21 May – 28 August 2022

Cover to Cover

70 years of the Glyndebourne Festival Programme Book

This exhibition has now ended.

‘A cover in full colour, illustrative of the Glyndebourne Festival and its unique mixture of opera and Sussex countryside.’

This summer marks the 70th anniversary of the Glyndebourne Festival Programme Book. First published in 1952, the Programme Book has always pushed the boundaries of traditional theatre programmes as an anthology of ideas on opera, art, history and place. It has also documented the changing visual identity of Glyndebourne, the quality of its work and depth of artistic engagement, both on and off stage; no ordinary opera.

The Programme Book was instigated by Nicholas ‘Miki’ Sekers, a founder member of the Festival Society Committee, and Glyndebourne’s general administrator, Moran Caplat to generate much-needed income to fund the Festival in the post-war years. The principles of the publication were simple: ‘Nothing boring. Nothing cheap. Nothing erudite’. As well as essays by creatives and cultural thinkers, the Programme Book needed to reflect the experience of Glyndebourne on its cover, making it an eye-catching and covetable object in its own right. The idea to invite renowned designers and artists to create an original cover was integral to its success.

Cover to Cover charts the phenomenal popularity of the Glyndebourne Festival Programme, and Glyndebourne’s strong history of working with multidisciplinary visual artists. Many of the objects exhibited here, which includes paintings, drawings, photography, original designs and related costumes, are on view for the first time.

Maggi Hambling was invited to create the 2022 Programme Book cover. Her extraordinary painting The Night of the Lotus Eaters hangs in the Blue Side of the Covered Way, a special opportunity to see the original cover artwork. Following his 2021 cover design, Tom Hammick returns with a series of new works inspired by this year’s productions. Across the site, artist Mark Vessey celebrates the visual history of the Programme Book in a series of new photographic prints.

Cover to Cover is a two-part exhibition across Gallery 94 and the Archive Gallery, where you can explore the full collection of Programme Books.

Download a price list for Mark Vessey’s work here. For further information about sales of Mark Vessey’s work, please contact nerissa.taysom@glyndebourne.com.

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