News and Features

Stephen Langridge introduces Festival 2022

Artistic Director Stephen Langridge gives a taste of what's in store for audience this summer

I’m tempted to write ‘we’re back’, but actually we never went away, we simply reduced forces, focused on what we could do, and did it.

Can’t come inside? Fine, we’ll perform in the garden. Love scenes without touch? We’ll use our imagination. 50% audiences? They’ll have to clap louder. But 2022 sees a return to scale. Orchestra, chorus, audience, all back to full size… and opera is again a contact sport.

Under the duress of the last couple of years we have come to appreciate the joy of live opera, where performers and audience share the same air space, and the presence of the artist is raw and unfiltered. It’s neither digital nor analogue, it’s flesh and blood, here and now: our musical fictions are the real thing.

Stephen Langridge, Artistic Director

At Glyndebourne, when faced with obstacles, we often look back, to draw inspiration from the past. Our founders John Christie and Audrey Mildmay were pioneers, and we are trying to live up to their example. Their response to austerity after the second world war is instructive. They didn’t cancel or play safe, they commissioned a new opera from a young Benjamin Britten; and Rudolf Bing and Audrey hatched plans for the first Edinburgh Festival (apparently while touring a wartime production of The Beggar’s Opera directed by John Gielgud). The aim was, as Bing put it, ‘to heal the wounds of war through the languages of the arts’.

We are attempting to match their determination and idealism throughout 2022, with more new productions than we have traditionally presented at the Festival – four this year – and seizing the moment to give a big push to our effort to make opera in a more sustainable way. From Festival 2022 all new productions will follow the baseline principles of the UK’s Theatre Green Book – meaning that every component of the design is carefully examined to see what can be made from recycled material, and what can be used again in the future. Our production teams are having to think about how we produce opera in a new way – it’s a challenge, but they have all embraced the idea with enthusiasm.

The season is big and brave, explores important questions, and brings world-class music and theatre to the stage. We hope our Glyndebourne forebears approve of our ambition, and that you enjoy your return to the full-on, no-holds-barred opera experience!

The Wreckers (21 May – 24 July) Melly Still directs a major new staging of Ethel Smyth’s opera.

Le nozze di Figaro (22 May – 16 July) Michael Grandage’s five-star production of Mozart’s greatest comedy.

La bohéme (11 June – 14 August) Floris Visser directs a new production of this Puccini classic.

Alcina (2 July – 24 August) Spectacle and sensation collide in Francesco Micheli’s sumptuous new staging of Handel’s magical fable.

Don Pasquale (22 July – 27 August) Mariame Clément’s mischievous production takes no prisoners, an elegant period staging full of clear eyed, contemporary wit.

Poulenc Double Bill (6 – 28 August) Following his success with the Ravel Double Bill, director Laurent Pelly takes on two more contrasting French masterpieces, La Voix humaine and Les Mamelles de Tirésias.

Booking for Festival 2022 opens online on Sunday 6 March at 6.00pm

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