Glyndebourne 75th Anniversary Festival 2009

A selection of comments we have received from members of our audience:

Giulio Cesare

A most wonderful evening – perfect singing, casting and production – I think this was the third time we have seen this since the original season. Opera hardly comes better than this – and to see Sarah Connolly in the garden chatting to friends/family just before she was due backstage made it all the more memorable. What a true star she is, as are all the other singers. Memorable, fun and heart-rending, all at the same time.

Thank you for the privilege of a Glyndebourne outing.The production was ‘perfectly’ outrageous, its asymmetries deeply satisfying: martial Rome and febrile, if priapic, Egypt; fluttery counter-tenors pitched against stentorian soldiers, and all those delicious gender-bending girl-boys!And….what sets: that riveting, rolling sea and changing sky.How could one forget Roman sea power in the guise of the Grand Fleet, circa 1914, con airships.Choreography was uniformly pleasing and electrifying in the form of DdN – how she pleased this old man!

Giuio Cesare was a great show; it’s my favourite Handel opera (and I’m an enthusiast – with recordings of all but 3) The production is great fun; the performance splendid, especially Sarah Connelly and Danielle di Niese – the future grande dame of Glyndebourne. I’ve got the video but the real thing – in the theatre – transforms the Platonic form.

We thought the Egyptians very camp and loved the dancing. I thought that the costumes would be in the style of Handel, given the style of the set, and why was Cleopatra dressed as a flapper and why was Curio in a kilt when his men were clearly not a Scottish regiment? Sarah Connolly was amazing and convincing as a young man.

Having seen this production in 2005 with the same cast (aside from Sesto and Curio Achilla), and having had the best experience of my concert performing/going life, I was so delighted that Glyndebourne revisited the production this year. As a result, I went to see Giuio Cesare twice and it lived up to those highest of standards. There was simply no weakness of any sort in the cast, the orchestra, or the production. It was, from a audience point of view, perfection.

In the 36 years I have been going to Glyndebourne I believe this is the most memorable performance I have attended. The production and direction were brilliant as were all the cast (Sesto perhaps the top of the list) and the orchestra played divinely. Quite simply sublime!


We thoroughly enjoyed Falstaff , so much that we have booked to see the production again on tour at Woking. I thought it showed how much is added to the experience by a traditional production with generous and imaginative scenery changing for the different acts.Minimalist productions are all very well but the ‘full works’ is so much more!

To answer your Question What did you think of Falstaff?’‘ it was an utter delight from start to finish. It was beautifully produced and the acting and singing were just stupendous. I loved the little touches of a time that I can barely remember, but echoes of it permeated my own childhood, when my grandmother used to try and convince me that embroidery was for ‘young ladies’. I did experience the Brownies and it brought back SUCH happy memories. Falstaff was completely believable, a lovable rogue, but soft as butter – unlike other productions where he has been portrayed as SO gross in every way.

We loved Falstaff .We came to the second performance and we think it will have ripened gloriously during the run.The music and the action went together so well; the director and conductor had obviously worked with an excellent cast to produce a performance which made the music mean everything it should and the performance show off the music as it should.

We all thought Falstaff was excellent.It was enjoyed by all our party.There were some who didn’t like the noise of the typewriter, but the less musical amongst us didn’t mind!

The bright modern up-date worked reasonably well, except that the main character is steeped in historical colour and that Verdi’s love of all things supernatural is rather un-modern.

We were a little disappointed with _ Falstaff_, felt the transposition to recent period didn’t suit, we lived through that time and felt he didn’t fit there.Loved the music of course.

As always, Glyndebourne’s music is sumptuous and in this production I began to hear the expert analysis of the music as something uncharacteristic of the main Verdi canon. Maybe Vladimir Jurowski was especially bringing out the rippling entwining of melodic rhythms, which seem to run through the piece.

We thoroughly enjoyed the performance of this opera based on The Merry Wives of Windsor . We normally prefer to watch opera as the original production, but we thought the period setting for Falstaff was excellent and amusing without detracting from excellent singing – the brownies and the rowing club were wonderful extras that made us laugh as well!!

We had had some misgivings about a modern dress production, but we warmed to it and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

I thought it was one of the most perfect and joyful _ Falstaff_ I have seen. Nannetta brought tears to my eyes. Mistress Quickly not only sounded wonderful, she was a wonderful actress, and the sight of her dancing around in the last scene, and exuding sex somehow without even moving, in her first encounter with Falstaff, will stay with me for a long time. I loved the sets and the direction – the cabbage garden was particularly apposite; and the sheer beauty of Chris Purves’ voice, combined with his physical presence and portrayal of the character, was a joy throughout the evening. Of course nothing is ever completely perfect – I found the portrayal of Ford less dangerous than I think he is (comparing Chris again in the WNO production); and I didn’t like the last act. But those are small cavils which did not detract from a wonderful evening.

