Ten years of Glyndebourne Under 30s

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Since 2006 many young people, aged 16-29, have enjoyed their first experience of opera through our under 30s programme (G<30) which offers £30 tickets subsidised by Glyndebourne’s New Generation Programme. Anyone aged 16-29 can sign up for free on our website.

There are currently over 5,500 registered G<30 members and nearly 14,000 subsidised tickets have been sold in the last ten years.

As 2016 marks the G<30 10th anniversary we asked three G<30 members to share with us their experiences of opera at Glyndebourne.

Esme Godden, 28

I was first introduced to Glyndebourne and the G<30 scheme by my brilliant bosses in my last job. They took me to my first ever opera, Falstaff back in 2013.
The best thing about Glyndebourne is the way the beautiful grounds are always complemented perfectly by the stunning stage sets, a visual treat both inside and outside of the auditorium. For me Glyndebourne is the perfect mix of tradition and formality and fresh, visionary productions. The G<30s scheme has allowed me to see world-class opera outside London and introduce friends to the unique Glyndebourne experience who wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity.

Edward Reeve, 20

I’ve been lucky to be able to come to Glyndebourne regularly for many years: it started off being an annual treat for the family which we would look forward to all summer, and more recently as a chance to make a trip with friends from school and university. Every year the attraction is stronger than ever: an incomparable day out, a lovely meal, a chance to dress up, and most of all, experience some of the finest music making anywhere – and all in the most gorgeous of settings, a mere hour or so from London.
I am very grateful to Glyndebourne for making opera such a huge part of my life, and it has been a particular joy to bring friends who have never been to the opera before, or never experienced the unique spirit of Glyndebourne, which would not be possible without the under-30s scheme.
Just as the vibrant young opera house sits beautifully in partnership with the old house and gardens, Glyndebourne is somewhere where it is impossible to believe for a second the old myths of opera being a ‘fading relic of the past’ or a ‘stuffy institution’. Any visit to Glyndebourne proves that opera is alive, vibrant, relevant, that it is not an art form under preservation, but an exciting means of expression, communication and entertainment.
Glyndebourne never disappoints: nobody who has heard the thrilling reception at the curtain call of an under-30s night could say otherwise!

Sarah O’Connor, 30

I was familiar with the concept of Glyndebourne as I work in theatre but considered it expensive and exclusive. I saw a former colleague attending a G<30 opera via Facebook pictures and decided to apply for tickets.
I came to Glyndebourne as an opera novice having recently discovered an interest in opera. My annual visits to Glyndebourne have been a key step in my opera education. Without the G<30 scheme I would not have been able to experiment in the breadth of opera I saw (indeed, at first I would have had no idea where to begin to pick one opera over another). The opera world to an outsider can seem unfriendly and unapproachable, but using G<30 as an entry point I quickly discovered it was quite the opposite. The Festival has become a key highlight in my calendar each year.
The quality of the opera is second to none. Obviously the event, the grounds and the atmosphere very much add to the experience but for me it’s the quality of the productions themselves. As for my favourite opera, that’s an incredibly difficult choice! Rusalka in 2009 set a very high standard with such an aesthetically stunning production matched with beautiful music. The Ravel Double Bill and Saul both provided incredible inventiveness in their productions while Sarah Connolly’s performance in Hippolyte et Aricie was the epitome of stage presence. But possibly edging them was The Turn of the Screw in 2011. The staging was utterly beautiful but the music and singing haunted me for weeks afterwards.
I would love to see the audience for G<30 widen even further so it’s not just existing opera fans. I have brought a number of opera virgins to Glyndebourne over the last few years – none have left disappointed and many have become much more interested in the art form in general after their visit.

We’d love to hear your stories from the last 10 years of Under 30s, please drop us a line to membership@glyndebourne.com to tell us about your most memorable moments.

Next year there will be £30 tickets available for The Cunning Little Vixen 16 and 22 June and Le nozze di Figaro on 8 and 19 July. Under 30s can book £30 tickets for these dates, book standing tickets for all Festival performances and have priority access to full price tickets from Monday 29 February 2016.

Anyone aged 16-29 can sign up to Glyndebourne Under 30s, just visit our registration page and tick the ‘Under 30s’ box when you fill in your details.