New David Hare play dramatises early years of Glyndebourne

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A new play by David Hare exploring the origins of Glyndebourne will open in October at Hampstead Theatre, it has been announced.

The Moderate Soprano will star Olivier Award-winner Roger Allam as John Christie who, together with his opera singer wife Audrey Mildmay, founded Glyndebourne with the help of three refugees from Nazi Germany: Carl Ebert, Fritz Busch and Rudolf Bing.

Set between 1934 and 1962, the play is the story of an intense love affair between unlikely bedfellows, and the unrelenting search for artistic excellence in the face of searing scrutiny, sacrifice and war.

During the writing of the play, David Hare spent time with the Christie family and carried out extensive research in Glyndebourne’s archives.

Gus Christie, Executive Chairman of Glyndebourne, said: “I’m delighted that the fascinating story of the birth and early development of Glyndebourne will be brought to a wider public through this wonderful new play by David Hare. In 1934 my grandfather’s desire to build an opera house in the heart of the Sussex Downs was considered fairly eccentric but it proved to be a visionary idea and more than 80 years later Glyndebourne is still going strong.”

David Hare returns to Hampstead following his acclaimed play The Judas Kiss. His many plays include Pravda, Skylight, Amy’s View and The Vertical Hour and his many screenplays include The Hours and The Reader.

The Moderate Soprano will be directed by Jeremy Herrin who recently enjoyed huge success with his productions of Wolf Hall & Bring up the Bodies which opened at RSC before transferring to the West End and Broadway. This play will be his fourth collaboration with David Hare, following The Vertical Hour, South Downs and The Absence of War.

Full casting for The Moderate Soprano will be announced later this summer.