Thank you.Yes we enjoyed Falstaff very much indeed. I felt I had never really appreciated it before….although friends had always said how I was missing something wonderful.So many productionscamp it uWe brought as our guests an Italian couple who run a design studio in Milan, and who host our website.They have been friends for many years….and I wondered how theItalianvocals would sound to real Italians?!I have to say you came through with flying colours……they could understand it all …… so well done brilliant all round.

We enjoyed Falstaff very much (as did the whole audience, I think, judging from the applause). We had no problems with the updating to the 1940s (the RSC once did something very similar with Merry Wives ). The production was a bit busy, but it’s a comedy and almost all the business worked. It’s a long time since I’d seen Falstaff – what a brilliant piece of music it is. Falstaff and Nannetta were both excellent, but the star for us was the Cat!

The Fairy Queen

Well, what a magical extravaganza that was! A 21st century version of the type of performance that one imagines was put on in Purcell’s time. Fine singing, acting and dancing and, as usual, the OAE playing their socks off with terrific direction from Laurence Cummings.

I haven’t time to write a full-scale review of The Fairy Queen , but feel compelled to record my admiration for a production which, at last, did justice to Purcell’s masterpiece. It was bold, it was witty and imaginative, it respected what I at least believe to have been Purcell’s intentions, it was exceptionally well-sung by a large cast and as ever well-played by the orchestra, and it was wholly enjoyable.I look forward very much to seeing the DVD.

Did enjoy the Fairy Queen and the usual fantastic atmosphere of Glyndebourne but felt the production slightly too long

I thought this was a thrilling production, full of imagination, boldness and originality. I did not know the music before, but liked it so much that I immediately bought the CD. So much was gained on stage by using the full text – though admittedly there were a few longeurs during the sub-Shakesperean spoken drama.But all in all it was highly entertaining, exquisitely designed and directed, and very well sung. A Glyndebourne triumph.

Have not read all the reviews on the net, but The Fairy Queen was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. the younger actors were difficult to hear but that may be just my old age.We admired the singers having to sing suspended from the wires.

The best and most sophistcated Pantomine I have ever seen!

The actors, dancers and singers integrated well, and though Glyndebourne has a reputation for top line ensemble performances, this cast reached even higher levels of ensemble playing than your usual. I ended up not knowing – or caring – who had what specialist discipline. It was the familiar Shakespeare play, plus, plus, plus – and of course Purcell’s wonderful music (as revised/reconstructed by your specialists) The mechanics of the set were brilliant, and I expect expensive, in addition to the large cast. As a student of theatre (degree is in Drama), it was marvellous to see how well you had captured the way in which Restoration theatre machinery worked, using modern stage equipment and techniques.

On a practical note I think we were all fidgeting a bit for comfort towards the end, and felt a little rushed at dinner, but I think it was well worth it.

The direction by Jonathan Kent seemed to incorporate every ‘trick in the book’. It was overstated and flamboyant. The music was beautiful and played superbly by The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – my favourite orchestra. But there were far too many words in the production and not enough singing.

Very enjoyable. Not sure about the rabbits! although very amusing!

I’m very glad you asked – I loved The Fairy Queen , it was captivating from start to finish.

We loved the performance of The Fairy Queen . It was a stunning realisation of a piece which, though stuffed with wonderful music, is very close to being unperformable.

In brief my wife and I didn’t much enjoy it. Probably Purcell’s fault but the play and the musical interludes don’t hang well together.

Thank you for inviting my views on this, my first visit to Glyndebourne. I loved it. The performance was superb.I particularly liked the masques and how these complemented the action. The whole concept, mixing the eighteenth century with modern elements, worked brilliantly.The masque of Phoebus was a high point, and not just for the singer! The spectacle was wonderful, the music even more so: the theorbo, the Plaint, the aria sung from mid-air by, I think, Juno. I am hoping this was only the first visit and look forward to next year’s programme.


Rusalka , my friends and I loved. It was very well sung and played and the production, which was often beautiful, held our interest. We were delighted to have the opportunity of hearing an opera which is so rarely performed.

What an absolutely marvellous production and performance you put on for us last night. Terrific. I have not enjoyed a production like that for years. I cannot thank you enough.

I was not familiar with Rusalka and now I know why! No fault of the production where again the singing was as good as always. The Opera itself however I find distinctly minor. The sets were imaginative but I do not think they worked particularly well.

I was not familiar with Rusalka and now I know why! No fault of the production where again the singing was as good as always. The Opera itself however I find distinctly minor. The sets were imaginative but I do not think they worked particularly well.

This was an eventful evening! Events were obviously dominated by Ana Maria Martinez’ dreadful accident, which left us all very shaken. The performance recovered to an impressive degree, with a memorable performance from Ms. Martinez’ understudy, for whom the standing ovation was richly deserved.

Just to say we thought the Rusalka performance was absolutely brilliant…as near to perfection as I’ve seen in 25 years of Opera going! Much better than I was expecting!

