Our history

In this section of the site you can read a brief history of Glyndebourne’s development from the culmination of one man’s passion to a world-leading opera house.


Early years

The curtain rose on the first performance of the Opera Festival at Glyndebourne on 28 May 1934; the culmination of one man's obsession and his wife's support and vision.

Pre-war years

The first Glyndebourne season began as what many thought of as merely a rich man's folly, but it ended with Glyndebourne becoming an international institution.

Post-war years

In the five years following the war, 1945 - 1950, there was relative inactivity at Glyndebourne. But it was not a period of total inertia. In 1947 Glyndebourne founded the Edinburgh Festival.

New generations

In spite of the loss of its founders, Glyndebourne continued its pursuit of perfection under new leaders.

New opera house

In 1987 Sir George Christie announced the idea of building a completely new, larger, opera house which would be able to meet audience demand.

Glyndebourne firsts

Glyndebourne (and its audiences) are noted for their sense of adventure. Browse a full list of Glyndebourne's original commissions and premières.

Glyndebourne, the house and gardens

The first house on the Glyndebourne site was built in the early 15th century. Here you can read more about the early history of the estate.

Audrey Mildmay

Everyone who knows Glyndebourne knows about John Christie. But Glyndebourne had two co-founders, John, and his wife Audrey - without whom there would never have been a Glyndebourne as we know and love it.

Glyndebourne Tour

Glyndebourne Tour was founded in 1968 to make the work of the Festival accessible to audiences throughout the country, and give performing opportunities to young singers.

Glyndebourne's education department

Glyndebourne’s education department was established in 1986 with the initial aim of complementing the company’s touring activities. it is now a strong creative force in its own right.