Brian Mitchell's story
To mark Remember a Charity Week, we look at the legacy of Brian Mitchell whose generosity has made it possible to stage Don Giovanni this autumn.
Brian came from operatic roots, training as a baritone at The Guildhall School of Music and made annual contributions to help fund our cover artist programme during his lifetime.
Thanks to Brian’s legacy, we are able to stage our new production of Don Giovanni in our autumn season – a launchpad for exciting new talent.
‘Brian had a lifelong love of the theatre and music.’ says Michael Conlon KC, Brian’s friend and trustee of the charitable settlement. ‘He was a born actor and had a fine baritone voice. His performances for the Tunbridge Wells Opera and Dramatic Society were legendary. Although his musical tastes were eclectic, his great passion was opera – and Glyndebourne in particular.’
‘He loved the new auditorium, the idyllic gardens, the whole experience and, almost to the end, he never missed a Festival’ says Michael. ‘He always enjoyed the more whimsical touches like the lovers driving off in a red sports car in Le nozze di Figaro. He would observe afterwards, with a delighted smile: “That was so Glyndebourne!”’ – given Brian’s love of the more quirky elements of our productions, we hope that he would appreciate the giant cake in Don Giovanni!
Le nozze di Figaro, 2012 (photo: Alastair Muir)
Don Giovanni, 2023 (photo: Monika Rittershaus)
Brian was particularly passionate about supporting young people, ‘In his lifetime he was a patron to emerging artist programmes at Glyndebourne, the Globe and Brighton Early Music Festival’ says Michael. ‘His favourite composers were Mozart and Britten, and so it seemed a fitting tribute to support this autumn’s new production of Don Giovanni in his memory, which celebrates both the composer and his enthusiasm for emerging performers. Brian would have loved that it supports young talent!’.
The cast of Don Giovanni includes many singers who have been part of Glyndebourne’s development programmes, including cover artists, Jerwood Young Artists and Opera Cup contestants – so Brian’s support for emerging talent continues.
Helen McCarthy, Glyndebourne’s Director of Development says ‘We are so grateful to Brian for his unswerving support for Glyndebourne, both in his lifetime and through his generous bequest. Brian’s legacy has proved invaluable – helping to fund areas which typically attract less support, such as filming and our backstage automation project, which has been a major capital investment.’
We are grateful to everybody who chooses to leave a gift in their will to Glyndebourne, helping to ensure our future for the next generation of artists and audiences.
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