My friend from Los Angeles and I thought that this was a wonderful performance of Rusalka , particularly the singing and the sets. We found it really drew us in. Very occasionally it seemed that the orchestra might have overpowered the singers but needless to say they literally rose above it!

I loved it. The set was superb – ranks as one of the best of the many innovative, simple but effective sets I have seen at Glyndbourne. The singing was excellent. The whole opera was a wonderful and very moving experience.

L’elisir d’amore

My wife and I both enjoyed the performance greatly. I found it rather silly to turn the farmer Nemorino into an electrician, particularly given that there was no other attempt to modernise the scenario.

Our last opera at Glyndebourne this year, and one of the most enjoyable. Great pace and great fun and you came away tingling. The overall cast was of such a quality that it seems a pity to single anyone out. Excellent.

We thoroughly enjoyed a well sung and directed performance and given the opportunity would see it again.

An enjoyable evening, but not the finest opera – good fun.

The performance was a delight from start to finish – the tenor was particularly impressive. Glyndebourne never let us us down. Our thanks to all of you for all the enjoyment over the years

Loved every minute of it – refreshing to see a traditional treatment of a traditional opera.

Absolutely wonderful. The picnic, the audience, and then the beautiful performance. It’s something we look forward to every year, and it never disappoints. The performance was spell–binding.

I thought it an excellent production and cleverly staged to focus and intensify the story. Glyndebourne has been in my life since about 11 years of age and it continues to give enormous pleasure.

In answer to your question about L’elisir d’amore I have nothing but praise for the production.It was beautifully staged and sung and although the subject was very light all four of us in my party found it very moving. We loved every minute – what more can I say.

Tristan und Isolde

Thank you for the most wonderful realization of Wagner’s masterpiece. The setting perfectly expressed what our ears were telling us and made the evening one of our greatest experiences in over fifty years of opera-going. Please thank everyone who had a part in a glorious, life-enhancing Glyndebourne visit.

Kampe’s singing was fantastic and I thought the Marke was also outstanding, plus wonderful orchestral playing and conducting.

We consider your production to be one of the finest amongst nearly thirty that we have heard over the years. The non-representational set perfectly expressed what we heard in the music which was sublimely conducted by Jurowski. We eagerly look forward to your next Wagner opera.

Quite literally stunning; an emotional powerhouse.Something special, a superb performance in every respect,‘Bravo’ to all involved. As for Anja Kampe: what a voice!

The evening spent at Tristan was outstanding. The orchestra and the singing were perfection, we were already speechless by the end of Act I and trying hard not to sob out loud during the Liebestod. It is quite simply the best production of Tristan I have ever seen and we are Wagner aficionados.

We loved the performance and although we attended the 2007 production felt the 2009 flowed more swiftly. Especially the death of Tristan which in 2007 we found rather comical due to the costume, he seemed to be wrapt up like a mummy. Sarah Connelly made Brangane so charismatic it really enhanced the performance.

First Visits to Glyndebourne

I loved the whole Glyndebourne experience. It was the first time I had been to Glyndebourne and it had been one of the things that I’d wanted to do since I’d heard about Glyndebourne as a young child. I never thought it would be possible. Then, a chance conversation with a friend who lives in Steyning, was the start of a truly wonderful day. I bought tickets for Giulio Cesare to celebrate my friend’s 60th birthday, which was on 31st May. Although she lived close by, my friend had never been to Glyndebourne before and in fact it was only the second opera she had ever been to. We were blessed by a lovely day and bowled over by the beauty of the grounds and the auditorium. But nothing had prepared me for such a wonderful performance. I have read some of the reviews and can only concur with all the superlatives – how I wish I had some new way of expressing quite how much we enjoyed the singing, acting and dancing. I have never seen such wonderful choreography in an opera.

This was my first visit to Glyndebourne and it was a special occasion, as it was an anniversary present for my partner and I had planned it all in secret as a surprise. In addition, Falstaff is his favourite opera (he has played trombone in it once) and he was so disappointed when a performance we went to see in Kent last October was cancelled the same evening. So I had scoured the net to see if I could find anywhere in Europe or even farther afield where I could arrange for us to see it.Imagine my delight when I found it to be in our very own England….and Glyndebourne at that!He didn’t guess a thing until we turned at the sign which says Glyndebourne 2 miles. It was a success from the word go.I had smuggled his dinner jacket into the boot of the car, so it was great that there were changing facilities. The house and grounds are so beautiful. Then the performance itself….quite wonderful in every way; my partner had tears running down his cheeks. I had also smuggled champagne and a picnic into the boot in true Glyndebourne fashion, and even the rain stopped for the picnic which we enjoyed in the lovely and relaxing gardens. The staff at Glyndebourne were so friendly and accommodating…especially the young man in the Information office. So very many thanks to you all for making this day such a memorable one for us!