Member Memories: Dr Simon Marner

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For some visitors a trip to Glyndebourne is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But for many more that first trip ignites something deep inside – an emotional tie that has its source in the music, the singing and the place. As part of our Member Memories series we spoke to Dr Simon Marner about how he went from being a rock fan to an opera lover.

When he was invited to his first opera Dr Simon Marner wasn’t interested. ‘I declined. Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd and The Who were more my cup of tea.’ His friend persisted. ‘He said he thought I would enjoy it. I said I was sure I wouldn’t’.

Recalcitrant, they to’d and fro’d for a bit until the friend convinced him, but he was a reluctant first timer. That was back in 1985, he recalls: ‘The opera was Carmen with Maria Ewing in the title role. I was transfixed by the beauty and precision of the performance. We went again the next year to see Porgy and Bess with Willard White and Cynthia Haymon. I was crying at the end’ He was hooked. ‘I joined the waiting list (for Festival Society membership), and apart from a few odd years I have been coming back every year. I met Willard White a couple of years ago at a recital and told him that his portrayal of Porgy changed my life!’


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