awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Year Honours List. For those unable to make the festival, an online exhibition, ‘Forces of Nature’, featuring the work of female artists, will also be presented and all work will be available to view and purchase online.
During such fraught times, Glyndebourne’s announcement is a welcome respite. As Sarah Hopwood proudly declared: “We look forward to a summer of world-class opera.”
Glyndebourne Festival 2021 will run from 20 May to 29 August. Glyndebourne members have priority booking, and all remaining tickets will go on sale to the public in April.