My favourite place? Those three words imply I can only choose one special hideaway, but there are hundreds! So I’m going to pick a picnic spot – something that’s definitely on our audience members’ minds right now.
The problem is there are still so many beautiful spots to choose from… If you want the last of the sun, stick close to the fence at the bottom of the lawn opposite the lake. If you want to people watch, pick a spot just by the mulberry tree, in front of the house. And if you want to be alone, go to one of the new places now open down the left side of the lake.
Photo: Sam Stephenson
But my absolute favourite place at Glyndebourne (other than with my colleagues in the Box Office during a working day of course) is where I once picnicked on a very hot day in 2013.
We decided shade was essential and set up our table and chairs under the trees in the Figaro Garden, between the Mildmay restaurant and the steps up to the foyer circle area – just below the Henry Moore statue Draped Reclining Woman.
It ticked all the boxes. It was cool, we could watch people going between Mildmay and the auditorium before the performance, it was secluded once everybody had settled with their picnics, and then, just before the end of the interval, came the added bonus.
The dressing rooms are on the blue side of the opera house, just above the Figaro Garden. With an hour-and-a-half-long interval, the singers have to warm up their voices again before returning to the stage so you get to hear the glorious sound of operatic voices going through the scales, arpeggios and techniques necessary to get them back into fine vocal fettle. Different keys, different styles, different pitches – a magical cacophony of sound.
So that’s my favourite place. Of course next season it could change. Especially if, following my advice, it starts to get overcrowded in the Figaro Garden!
Working here is truly special. After a busy morning in the office, helping callers hoping to get last-minute tickets to a sold-out performance or trying to accommodate all the requests for foyer circle sides during the ballot, where else can you step out for your lunch break and immediately find yourself in the peace and calm of the countryside?
Photo: Sam Stephenson
Magically the stress melts away, and after an hour away from your desk you’re ready to rise to the challenges of the Box Office once more.
Belinda is a bit of an all-rounder. She came to work as a ‘part-time seasonal’ in the former Information Office in January 2004 and also helped out on Switchboard when they were short staffed. She then worked in the Shop during the Festival and Tour until January 2008 when the Box Office and Information teams merged into one. She worked seasonally, becoming a permanent member of Box Office staff in 2009. She does, however, still pop up in other places to keep us on our toes: together with colleagues Carla Webb and Alice Bridges she covers relief House Management and gives backstage tours.
Where’s your favourite place at Glyndebourne? Let us know in the comments below.