Post-war years

The audience comes to the rescue

In the five years following the war, 1945 – 1950, there was relative inactivity at Glyndebourne simply because there was no money. John Christie had spent more than £100,000 of his personal fortune on his enterprise, and had had to call a halt. But it was not a period of total inertia. In 1947 Glyndebourne founded the Edinburgh Festival. This was subsidised by the City of Edinburgh , providing financial support that enabled Glyndebourne to present new productions such as Un ballo in maschera and Ariadne auf Naxos as well as the more familiar Mozart repertoire. At home Glyndebourne hosted the world premières for Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia in 1946 and Albert Herring in 1947.

In 1950, John Christie was helped for the first time at Glyndebourne by an outside contribution, the first of many guarantees by British industrial concerns. In the course of two or three years these were to help relieve him entirely of the personal financial burden of maintaining the Festival Opera. In addition 1951 saw the audience come to the rescue with the formation of the Glyndebourne Festival Society, the object of which was to secure annual financial support by way of a subscription scheme for each Festival. The following year, the first Glyndebourne Festival programme book was published, and two years later in 1954, the Glyndebourne Arts Trust was formed to ensure the future of the company by the establishment of an endowment to maintain and improve the amenities. By these means the continuity of Glyndebourne, its principles and practice were ensured.

The deaths of Fritz Busch in 1951, Audrey Mildmay in 1953 and John Christie in 1962, as well as the gradual retirement of Carl Ebert between 1959 and 1964, left large gaps in the artistic and personal life of Glyndebourne; but the influence and example of these four figures has not diminished with the years.