Sharing opera with our local community

Throughout the year we make opera with and for a diverse range of local people.

This culminates in a host of activities that take place alongside our mainstage autumn productions. Below you can read more about this year’s activities, and hear from some of those who took part…

Performances for schools

Photos: Sam Stephenson

Every autumn our Performances for Schools give thousands of local children the chance to enjoy all the emotion, spectacle and intensity of a Glyndebourne opera – many of them for the first time. This year we staged L’elisir d’amore and Don Giovanni.

Feedback from teachers and students:

‘Thank you for making this possible, for giving disadvantaged kids a chance of experiencing something truly wonderful’ – teacher at Sir Robert Woodard Academy

‘I was amazed by how all the singers could sing so loudly and strongly for such a long period of time. As well I was amazed by how the orchestra could play for so long and not miss a single note or get tired and run out of breath’ student at Sir Robert Woodard Academy.

‘I had a fantastic day – loved the opera. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the school pupils and made for a great atmosphere’ Brighton University PGCE student.

Thank you to everyone who made a donation and helped to make this year’s performances possible.

Sing with the Glyndebourne Chorus

Throughout our autumn season, we have offered a host of opportunities for local people to sing together with our Chorus. As Stephen Langridge, our artistic director says ‘One of the building blocks of musicianship, singing is also a fundamental part of being human. Everyone has a voice, and with the right help everyone can sing. By providing these opportunities for people of all ages to sing with the Chorus and be part of a big vocal sound, we hope they will remember these experiences for the rest of their lives.’

Good Company

This autumn, over 130 care home residents across Sussex enjoyed making music with members of the Glyndebourne Sinfonia and Chorus.

As well as playing opera extracts and well-known tunes, the ensemble also worked with the residents to create improvised music, offering them an opportunity to join in and contribute.

Lucy Perry, Head of Learning and Engagement at Glyndebourne, said: ‘The engagement we see in the sessions is truly inspiring.’

Sue Bowers, Activities Coordinator at Lydfords Care Home, said: ‘The joy and enthusiasm Glyndebourne’s talented artists brought to our home created a memorable experience for everyone present and their performance was not only captivating, but also deeply moving for our residents. I look forward to future collaborations!’

We’d like to thank all the care homes who welcomed us for a fantastic few days of music-making – St Clare’s and St Rita’s care homes in Ditchling, Lime Tree House and Parris Lawn care homes in Ringmer, Lydfords Care Home in East Hoathly and Holy Care Cross Home in Heathfield.

Singing schools

Photos: Sarah Hickson

This year we’ve been working with schools in the Crawley and Eastbourne area to perform music from and inspired by Haydn’s The Creation.

At a series of workshops, students aged 7 to 12 from six schools worked with composer Howard Moody and singer Jennifer Witton to create their own pieces inspired by Haydn’s vivid musical depiction of the seven days of creation.

These workshops culminated in song sharing sessions, where the schools came together at St. John’s Church in Eastbourne and Worth Abbey in Crawley to sing their pieces with the Glyndebourne Chorus and Sinfonia. 

Feedback from teachers and students:

‘It just shows you what kids are capable of if they are given the opportunity’ – teacher.

‘It makes me believe in myself more and feel more creative’ – student.

‘I loved it. Would do again. Everyone is amazing thank you’ – student.

The schools that took part in the project were: Hazelwick School, Three Bridges Primary School, Northgate Primary School, The Turing School, St Catherine’s College and Shinewater Primary.


Photo: Andrew Hasson & Sarah Hickson

The One Voice Festival of Singing took place in December across Brighton & Hove and East Sussex with performances at the Brighton Centre, De La Warr Pavilion and Glyndebourne. Across seven events, Create Music (music hub for Brighton & Hove and East Sussex) and Glyndebourne brought together 2000 children in school choirs alongside Create Music Ensembles and professional musicians. At Glyndebourne the young people performed with the Glyndebourne Chorus and members of the Glyndebourne Sinfonia.

This year for the first time members of the Glyndebourne Chorus visited schools to rehearse with the young singers, growing their skills and confidence ahead of the performances. In the words of Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival: ‘we invited audiences to witness firsthand the remarkable power and joy that are generated when a large assembly of young people raise their collective voices in harmony.’

Messiah Masterclass

Photo: Andrew Hasson

And that wasn’t all – before our performance of Handel’s Messiah, the audience had the opportunity to fully immerse themself in the piece at our Messiah Masterclass with the Chorus, conducted by Aidan Oliver. One audience member said ‘the conductor was absolutely fabulous and his energy was infectious!’

Pit Perfect

Photo: Sam Stephenson

Jerwood Pit Perfect is our development scheme for young professional instrumentalists, who join the Glyndebourne Sinfonia, gaining their first professional operatic experience in the orchestra for our main stage operas. This year, the musicians also performed informal recitals of orchestral music including new works by our two resident Balancing the Score composers – Lucy Armstrong and Alex Ho. They also held a series of events including recitals at colleges around Sussex.

Feedback from the musicians

‘It’s so unique that you are put into a full professional orchestra and company where you can learn from experienced musicians and future colleagues without even having to ask the questions – just by watching them in action and picking up knowledge on the go’ – Yuliya Ostapchuk, violin.

‘It was a real honour to work so closely with these incredible musicians and also to debut Lucy Armstrong’s fantastic commission work together’ – Yijia Cui, double bass.

‘The welcoming nature of the orchestra meant I felt comfortable pushing my own limits and adjusting to feedback instead of simply taking notes home to the practice room for a later date’ – Nick Cowling, timpani.

Feedback from the audience

‘It was great to hear a wide range of ensemble music – and very inspiring!’ – West Sussex A-level Music student.

‘I thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiasm and the way in which the pieces were performed’ – West Sussex A-level Music student.

Applications for our 2024 Jerwood Pit Perfect scheme will open in the new year.

If you want to find out more about our award-winning Learning & Engagement work, you can explore the current projects here:

Thank you to all our donors and supporters who have made our autumn programmes possible.
With thanks also to the following partner organisations:

Create Music
West Sussex Music Hub
St John’s Church Eastbourne
Worth Abbey
University of Sussex
The College of Richard Collyer
East Sussex College

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