With three new productions, a new head chef and an eagerly anticipated new Music Director, 2014 will see Glyndebourne Festival celebrate 80 years as one of Europe’s most beloved cultural attractions.
Joining Glyndebourne as Executive Chef is Julian Wilson, former head chef at Harrods, who began his career at Glyndebourne in the 1980s. Julian forms a key part of the award-winning team at Leiths, offering modern British dining from quintessential Glyndebourne picnics to luxurious cream teas and high end, haute cuisine.
Glyndebourne has been staging opera in the heart of the South Downs since 1934 after John Christie built an opera house for his opera-singer wife, Audrey Mildmay. The Festival has since developed an unrivalled reputation for producing world-class, inventive work and the 2014 Festival honours that reputation by presenting three new productions; “La finta giardiniera”, the earliest Mozart opera ever to be staged at Glyndebourne, Verdi’s “La traviata” and Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier”, last seen at Glyndebourne in 1982.
Glyndebourne’s award winning theatre celebrates its 20th birthday in May; replacing a well-loved 300-seater opera house with a state of the art auditorium was the brainchild of Sir George Christie, Glyndebourne Chairman between 1962 and 2000. Designed by architects Michael Hopkins and Partners, it won awards for the quality of its architecture, craftsmanship and acoustics when it opened in 1994 and is still widely regarded as having some of the best acoustics in any theatre in the world.
Visual art and sculpture play a key role in the celebrated annual Festival; each year renowned sculptors and visual artists display work in the landscape that enhances Glyndebourne’s cultural output and compliments the Festival. Angus McBean, a renowned surrealist photographer, will be celebrated at the 2014 Festival in an exhibition of the work he undertook documenting Glyndebourne in the early years.
Recently described as “a must see garden for 2014” by The English Garden magazine, Glyndebourne’s 20-acre gardens include a rose garden planted by Sir George’s wife Lady Christie and a space dedicated to cultivating exotic plants and orchids. They are cultivated using sustainable and wildlife-friendly methods, part of Glyndebourne’s commitment to the environment.
Gus Christie, John Christie’s grandson, began running the opera house in 2000. A former wildlife documentary maker, Gus is passionate about the environment and in January 2012, Glyndebourne became the only UK’s opera house to host an on-site wind turbine ensuring every production is powered by renewable energy.
Writing about her love of Glyndebourne, novelist Jeanette Winterson remarked: “I think that Glyndebourne is a place where people can find opera for the first time, and fall in love with it. I think it is a place that has kept its values. Yes, some tickets cost a fortune, but some don’t, and whether you dine in style or eat sardine sandwiches on the lawn, the music is what matters.”
To celebrate its 80th anniversary, the 2014 Glyndebourne Festival will be on stage, on screen and online; audiences can see Der Rosenkavalier, Don Giovanni and La traviata streamed online with The Telegraph or at Picturehouse cinemas across the UK throughout the summer.
Tickets for the 2014 Glyndebourne Festival (17 May – 24 August) go on sale on Monday 10 March via Glyndebourne.com or by calling 01273 815000. Tickets cost between £10 and £250.