We celebrate Remember a Charity Week by talking to Victor Coles, a John Christie Society Member, about what it is that inspired him to leave a lasting legacy.
When did you first start coming to Glyndebourne?
I first started coming to Glyndebourne in 1970. I was 18 years old and must have been in the last year of school as I had to get the headmaster’s permission to come – because, of course, it involved taking the afternoon off! I remember I didn’t own my own dinner jacket so I bought one second-hand at a country fair for – I think – five shillings.
What was that first performance?
The first performance I saw was The Magic Flute. I was in the very back row of the Upper Circle of the old house and it was an amazing experience. I’ve been coming most years ever since. I’m up to my 66th visit this year.
What do you love most about Glyndebourne?
Glyndebourne’s insistence on excellence. The new house, with its acoustics, in my experience, is the best in the world.
Why did you decide to leave a legacy to Glyndebourne?
Some years ago Glyndebourne ran some workshops in London and I was asked to participate. The suggestion was that Glyndebourne set up this arrangement where you could leave a gift in your will. I thought that was a good idea because my daughter might benefit from it.
What do you hope your legacy will achieve?
There’s a future audience out there somewhere and they need to be able to see the same standards I’ve enjoyed over the years.
I’m particularly interested in reducing the average age of the audience through Glyndebourne’s New Generation Programme. We – the audience – are a bit of a dying breed in terms of age and we need to encourage youngsters who would normally find Glyndebourne a bit inaccessible, even with all the efforts Glyndebourne make – and they are considerable.
What do you like most about being in the John Christie Society?
You have a sense of feeling wanted. In the autumn we get invited to a lunch and a rehearsal and that makes us feel a bit special.
What would you say to those considering leaving a gift to Glyndebourne?
Don’t hesitate. I’ve never regretted it and I think it enhances your visit. I feel more a part of the fabric when I come and it’s one way of leaving something to future generations.
Help us secure Glyndebourne’s future
To find out more about leaving a gift to Glyndebourne and becoming a member of the John Christie Society, please visit glyndebourne.com/legacy.