Pictorial history of Glyndebourne published to mark 75th anniversary

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A new book called Glyndebourne: A Visual History – edited by Brigitte Lardinois, Val Williams, with text by Sir George Christie has been published by Glyndebourne Publishing.

This pictorial history of Glyndebourne is published to mark the 75th anniversary of the internationally renowned opera house. A remarkable collection of over 450 photographs, the book not only sumptuously illustrates and showcases the work of Glyndebourne, but is also accompanied by personal anecdotal text written by Sir George Christie.

“Not just the best we can do but the best that can be done anywhere”. That was the guiding principle set by John Christie and Audrey Mildmay when they founded Glyndebourne as a two-week Festival in 1934. 75 years on, it remains a touchstone for the international cultural institution that Glyndebourne has become. Glyndebourne owes its reputation to some of opera’s greatest artistic and creative talents. Their achievements reflect Glyndebourne’s commitment to excellence, inventiveness in stagecraft and passion for nurturing young talent.

Legendary Glyndebourne productions captured for prosperity are included in the book: the 1934 production of Le nozze di Figaro, British premieres of Macbeth, Idomeneo and The Rape of Lucretia, and more recently the landmark productions of Theodora, Porgy and Bess, Tristan und Isolde and Giulio Cesare. Photographs feature opera singers performing on the Glyndebourne stage including Janet Baker, Iliana Contrabas, Geraint Evans, Lorraine Hunt, Kiri Te Kanewa, Felicity Lott, Audrey Mildmay, Luciano Pavarotti, Margaret Price and Kate Royal. Innovative set designs by Erté, David Hockney, Osbert Lancaster, Emanuele Luzzati, Oliver Messel and John Piper are also featured along with more intimate shots backstage and in rehearsals. The book incorporates the royal visits to Glyndebourne, audience fashion over the decades, photos of the gardens as they developed, together with glimpses backstage.

The book contains pictures by famous photographers including Jane Bown, Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Anthony Crickmay, Angus McBean and Snowdon and respected Glyndebourne house photographers Guy Gravett and Mike Hoban.

About the authors:

Sir George Christie is President of Glyndebourne Productions Limited and was Chairman for over 40 years. Sir George has made an outstanding contribution to increasing access to the world of opera to a broader audience and in finding new ways of obtaining commercial support for the arts. One of his greatest achievements was the rebuilding of the opera house in 1994. Sir George also instigated Glyndebourne on Tour in 1968 taking productions to a wider audience and offering increased performance opportunities to young singers.

Brigitte Lardinois worked as an Exhibition Organiser at the Barbican Art Gallery, before joining Magnum Photos, where she set up and headed the Cultural Department in London. She edited Magnum Magnum the book to mark Magnum’s 60th anniversary.

Professor Val Williams is director of the University of the Arts London Photography and the Archive Research Centre based at London College of Communication.

About Glyndebourne:

The internationally renowned Glyndebourne Festival was founded in 1934 by John Christie and his wife, Audrey Mildmay; their grandson Gus is now Executive Chairman with David Pickard the General Director. Carl Ebert was the first Artistic Director and Fritz Busch Music Director. Vladimir Jurowski is the current Music Director. The Festival repertoire has expanded to include operas from the baroque to the contemporary, including seven of Glyndebourne’s own commissions and 13 British premieres. Additionally, Glyndebourne’s Education department has an enormous commitment to new opera and community projects; it currently hosts over 230 different activities each year. With 124 opera performances annually reaching over 140,000 people, Glyndebourne’s continued employment of inspirational directors and performers, and the ongoing drive to commission new work, now goes hand in hand with digital innovations to reach new audiences.