Passing on the baton
In spite of the loss of its founders, Glyndebourne continued its pursuit of perfection under new leaders. In 1958 George Christie succeeded his father as Chairman of Glyndebourne Productions, a position he held for 41 years. He retired on 31 December 1999, and remained on the Board of Trustees until his death in May 2014. The family connection remains secure, however, with the appointment of Sir George’s second son, Gus, as Executive Chairman.
Carl Ebert’s gradual retirement was felt keenly – he had been in sole charge of almost all productions since 1934. Günther Rennert was appointed his successor in 1960, but he was not to be the sole producer. During this period Franco Enriquez and Peter Ebert were also creating works, joined occasionally by other guest producers such as Franco Zeffirelli and Michael Redgrave. As a result Glyndebourne’s style of opera production began to diversify and the repertoire to expand.
In 1972 John Cox became Director of Productions and produced, amongst others, a striking version of The Rake’s Progress in 1975, with designs by David Hockney. Cox’s successor in 1984 was Peter Hall who had been mounting productions for the company since the 70s in collaboration with the designer John Bury. Their particular successes were initially in the baroque repertoire, but later Hall produced notable Britten and Mozart productions. Guest producers have continued to make appearances regularly and include Jonathon Miller, Frank Corsaro, Nicholas Hytner, Trevor Nunn, Nikolaus Lehnhoff, Deborah Warner and Peter Sellars. The last Director of Productions, Graham Vick, was appointed in 1993, but moved on in 2000.
Although Glyndebourne continued without an official Music Director for some years after Busch’s death, the presence of the conductor Vittorio Gui throughout the 50s ensured that high musical standards were maintained. He was also responsible for bringing the works of Rossini into the repertoire. Three years later, when Gui was ready to move on, a promising young member of the music staff was appointed – John Pritchard. He had been an avid admirer and pupil of Fritz Busch, and was himself a gifted Mozart conductor as well as being a champion of contemporary music. Bernard Haitink was Pritchard’s successor in 1978, and 10 years later later, on Haitink’s resignation, Andrew Davis was appointed Music Director – a position he relinquished at the end of the 2000 season. His successor was Vladimir Jurowski, who helped to introduce Wagner’s work to the repertoire, and in 2014 the baton was passed to Robin Ticciati.